We need more regional balance on state boards
Downing on politics
The eerie sense of quiet in Leinster House this week reminded us we are in a two-month political ceasefire. That probably is a mercy for the entire nation, which has been bombarded with political news for a year now.
By mid-September we will be back at it, and again we will have more questions than answers. There is intense domestic instability in Ireland, as we face into an even more chaotic scenario in the EU following the Brexit vote on June 23.
Everyone agrees that, one way or another, there will be a Budget agreed in October. After that the key questions will continue as before: How long can this shaky hybrid minority Coalition last?
I cannot see this Government going beyond next summer as there are just too many things playing against it. But we shall see.
The other question is when and how will Enda Kenny depart the scene? In sporting parlance he is in "added time" - few expect him to be in situ beyond the end of this year.
Meanwhile, there is too much doom and gloom about. So, let's try to find some positives from the period since the general election on February 26 last.
One positive feature is that Leinster House now has a greater rural flavour about it. Five TDs from the Rural Alliance were returned in the election: Denis Naughten, Dr Michael Harty, Mattie McGrath, Noel Grealish and Michael Collins.
Their voices are augmented by the Healy Rae brothers, Michael Fitzmaurice, and others who have a pronounced rural appeal. We have to see how much in any practical way this can help people in the countryside which has been too long neglected. Having a voice is, however, not a bad start.