How long before the sense of national solidarity, so admirably present since the Covid crisis began, breaks down? Not long in Leinster House at least, one fears. Politics has the potential to get really ugly really quickly, resulting in lasting damage to the country.
Let's assume Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens manage to put together a government, despite the latter's bizarre public implosion in recent days. No incoming administration in the history of the State, bar perhaps the one formed in the shadow of the Civil War, will have faced such instant adversity.
The Taoiseach said last week the current economic crisis was not worse than the crash of 2008-2009. While he could say little else, there are strong grounds for believing otherwise. Huge chunks of the economy are in cold storage and will be for a long time to come. The hole in the budget will be about €30bn this year, one in four is unemployed and more than a million workers are getting some form of emergency welfare or subsidy.
With Covid-19 with us for the foreseeable future, there is no longer talk of a quick economic rebound. Shops, restaurants, pubs and hotels will reopen on a phased basis, but consumer spending will be at a fraction of 2019 levels.
Other problems loom large on the horizon. The teaching unions are already grumbling about a return to school in September - months after every other EU country -which suggests we should brace ourselves for a serious confrontation there.
And how is the health service, entirely focused on the pandemic these past two months, going to manage when it inevitably also has to start dealing with regular illnesses? Who would want to be minister for health next winter?
Then there is the understandable fear generated by a genuinely deadly virus. There will inevitably be a section of the population who will be opposed to the reopening of society and the economy unless there is zero risk involved, which is impossible.
The Government and the public health officials have had strong support for their approach to date. But the near unanimity in approval will not last. The decision to lock down was easy and correct, as was throwing money at the situation. The really difficult choices lie ahead.
But as in 2008-2009 there seems to be precious little awareness of that. In the autumn, the State is due to give a 2pc pay increase to public sector workers. By any sensible analysis, giving a pay increase when half the workforce has either lost their job or had a pay cut - and when the State is racking up huge debts - is ludicrous. Yet not one politician last week was willing to come out and say that.
Not a day goes by without fresh calls for a bailout, subsidy or tax break for some group or sector on top of the extra billions already being spent. Some of them are entirely deserving. But there is zero focus on how ultimately we will pay for this.
It's not just some schoolchildren no longer doing basic maths. Few politicians seem concerned with how it will be possible to spend tens of billions more in health and social welfare and also continue to invest in infrastructure, while not increasing taxes or cutting spending.
Yes, cheap money is available for now. And, unlike a decade ago, the EU seems to be rising to the huge challenge. But neither situation will last indefinitely. A day of reckoning will come.
Sooner rather than later in the case of the special €350-a-week Covid-19 payment. The scheme is in serious danger of becoming an international laughing stock. One can only imagine what the Bundesbank mandarins will make of the news that 38pc of those in Ireland's scheme, 200,000 people, are getting more money than when they were working.
It was arguably understandable that, in the rush to protect the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs, the Government erred on the side of helping people too much, rather than doing too little.
But the warnings from politicians, particularly in Sinn Fein and the parties of the hard left, that the scheme now cannot be touched are bonkers.
Left-wing politicians are essentially justifying a student, living at home with well-off parents, who had been working a day or two in a bar or shop, getting 66pc more money than a middle-aged man or woman who lost their full-time job in January or February.
They do so because it pays political dividends for them. We snigger condescendingly at the outrageous populism of Donald Trump and even Boris Johnson. But the notion we in Ireland are immune to populism is naive. Our populism may be of the left, rather than the right, but it can be no less damaging or irresponsible.
A year ago, it seemed on the wane. The economy was booming and the centre parties were gaining ground. No longer. The crisis is different, but the modus operandi from 10 years ago will be just the same. For water charges, read the €350 Covid payment. Watch not just Sinn Fein and the hard-left parties, but Labour and Social Democrats -who bottled it when it came to government formation - play the 'austerity' card for all its worth in the coming months and years.
And what other description but populist could you use to explain what's currently going on in the Green Party? There are people in the party far too concerned with being down with the kids on social media, for whom associating with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is up there with ringing Liveline to complain about the sex scenes in Normal People.
But perhaps the populist wing of the Greens, if not particularly noble, is being politically astute. The Greens got no thanks for doing the right and brave thing back in 2008-2010.
Fine Gael and Labour got similarly hammered in the 2016 general election despite their role in getting the country back on track.
Opposition parties will calculate they will get serious mileage in going bald-headed for the government at every opportunity. The new coalition will be under siege virtually from day one - caught between a deadly virus and a hard place.
Of course, none of this is certain. It's possible, as in the late 1980s, that voters will understand some tough medicine is unavoidable. FF, FG and the Greens (if they are there) might get credit for their management of the pandemic.
Who knows, there might even be a vaccine which will allow normal life and the economy to resume where it left off in early March? People may tire of those shouting loudest and promising easy solutions to hugely complex problems.
Perhaps. But right now, the likeliest scenario is that the coalition of the centre will be butchered by their spell in government, perhaps beyond salvation for either FF or FG, or even both. The horror economic stats and budgetary numbers suggest so.
Back in 2011, when FF and the Greens were drummed out of office, they were replaced by FG and Labour who, despite knowing the likely electoral consequences, took up where the outgoing government left off in sorting out the public finances. Many in politics, the media and, God knows, on Twitter don't like to acknowledge it, but it worked - if not without pain.
This time around, there won't be a moderate centre party waiting in the wings to take over, just easy-over populism. Sorry, Taoiseach, but this trumps 10 years ago.