So the Green Party is about to try another "deal with the devil" - or, more accurately, "two devils" this time. Back in June 2007, Green Party stalwart Ciarán Cuffe gave that diabolical description of the party's deal to share government with Fianna Fáil.
Now you can add the other potential diabolic beast to the mix in the shape of Fine Gael. Yet this decision to open coalition talks at long last, just days short of a full three months after the General Election, is a welcome relief - not least people who know we need a stable government to deal with what is, hopefully, soon to be the coronavirus aftermath.
Last time, in June 2007, Green Party- Fianna Fáil coalition talks opened 10 days after election day. After six days of negotiations, the Green team of John Gormley, Dan Boyle and party general secretary Dónall Geoghegan abandoned the talks, believing they were not being taken seriously.
But talks resumed with only three days to go to the resumption of the new Dáil term. There was also a second breakdown when Boyle and Fianna Fáil negotiator Noel Dempsey fell out over the final draft. Happily, oil was poured on those troubled waters.
Soon, the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party was rubber-stamping the Fianna Fáil-Green Party programme for government. On June 13, 2007, the Green Party members gathered at the Mansion House in Dublin.
It was a case of "realos versus fundis" as former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna championed a No vote on coalition on behalf of the fundamentalists. The soon-to-be party leader, John Gormley, put the case for realism in joining coalition. A two-thirds majority was needed for coalition approval - a high-bar rule which will apply to whatever emerges from these latest joust with the two devils.
Eight out of 10 Green Party members present backed the "realos" and 43 months of coalition participation was about to begin. The following day, Fianna Fáil leader Bertie Ahern was elected Taoiseach for a historic third consecutive term. He appointed two Green Party TDs to his cabinet with Gormley becoming Environment Minister and Eamon Ryan becoming Communications and Energy Minister.
This is the point where this writer is again honour-bound to say he worked as press adviser for the Green Party in government - but never before or since was a party activist or supporter. I did, however, grow to respect and like pretty well all those I dealt with in that party.
There were some cultural clashes from the start to the end. In autumn 2007, Gormley conversationally told the now Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, he had to go to Bali for a climate change summit. "You're going to ballet?" Martin asked Gormley in some astonishment.
Gormley, whose love of rugby was honed in a childhood spent in Limerick city, reflected on a certain cultural gap.
In late 2009, as the two parties battered out a revised government programme, Dempsey remarked the Greens were all about "hares, stags and badgers". Green Party deputy leader Mary White won the alliteration contest when she countered that Fianna Fáil were all about "bankers, builders and bailouts".
But the reality is that the two groups "pulled and dragged along" in the way of most coalitions - and then they fell apart. The parting came at the end of January 2011, weeks after the dreaded Troika of the EU-ECB-IMF landed in November 2010.
It is easy to forget the extent of the economic mayhem that government faced from summer 2008. It was summed up pretty eloquently by Gormley's speech in the Dáil in November 2010.
He addressed Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore, soon to be Taoiseach and Tánaiste, but up to then always smugly right about all that was wrong. The Green Party leader correctly foretold that before long the pair would find themselves "in the asylum of government", their policy choices almost non-existent, getting no sleep at night and suffering non-stop criticism by day.
It only took a matter of weeks after the February 2011 General Election for all that to come to pass. By then the Green Party had been almost wiped out.
The experience has been repeatedly parsed - and will again be as these "diabolic negotiations" begin.
It is interesting to note that few of the current 12 TDs and 49 councillors were activists who witnessed the events of 2007-2011 close-up.
Generals, we are told, have the bad habit of fighting the new war with the mindset of the last one. This time the Green Party activists - though absent from the last war - risk adopting that mindset.
But coronavirus has changed many ground rules. Up to now the experience has been that junior coalition partners are often unduly punished at the next general election. The lesson from that is to shun coalition and try to build in opposition.
But next time voters may punish the parties who shun government when it is badly needed. University College Cork political scientist Theresa Reidy has pointed out in this newspaper that post-election research in March showed a Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Green Party coalition was the preferred option for voters.
One thing has not changed from last time round: the central issue of trust. Can the Green Party trust Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael?
The answer is that government cannot work without trust. But trust is earned on all sides - and it is always tempered by the maxim "trust but verify".