Fianna Fáil admits it has also had party members "pose as market researchers" 3 months ago

Fianna Fáil admits it has also had party members "pose as market researchers"

It comes as both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin confirmed that they had set up fake polling companies to survey voters.

Fianna Fáil has admitted that it has also had party members "pose as market researchers" to poll voters.

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The party who first insisted they were not involved in carrying out fake opinion polls in a statement given to the Irish Independent last Saturday has now said that they have “outsourced polling to private, independent providers” since 2007.

Following reports that both Sinn Féin and Fine Gael have previously carried out fake polling, Fianna Fáil issued a new statement on Wednesday.

A Fianna Fáil spokesperson told the Irish Independent: “Prior to 2007, we did on occasion use party members to undertake polling and on those occasions they did pose as market researchers.

"This was to supplement private providers also used. This practise was ended around 2007."

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar confirmed earlier today that Fine Gael paid students to misrepresent themselves as pollsters in order to survey voters.

Following reports on Wednesday that Sinn Féin had set up fake polling companies, Varadkar admitted that his party had used a similar tactic which he says has since been "discontinued".

The Irish Independent reported that an internal training manual included instructions for members of Sinn Féin on how to misrepresent themselves and pose as pollsters when surveying householders.

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According to the publication, members would then ask people for their opinions on election candidates and political issues.

Speaking to RTE’s Drive Time on Wednesday Varadkar said: “Volunteers would have been asked to do surveys door-to-door or students would have been paid to do it and it would have been done on a similar basis - anonymised for the purposes of polling.

Varadkar added that the “practice has been discontinued” and has not been used by Fine Gael members since 2016.

Fianna Fáil TD Marc Macsharry also said on Wednesday that "Gardaí should be consulted" over the claims that Sinn Féin provided its members with fake IDs to pretend they were part of a polling company.

On Newstalk Breakfast on Wednesday, Macsharry described the polling as "basic subversion of the public.”

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"Provision of fake IDs to proscribe what lies people say on behalf of a political party is not normal political behaviour and I think the Gardaí should be consulted quite frankly on it," he said.

“I think when we have proof now of a 77-page manual telling, encouraging and training personnel how to lie, providing them with fake official documents or would-be official documents, I think, says a great deal about the organisation.

“It is extremely worrying and I don’t know anybody involved in politics up to now, who would have engaged in such subversion in the modern democratic world.

“We all have come across people looking to elicit things from the public and we know that data is a commodity now that people are prepared to pay money for."

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JOE has reached out to Fianna Fáil for comment.