'I think Fine Gael should set up a sanitation department, we have had to clean up after Fianna Fáil so often."
That was one of Michael Noonan's killer lines in his leaders' speech at the Fine Gael Árd Fheis back in February 2002. The Limerick veteran, who is now quitting Dáil politics after almost 40 years, did in fact wind up leading a massive post-Fianna Fáil clean-up - but a decade later, and in circumstances few of us in the crowd at the Citywest conference centre that night could have anticipated.
Three months after that belligerent speech, Mr Noonan resigned in dismay as for the first time in history the electorate opted to vote the opposition out of office and gave another term to a Fianna Fáil-led government. Like it or lump it, Irish election campaigns have always been about gimmicky giveaways, and replete with slick, and not-so-slick, voter bribes funded by their own money.
The June 1977 General Election campaign was the daddy of all the giveaways. Fianna Fáil pledged the abolition of rates on homes, the abolition of car tax and the recruitment of tens of thousands to the public service.
The voters chorused "bring it on" and delivered the biggest Dáil majority in history. The tougher part was that domestic rates were abolished and local government finances have continued to deteriorate ever since. Car tax disappeared for a time, then returned first as a nominal enough fee and then back bad as ever. Thousands were hired, many to cut nettles in graveyards for a time.
But it ended in economic tears. By 1986 the national debt was at hitherto unrecorded levels, and a quarter of a million people were unemployed, despite 40,000 people leaving the country that same year. In January 1987 'The Economist' magazine reported that the International Monetary Fund was threatening intervention, presaging what actually did happen in November 2010.
It is vital to make a few quick points at this stage. Fianna Fáil has no monopoly on mad election promises, though, since it has won most elections in the State's history, it's reasonable to conclude it has been better at it.
It must also be noted that Garret FitzGerald's Fine Gael had led government for the three years prior to the State finances teetering on brink of bankruptcy. A series of miserable cutbacks failed to remedy things.
Equally, despite Mr Noonan's "Fianna Fáil sanitation group" speech, his 'Vision With Purpose' election manifesto for that ill-starred May 2002 election promised the biggest tax cuts of all, totalling €2bn in concessions, mainly targeting low and middle-income earners. These included tax rebates and credits, double-mortgage relief for first-time buyers and there was even to be a compensation scheme for those who lost on the Eircom share flotation.
And while we're at it, let's note that as Ireland careered towards economic disaster after the 2007 General Election, no party - including Fine Gael - proposed anything dramatically different to Fianna Fáil, which was again returned to power.
The point of all this recent history is that Ireland has gone broke twice in the past four decades. A great deal of it was self-inflicted due to being over-borrowed when international economic turbulence struck.
Just before this election we learned about €11bn in unallocated resources for the next five budgets for a new government. We have near full employment and the nation's current account is in surplus.
But there are storm clouds aplenty also. Much of that €2bn-plus per year will be easily accounted in public pay sector and pensions, which take one-third of government revenue. And there's health which also accounts for almost one-third of public spending and is often prone to spending over-runs.
There are other factors like the overhang of €200bn in long-term debt, and little impact has been made upon this since the economy has begun to go right. A rise in international interest rates is not on the immediate horizon - but that could change.
Then there is the fragile dependence upon corporation taxes. The Government's budgetary watchdog, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, warned that this revenue could not be relied upon in the medium to longer term.
It now accounts for 20pc of tax income and it has doubled since 2014. An ongoing process trying to put fairness into multinationals' taxes being conducted by the OECD is expected to reach a head later this year. The outcome could mean far less revenue for Ireland. About 50pc of last year's total came from just 10 companies, believed to include tech giants Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Google and Oracle. It cannot be depended upon.
Now facing into this General Election, the economy is motoring well but is still fragile and prone to shocks. And those election promises are flying again - from all the main parties presaging a return to ruin.