Thursday 27 October 2016

Kevin Doyle: The people have spoken - and they want Enda and Joan out

Kevin Doyle Group Political Editor

Published 27/02/2016 | 00:33

Taoiseach Enda Kenny pours a cup of tea for Tánaiste Joan Burton Photo: Tom Burke
Taoiseach Enda Kenny pours a cup of tea for Tánaiste Joan Burton Photo: Tom Burke

The people have spoken and they have made it clear that they want Enda and Joan out.

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The only problem is that they are not exactly sure who they want in their place.

If the results of two separate exit polls by RTE and the Irish Times turn out to be accurate – and they have in the past – then Ireland is heading for uncharted waters.

Essentially we are now facing a second election or the biggest u-turn on pre-election statements ever, resulting in a grand coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

Throughout the campaign Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin have said that can’t and won’t happen.

Leo Varadkar, who will faces a barrage of questions over his leadership intentions this weekend, said it would be a nightmare.

In fact every situation is now a nightmare now for Fine Gael. They are the biggest party but there is no doubt that they lost the election.

Few would have predicted that even at their lowest ebb during the height of the water charges controversies that they could fall so far.

On 26pc they will be lucky to manage much more than 50 seats. It takes 80 to form a government.

They have claimed credit for redeveloping the economy and putting the Troika on a Ryanair flight out of town – but voters clearly weren’t impressed.

And that raises serious questions for their strategists and most significantly for Enda Kenny who put himself front and centre of the campaign.

Labour knew it would be bad but that doesn’t make the needle any less pointy when it hits you.

If Joan Burton manages to retain her own Dáil seat for Dublin West it will be on the backbenches.

The Dáil will meet in just two weeks’ time to elect a new Taoiseach but that won’t happen now. St Patrick’s Day in the White House is likely to be cancelled – and on the centenary of the Easter Rising we may very well have a hung Dáil and an interim Taoiseach leading the parade.

Make no mistake: The people told the politicians what they don’t want. Now it’s up to those who are lucky enough to come out on top in the comings days to decide how to deal with that.

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