What four more years of Angela Merkel could mean for Ireland
Germans go to the polls in four weeks. Their decision will have major implications for Ireland
While every happening in Washington DC is reported on in great detail in the media, far too little attention is being paid to Berlin. Germany is entering the final straight of its general election campaign. That country is the most powerful constituent part of a quasi-federation of which Ireland forms a part. What happens in Germany matters for every man, woman and child in this country.
Angela Merkel is all but certain to win a fourth term as Chancellor in four weeks' time. Having won the top job in German and European politics in 2005, she is set to remain in office into the next decade. The conservative Christian Democrat leader has played a significant role in Germany's rise to become democratic Europe's preponderant state.
Although somewhat over rated - she has enjoyed all of the political gain and suffered none of the pain from her predecessor's bold economic reforms implemented in the first half of the last decade - Mrs Merkel towers above western Europe's other leaders. Some of that is by dint of longevity - she is by far the longest serving leader of an EU country is now on her fourth Taoiseach - but it is mostly to do with her country's natural power and her own abilities and skills.