Soc Dems long on ability but short on identity
For Labour leader Joan Burton, they are "the new Troika in town." Ms Burton said the newly-launched Social Democrats, co-led by the small committee of hitherto Independent TDs, Róisín Shortall, Catherine Murphy and Stephen Donnelly, would struggle to find common ground. The Tánaiste said this Troika's only clearly agreed policy was that water charges should be abolished.
The harsh judgment reminds us that you get nothing for nothing in politics. It also tells us that here comes another rival fishing from Labour's already depleted pool.
Catherine Murphy argues that Ireland's public services need upgrading. She argues that investment, for example in childcare, can return a seven-fold dividend and that countries with the best services like childcare, are also those countries with the strongest economies.