Like a person who at an all-is-possible drinks party promised to take a Christmas Day plunge in the sea when they find themselves shivering on a beach, freezing waves washing their ankles, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil can hardly defer what now seems unavoidable for much longer.
Fine Gael’s stubborn insistence that it will not consider going into coalition with any other party or group of parties is in danger of creating political instability that could have far-reaching consequences for the economy and society as a whole.
Next weekend, EU leaders meet in Brussels for what, in the lexicon of diplomacy, is expected to be a four-shirter — a streetwise description of a meeting unlikely to conclude quickly. Whether discussions to form a government here become as bitter remains to be seen.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin considers Sinn Féin not a ‘normal’ democratic party. Fine Gael Taoiseach Leo Varadkar agrees. Do they think it is, as Fianna Fáil Taoiseach Sean Lemass said of his party in 1926, ‘a slightly constitutional party’?
The last three seats in Cork East were decided on Count 8 when Sean Sherlock (Lab) reached the quota and FG junior minister David Stanton and FF's new kid on the block, James O'Connor, were elected without reaching the magic figure.