With nine days to go to polling day, the various political parties are stepping up their campaigns.

The parties will highlight a range of issues today including housing, health, job creation and the arts.

Meanwhile, the latest opinion poll has suggested a drop in support for Fine Gael and a boost for independents.

On the campaign trail in Birr today, the Taoiseach will outline Fine Gael's measures to help exporting companies and create jobs in the sector.

Fianna Fáil is also focusing on job creation as well as rural communities, the Gaeltacht and the Irish Language.

The Labour Party will discuss its plans for the Arts while Sinn Féin is concentrating on housing and homelessness.

The smaller parties also have launches today - People Before Profit will highlight youth and equality matters and the Social Democrats will present its health policies.

With the campaign advancing - all the party leaders and groups will be taking in the findings of the latest Red C opinion poll for the Irish Sun.

It suggests support for Fine Gael is down by two points to 26%. That's bad news for the party which has seen its support fall since the election was called.

In terms of the other parties - the poll suggests Labour is at 9%, up one point, Fianna Fáil is also up one at 19% and Sinn Féin, at 17%, is down three points.

There is a boost for independents and others at 29% support - an increase of three points.

All the movements in the poll fall within the margin of error which is "plus or minus 3%".