Independent view: Challenges are clear for new minister
The dust has hardly settled on the election results and already the focus is turning to the formation of the new Government.
The urgency which is being given to the process is understandable given the serious challenges that lie ahead.
On the economic front, three key EU gatherings are scheduled for the coming fortnight, including a summit of eurozone finance ministers.
A review of the ongoing rescue plan for the banking sector and the bailout packages for Ireland will be the critical issues for the new Government.
From a farming perspective, the immediate focus will be on the choice of Brendan Smith's successor.
As is clear from latest odds outlined on page 2, horse-trading between Fine Gael and Labour, along with internal politics within the larger coalition party, will have a critical influence on the final decision.
However, the over-riding consideration in choosing the new minister for agriculture should be suitability for the job and, more importantly, an ability to do it.
Given the dire economic circumstances that the country finds itself in, now is not the time for rewarding political supporters or excluding past opponents.