Saturday 3 December 2016

Many faultlines and obstacles threaten the lifespan of this new arrangement

Published 06/05/2016 | 02:30

Not gone away: Water issue will bedevil Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail. Photo: Tony Gavin
Not gone away: Water issue will bedevil Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail. Photo: Tony Gavin
Enda Kenny. Photo: Tom Burke

So how long can this peculiar hybrid of a Government actually last? Even before the deal on this never-before-seen minority coalition was dragged over the line, politicians of all hues at Leinster House were asking themselves that intriguing question.

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The short answer is that minority governments have lasted the course well in many other countries - and some rather unlikely government arrangements in the Ireland of times past have also persisted.

Bertie Ahern's three-legged stool of 1997-2002 combined Fianna Fáil, the Progressive Democrats and four Independent TDs. At its inception it was given a potential lifespan of just a few months - but it ran for five years and Ahern was subsequently re-elected twice.

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