Saturday 16 December 2017

The sky did not fall as we awaited new coalitions in times past

Charlie Haughey
Charlie Haughey
John Downing

John Downing

The late great politician John Kelly remarked that we did not have a government - but the sky did not fall.

We can expect something similar to happen today - on both counts.

Mr Kelly's comments came in the aftermath of a general election in June 1989 where nobody had an overall majority.

The Dáil met four times for fractious sessions on June 29, July 3, July 6 and July 12 in efforts to elect a Taoiseach and assemble a government.

Finally, it was agreed on July 12, 1989, that Charlie Haughey would lead a first ever coalition involving Fianna Fáil.

Their partners would be the Progressive Democrats, who were set up by Haughey's fierce rival, Des O'Malley, who had been drummed out of Fianna Fáil.

That Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats Coalition fell apart in the autumn of 1992 and that led to a difficult election campaign leading up to polling day on November 25.

Fianna Fáil, under Albert Reynolds, suffered serious reverses while Labour, led by his arch-critic, Dick Spring, gained huge ground. It took six subsequent Dáil sessions, which straddled two calendar years, before a new government could be agreed.

The Dáil met on December 14, 15, 16 and 22, again on January 5, 1993.Finally, Albert Reynolds was re-elected Taoiseach on January 12, 1993, with the support of Labour as Dick Spring became Tánaiste.

Irish Independent

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