Sinn Féin and Social Democrats get off lightly by refusing to get their hands dirty
Published 12/04/2016 | 02:30
The threat of the nuclear option - another General Election - has receded dramatically in the last couple of days. To use US military parlance, we were at DEFCON 2 (next step election) last Thursday, after the Cold War-like exchanges between Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin prompted a frenzy of media speculation about resumed hostilities. We're now at DEFCON 4 (above normal readiness) after Leo Varadkar and Jim O'Callaghan met over the weekend.
It's certainly not a done deal yet, but we should be down to DEFCON 5 (election posters into storage), if not on Thursday, but by Wednesday week when a government is finally formed.
In truth, the election talk was overstated. Politics is ultimately a game of self-preservation. It's hard to imagine any of the 158 TDs would want another election. The odds always strongly favoured some sort of deal being cobbled together to form a government. Those odds have narrowed further since the weekend.