The release of the Mahon tribunal report provided the Irish body politic with its darkest week since the era of the excesses of the Provisional IRA. For the guilty, truth is always bitter, and a tribunal that itself became a gilded monument to the ineptitude of Irish public governance, in just its second paragraph wrote the epilogue of Fianna Fail.
The finding that corruption in Irish public life, from the top to the bottom, was endemic, systemic, widely known and widely tolerated essentially describes the country FF built. Elsewhere, we ask if it is the case that the most patriotic thing Fianna Fail should now do is to simply cease to exist. But it is important to remember though, that whilst tribunals examine the past, governments shape the future. Condemning FF may be necessary, but that ship has sailed.
They may have escaped relatively unscathed from last week's Mahon report but there is no shortage of lessons a Coalition, and in particular a Fine Gael party which has shown a hearty appetite for gifts from tycoons, should learn. Mr Justice Moriarty found that Michael Lowry, a prominent Fine Gael minister, was in receipt of payments and loans from Denis O'Brien to the tune of hundreds of thousands of euros and the first payment of £147,000 occurred less than seven weeks after the granting of the biggest licence in the history of the State to Mr O'Brien.
We know that under the rule of a troika our politicians are somewhat powerless. But Eamon Gilmore's "you cannot always choose the photograph" defence of Mr Kenny is risible.
More commanding of our respect is the fact that Mr Rabbitte appeared to be uncomfortable on that issue -- albeit under pressure from the redoubtable women journalists Miriam O'Callaghan and Elaine Byrne as well as Sam Smyth on last Thursday's Prime Time. History, much of it unwritten as of yet, shows otherwise, Mr Gilmore,and you should know.
A Fine Gael party, significant sections of whom have already embraced the old FF ethos of "all things being equal the party man gets the job", is not so different to Fianna Fail as to be immune from contagion if it indulges in what the church used to refer to as the "keeping of bad company".