The DUP's inflexibility could see Sinn Féin hardliners fill vacuum
To paraphrase Alex Ferguson, "politics, bloody hell". Just over a year ago, there was heady talk in Sinn Féin of the party being in government on both sides of a border rendered almost irrelevant by the single market.
Now it is facing into 2017 with a very real prospect of direct Westminster rule in the North for the remainder of the year; the party somewhat marginalised in the South and the possible re-emergence of a hard border not seen since the dark days of the Troubles.
And, as if that wasn't enough to be getting on with, the Gerry Adams/Martin McGuinness double act that has dominated the republican movement for four decades is surely reaching the end of the political road.