A very shaky take-off signals a short life for the new Government
Brussels diplomats like to say: "EU treaty negotiations begin with high diplomacy - and end in a dirty row over fish quotas." In Ireland's case, the 10-week quest for this extraordinary hybrid Government began with lofty talk about "new politics" - and ended with a row over turf-cutting, which almost derailed the project right on deadline.
There were just 17 minutes left on those stopwatch devices, which adorn the walls of the Dáil chamber and count downwards to the end of a debate and the call for a vote. Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny had sat for over two hours with inscrutable countenance, the only hint of nerves being his bending and straightening of a paper clip, over and over again.
Up above him, in the tiny public gallery, sat his wife, Fionnuala and their three children, who also managed to maintain their composure.