Leaders' debate tonight could yet prove crucial
A hard fall can be followed by a hard bounce, depending on substance. The plummeting fortunes of the Coalition suggest that the 'Recovery' mantra did not carry weight with the public - its substance was questioned. It seems, not for the first time in recent political history, that a hard fall is likely to be followed by a hard landing. Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton and Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams have all found themselves going backwards, through nobody's fault but their own.
From the outset, the consensus was that this election was the Coalition's to lose, and few imagined that the slide would be so accelerated. It is not surprising therefore that business leaders are getting a little anxious.
As matters unfold across the water and the prospect of a Brexit has to be looked at realistically, the case for strong leadership, a stamp of authority and political direction could hardly be more pressing. Instead, we have Sinn Féin and the Independents with a combined total of 43pc. Elections in Spain, Greece and Portugal threw up various leadership scenarios, which fuelled more uncertainty, doing little to shore up economic solidity.