Sunday 4 December 2016

Canny Independents must now make a call

Published 09/04/2016 | 02:30

'When Michael Healy-Rae claimed yesterday that it was being left to Independents to run the country, nobody blinked an eyelid' Photo: RollingNews.ie
'When Michael Healy-Rae claimed yesterday that it was being left to Independents to run the country, nobody blinked an eyelid' Photo: RollingNews.ie

It's not a deal breaker this situation needs but a deal maker.

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Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin clearly cannot do business on their own so the Independents are trying to step up and force something.

Whether that's a partnership arrangement or a minority government is really irrelevant at this stage so long as the two men sign a contract agreeing to do business.

With one eye on the prize of government and another eye on the next election, it seems Fianna Fáil glanced away from the pitch while Fine Gael entered the end zone.

The fact that Enda Kenny could outsmart Fianna Fáil so blatantly in recent days suggests that we really are in uncharted territory.

So when Michael Healy-Rae claimed yesterday that it was being left to Independents to run the country, nobody blinked an eyelid.

The request by the Independent Alliance for a joint meeting with the two party leaders will have been as unexpected as it was unwelcome in the two camps.

But the fact that Mr Kenny replied almost instantly and offered to buy the biscuits showed who is really in control here.

His addition that he wanted all 15 Independents at the meeting was his attempt to restate his authority.

Meanwhile, Mr Martin will no doubt have found himself wondering if he perhaps should have slept on the offer of a partnership government for even 48 hours if it meant that the optics would be a bit better.

If you're confused it's because this game of brinkmanship has descended so far into spin that those doing the spinning are even unsure of what their strategy is.

The Independents have played a clever game throughout but time has now come for them to make a call. It's Micheál, Enda or another election.

The numbers are so tight that once one Independent makes a move others are likely to follow.

But somebody needs to be brave enough to take that one small step for Ireland.

Irish Independent

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