SINN Fein has insisted that Gerry Adams remains popular with the Republic's electorate despite a significant drop in the latest opinion poll.
A new IPSOS/MRBI poll found that his satisfaction rating had dropped by eight points to 29 per cent since May, when he was the most popular party leader in the state.
Sinn Fein was also narrowly over-taken by Fianna Fail has the second most popular political party in the south. While Fine Gael remained in the lead with 31 per cent, Micheal Martin's party was up four points to 21 per cent, with Sinn Fein down four points to 20 per cent.
The Labour Party, which had been suffering because of its role as a junior partner in the government, appeared to be starting to reverse the trend by jumping two points to 12 per cent.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny regained his status as the most popular leader, with 33 per cent sup-port.
Sinn Fein's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty yesterday insisted that Mr Adams would continue to lead the party, saying: "He is again, still, one of the most popular leaders here in the 26 counties. There's no doubt about that. These ratings go up and down."
In recent weeks Mr Adams has been hit with fresh allegations linking him to the Provisional IRA.
Ex-IRA prisoner Dolours Price claimed the Louth TD had been a senior IRA figure who had sanctioned a bombing campaign in Britain and had ordered the transport of alleged informers to the Republic to be executed.
In August it was reported that Mr Adams had one of the worst Dail attendance records of all TDs, having missed 17 of 68 sitting days for the first six months of the year.