Stakes high in a game of chicken where isolated Coveney simply couldn't flinch before Fianna Fáil
Privately, both sides were saying "this was not the one" to bring down a shaky minority Government just days from the Christmas break.
Publicly, both sides clung obdurately to their 'not-an-inch' stances over the new strategy for the rental sector.
From Housing Minister Simon Coveney's point of view, he simply had to stand his ground and not flinch in this strange game of chicken. The lack of choice very probably helped him - he just had to win.