Sunday 22 October 2017

Sinn Féin and Social Democrats get off lightly by refusing to get their hands dirty

Gerry Adams with members of Sinn Féin at Leinster House. 'Both the Social Democrats and Sinn Féin have got off incredibly lightly for their refusal to get their hands dirty with the business of forming a government.' Photo: Tom Burke
Gerry Adams with members of Sinn Féin at Leinster House. 'Both the Social Democrats and Sinn Féin have got off incredibly lightly for their refusal to get their hands dirty with the business of forming a government.' Photo: Tom Burke
Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

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.

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