A new opinion poll has shown Sinn Féin on course to make a major breakthrough in the European elections winning its first ever seats in the Republic outside of Dublin.
The Millward Brown poll in the Irish Independent shows the party set to win a seat in each of the two four-seat constituencies.
It also shows Fianna Fáil in the lead in terms of first-preference votes.
The poll, carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week is the first to deal specifically with the European elections.
485 voters in the northern constituency were asked for their first preferences and revealed that Sinn Féin's Matt Carthy is set to top the poll on 17pc, ahead of Fianna Fáíl's Thomas Byrne on 16.
It appears to be a four-way battle for the remaining two seats between the Fine Gael duo of Jim Higgins and Mairead McGuinness, and independent candidates Marian Harkin and Luke Ming Flanagan though at least one of the Fine Gael candidates should pull through.
Fianna Fáil's Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher will face a serious fight to save his seat.
In the south constituency, the poll of 507 voters showed Fianna Fail's Brian Crowley as runaway leader on 36% - but Sinn Féín's Liadh Ni Riada is in a strong second place on 15.
The Fine Gael pair of Sean Kelly and Deirdre Clune are tied on 12% each - and transfers from their colleague Simon Harris, on 7, could push them both the line.
Overall the poll gives at least two seats to each of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Féin and none at all to Labour.
A separate poll for the three-seater in Dublin will be released tomorrow.