The late Noel Whelan, a skilful political commentator and Dáil number cruncher, once remarked that the analysis of election counts inevitably moves quickly, often glossing over the importance of early seat wins — irrespective of how dramatic they can be for parties.
The poor turnout in last week’s by-elections might, with a Christmas-party dash of wishful thinking, be explained by an approaching general election and the by-elections’ relevance in the face of the ongoing supply and confidence arrangement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
The role of Cork city and county in the fight for Irish independence should be marked with a State commemoration next year, according to Senator Colm Burke, who is to put pressure on the Taoiseach to hold a special event on Leeside next year.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has ruled out calling a snap pre-Christmas general election warning it would "not be in the country's interests", despite a number of Fine Gael ministers insisting he should go to the polls now.
The leadership issue has been put on the back burner before the general election but unless there is a positive result, the knives will be out for Brendan Howlin, writes Political Correspondent