It has been said history never looks like history when you are living through it. The agreement of a joint framework between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, as a precursor to a "full and equal partnership", certainly looks like history. It marks the crossing of a political Rubicon.
In these grim days, with another 41 recorded deaths yesterday, it would have been irresponsible not to have reached out.
Having spent more than a century at each other's throats, it is hard to think of a phrase that might capture the significance of the coming together better than "it's about time too".
What precisely distinguishes the two parties in this, the early part of the 21st century, had become something of a puzzle.
When asked for his opinion on what differentiates the two sides, the late Jackie Healy-Rae gave as good an answer as you'll get: "Those who know don't ever need to ask, and those who need to ask will never know."
There will be pockets of resistance on both sides. Passions will be stirred by the fact some heads will have to roll to enable a new cabinet to be put together.
The fact that it is for the greater good will not salve egos made raw by demotion. But personal ambition must come second to the needs of the country.
Micheál Martin has played a patient game. We are still some steps short of having a government, but he is closer to becoming Taoiseach than ever before.
He has waited in the wings long enough to relish moving to centre stage, even if he will have to share the spotlight.
The confidence and supply arrangement afforded us security in government, without which the last recovery would not have been possible.
It behoves both Mr Martin and Leo Varadkar to do all in their power to close the deal.
Stability in power is critical at a time when the permanence of so many precious things has been imperilled.
Parties such as Labour, the Greens, Social Democrats and the Independents should be in no doubt as to where their duty lies.
Today's political priorities are the saving of lives and the salvaging of the national economy.
Any member of the Dáil who thinks that either goal is unworthy of their attention will pay a heavy price.
The International Monetary Fund is not an institution prone to hyper-ventilation, but nonetheless it has warned what it has called "the Great Lock-down" will mark 2020 as the worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
It also believes prospects for a rebound next year are still uncertain.
But hope, according to Chesterton, is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate. Circumstances are certainly desperate, but dire though they are, a dramatic recovery is far from beyond us.
We did it before and pulling together can do it again, just so long as we dare to hope.