The relatively muted reaction to the election of the new Government tells Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens that the honeymoon is already over. The time to deliver is at hand. Demand has never been higher and the challenge never greater. There will be no hiding place for this novel coalition. That is as it should be.
Rather than daunt the Government, the sense of (wary) public expectation should turbo-charge its resolve, encourage it to take risks and be "radical", for not in several generations has the opportunity existed to "change" the country for the better.
Some scoff at the words "radical" and "change" and question what they mean - as if they mean nothing at all. You will find such people usually have quite a comfortable life. And in five or 10 years you will hear them whistling past the graveyard.
"Populism" is the other hate word. It has been usurped by the far right, and the odd far left leftover, but the motivation behind its emotion is real and growing, and that energy can still be harnessed and channelled to the positive. The new Government has an opportunity to do so. Fail to take it and it will be dead in the water.
To have a fair chance, the Government needs to reclaim the word "radical" and embrace it in the manner Sean Lemass and TK Whitaker did in the 1950s and 1960s. Economic policy was "changed" by the time they were done. There were probably those who tut-tutted the old politician and young civil servant, believing they would regret not holding firm to the protectionist orthodoxy of old.
But make no mistake, the country is at such a point again. The "change" is all around you. Recent referendum results tell us as much. Take stock over the past 10, 20 or 30 years. Ireland is a different country to the place it was at the end of each of those decades and far, far different to three decades ago. The political system grinds slowly, however, and is in perennial catch-up instead of taking the lead. The old duopoly of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, that is.
And that is why the centre is slowly dying. It is not radical enough. Its imagination has been populated by paper pushers, clocking in and clocking out. Their day has come and gone. The demand for change is constant. That's life.
The wheel is always turning. But it has become impatient, insistent, and, contrary to belief, is not the sole preserve of younger generations, but of older, too - centrists who have been brought up under the duopoly, but have come to want more, not always meek acceptance the house odds has stacked the game again them.
What do they want? A fair and equal - they will take functioning - health service in their advancing years; the chance of a home, jobs and opportunity for their children; a clean and healthy living environment; and good education for their grandchildren. These are not outrageous demands and should be within the ability of this or any government to deliver should there exist the energy and will.
Always the pragmatists, Fianna Fail, in particular, and Fine Gael need to climb aboard the new reality instead of clinging to the lifeboat of a ship that has already set sail. Civil War politics is over - it has been for years, if not decades. It is with Charlie Haughey in the grave. And Fianna Fail will follow it if it fails to get in touch with the radical streak of its founding fathers in this, the last opportunity it will have to make itself relevant again.
It is easy to be cynical. And the pragmatists usually are. They warn not to expect too much, that the realities of political life always exist. The financial bill must be repaid. The financial markets will grind on. But that is to miss the point, to betray a lack of policy imagination, undeserving of reward, hiding in plain sight. The success or failure of this Government will hinge on the ideas it brings to the table, and in the delivery of those ideas into policy and law.
Fianna Fail and Fine Gael now have an opportunity, maybe a final chance, to get up to speed. The old way of doing things is over. Thinking as they have thought, acting as they have acted is not thinking or acting at all. It is ass-covering. Failure to grasp this reality will lead to the eventual death of one or other, or both. Sinn Fein is waiting in the wings and will deserve its opportunity if Fianna Fail and Fine Gael fail to respond to the most urgent mood of the public. "Radical" should be this Government's watchword - and "delivery".
Rhetoric is a rallying call. Delivery is what matters. Micheal Martin has always said delivery is what drives him. The new Taoiseach gets two-and-a-half years to put in place what he knows needs to be done. It is long enough.
He should approach the job with the reforming zeal of a zealot, or at least of a Lemass. His political life has played up to this moment. If he fails to leave his mark he will have only himself to blame. If Martin is the old, Leo Varadkar is the young, the Lemass and Whitaker of their day. Varadkar has spent long enough diagnosing the problem. It is time to stop talking a good game. He, too, must deliver.
Both can count themselves lucky to have brought the Greens on board. Cometh the hour, cometh the party, and the Greens are the right party at the right time. Europe and Ireland's future economic and social foundation will be rooted in a New Green Deal emanating from Brussels. Never waste a good crisis.
There is a buck to be turned in the climate emergency. The New Green Deal will be the touchstone around which a renewed economic model can be forged. By geographic location and climate, and its agriculture and food production traditions, Ireland can be at the centre of these developments.
And it would be a shame should Eamon Ryan be replaced as leader of the Greens. His idealism is needed now. Not just his, but Varadkar's, too. It must be there somewhere, beating inside his evolving political education. More than either of these two, however, has come the time of Micheal Martin. He will not want to be remembered as the leader who sold out his party to avoid the epitaph of the first who never became Taoiseach. It is what he does with this opportunity now that will define him. He is up to the challenge.