Six things to expect this week: St Patrick's Day trips, Joan's future and what Gerry will do next
The counting is (almost) done and dusted - and the outcome is not very clear. Here are the six things we can expect to hear about in the week ahead
* Cabinet meeting
The Cabinet are due to meet on Tuesday - this will include outgoing ministers James Reilly (Minister for Children) and Alex White (Minister for Communications). Both lost their seats over the weekend. The Cabinet will discuss how they will carry out their duties in a caretaker capacity as well as reassign Reilly and White's responsibilities. The caretaker role for the outgoing government is due to come to an end on March 10th when the Dail will meet and and the election of Taoiseach will take place.
However, if no Taoiseach is deemed elected, President Michael D Higgins can request the 'caretaker' period to be extended.
* We need to talk about Joan....
Publicly Labour Party members have been somewhat reticent talking about Joan Burton's future as leader of the Labour Party. Joan herself has said it is a matter for the party members and it is something that will be discussed after the final results are in, the caretaker role is over, and a new government has been elected.
However, it would be somewhat naive of us to think that Joan's future won't be discussed further in the days ahead and movement made ahead of a second election....
*... You read that right - a second election
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said earlier today he put his party on "continuous election standby" two days before polling took place last week. He said he told party members to remove all their election posters this weekend and put them into storage in preparation for a second election.
The prospect of a second election happening later this year is being discussed within all political parties - Fine Gael's Jimmy Deenihan said it to reporters after losing his seat in Kerry, and Labour's Joanna Tuffy said she will be putting her posters in storage in the event of an election happening soon.
Activists and reporters at count centres across the country were hearing the same thing - and May is being pitched as to the likely time it will happen.
* It's good to talk - Enda is going to have to reach out to Micheal
Once the final results are in, speculation about whom is talking to whom is going to reach fever pitch. Enda Kenny will have to reach out to Fianna Fail and have meaningful discussions. It's clear that neither party really want to go in together - but a deal can still be struck. This is politics and power after all.
* Expect Gerry Adams to do the same with the left
Gerry Adams has said his party are not prepared to be junior partners in a coalition with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail. He definitively ruled this out earlier on while at the RDS.
He also refused to comment on whether he would put himself forward as a nominee for taoiseach. However, his deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said yesterday that the party would be putting Adams forward.
Adams did say that if they have the numbers with Right 2 Change and other candidates, they will make a meaningful attempt to form a government. Expect to hear speculation over the coming days about Gerry's conversations.
* What are we going to do about St Patrick's Day trips?
For years, successive governments have dispatched ministers to locations across the globe for St Patrick's Day celebrations. The trips are often criticised - but the government always say these trips are central to the promotion of our brand abroad and attracting investment.
The election of taoiseach is due to take place on March 10th - seven days before St Patrick's Day and not much time to organise who goes where. If they are going to go ahead, we think the 'caretaker' government will have to look after it.
It's also unclear at this stage as to whether St Patrick's Day festivities will take place in the White House - if we have no elected government in place, then President Barack Obama might opt not to go ahead with it.
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