Monday 16 January 2017

Traumatised and cynical electorate makes this election a leap into the unknown

Gerard O’Regan

Published 06/02/2016 | 02:30

Enda Kenny and Joan Burton on the steps of Leinster House after the Dáil was dissolved. Photo: Twitter/ @CormacMcQuinn
Enda Kenny and Joan Burton on the steps of Leinster House after the Dáil was dissolved. Photo: Twitter/ @CormacMcQuinn

So what's the betting we will have a second general election before the year is out?

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The latest poll findings are the most foreboding for the Coalition partners so far. That symbolic goodbye between Enda and Joan on the steps of Leinster House this week may have had a finality about it which neither party leader intended.

For unless there is some dramatic turnaround during the campaign, Fine Gael and Labour simply won't have the numbers to form a government after the votes are counted. The prospect of a seriously fragmented Dáil now looks overwhelming. Yesterday, we had the Taoiseach ruling out any deal-making with Independents. If that is the case - and it is a very big if - his best hope will be to form some kind of minority administration. By definition, this would be dependent on the grace and favour of certain opposition TDs. In theory, it could work. In practice, it will be high risk - and prone to collapse sooner rather than later.

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