Sinn Féin outflanked by the hard Left and in political quarantine
In politics, as in life, timing is everything. This time last year, we were in the midst of the water protests. For the hard Left, the water protests represented the golden cow that kept giving. From the Socialist Party to the AAA and everything in between, water was gold. People on the streets, a Government that was retreating and loudhailers galore. What more could the fragmented Irish Left want?
Alan Kelly's package in response to the protests did steady the nerves of backbenchers in both Fine Gael and Labour.
Water is still an issue and will no doubt resurface during the upcoming general election campaign, but the poison that it once represented is no more.