Fianna Fail negotiators were a visible presence last week around the coffee dock of LH2000, the modern annexe of the Leinster House complex.
The party's government talks team seemed to be making a point of using the time out from the negotiations with Fine Gael and the Greens to engage with backbenchers. Copious amounts of tea and coffee were being consumed. "Jesus, if they were a hurling team you'd throw a bucket of water over them," remarked one TD who sat with them. "They're f***ing wrecked."
Also present in the same area before lunchtime last Wednesday was Micheal Martin, umbrella in hand, chatting to his deputies and only breaking away when he spotted Eamon Ryan emerging from his office. The pair were deep in conversation for a few minutes before Ryan departed.
The relationship between the three party leaders will be crucial to the success - or not - of the next government and they are said to have established a solid working rapport in their private discussions which have run concurrently with the main negotiations. But whether or not they end up governing together remains an open question this weekend.
There have in recent days been several marathon meetings in an effort to agree large tranches of text in the programme for government document that will run to more than 100 pages. Public health guidance limiting meetings to two hours has seemingly been dispensed with as they reach end game.
Fianna Fail has been keen to talk up the prospects of a deal. If it didn't get done by Friday, said one negotiator, "it'll never get done". Friday came and went, but the Fianna Failers didn't pack up their documents and storm out of the talks, because they can't afford to. Their desperation to get a deal done, the party into government and Micheal Martin into the Taoiseach's office is obvious to everyone observing the process. Fine Gael and the Greens can smell it off them.
The Greens are keen to stress the process will take more time, briefing yesterday that it will be tomorrow before a deal is reached. Pessimism is growing in Fine Gael, however, where one senior minister last week outlined their belief that a deal would be rejected by Green Party members. "I don't think a government will be formed," they said.
There is a high degree of the unknown. Senior figures in all three parties have been pressing journalists - or at least this one - for insight over recent weeks. "What do you think [the other two parties] think," asked one last week. "Are they optimistic?"
One thing we do know is that if a deal is agreed by the three parties - which all told is likely in the coming days -and passed by each of their memberships, which is far less certain, then a coalition government will be formed.
Micheal Martin will become Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar will be demoted, most likely to Tanaiste but as Eamon Ryan has made clear elsewhere in this paper today, the Greens aren't giving up on that spot. It has been assumed that Varadkar will take on the foreign affairs portfolio, although he has also been linked with what is likely to be a beefed-up Minister for Business role, which will encompass overseeing the national recovery plan.
The programme for government will commit to publishing this plan to stimulate the Covid-destroyed economy within weeks of taking office.
It is being drafted by officials in the Departments of Taoiseach, Finance and Public Expenditure.
The division of cabinet portfolios is the source of much speculation among ministers - many of whom are facing the axe - and TDs.
The party leaders have in recent days begun discussing all this but no final decisions will be made until the government is about to be formed and there will be last-minute hiccups and changes. Varadkar knows this better than most, having baulked at Enda Kenny's offer to reappoint him Minister for Health in 2016 unless he secured substantial extra funding for the department. He was sent to Social Protection instead.
In recent days, the leaders have discussed what happens with the standalone Minister for Children at cabinet amid an intense lobbying campaign from a sector that fears the department itself will be abolished. This is not on the table, I understand, but any move to give responsibility for it to a senior minister who will also be in charge of another department, such as Education, will be heavily criticised.
The problem, as identified by Varadkar last week, is that the Constitution allows only 15 senior ministers. At present there are 17 government departments and another, a Department for Higher Education and Research, is likely to be created at Fianna Fail's request. The possibility of rolling the departments of Rural Affairs and Culture into one has come on the table, which won't go down well with their respective ministers Michael Ring and Josepha Madigan, both of whom are facing uncertain cabinet futures.
A Fine Gael cabinet minister, whose future is also in serious doubt, suggested the party would want to retain the finance, foreign affairs, business, justice and agriculture portfolios. Fianna Fail expects to get housing, health, education, public expenditure and possibly social protection. The Greens will want climate action and transport.
Many will be left disappointed. There will be an unavoidable ministerial bloodbath in Fine Gael that will create inevitable difficulties for Varadkar. There is some speculation, though none of it serious at this stage, that he may depart for the European Commission if Phil Hogan becomes head of the World Trade Organisation. Meanwhile, the race to succeed Martin - which has already quietly begun - will really kick off once he becomes Taoiseach with those who fail to land jobs leading the plotting.
For all his troubles in recent days, Eamon Ryan will at least have clarity on his own position by the end of July. The future is less clear for those which whom he hopes to govern with.