By-election wipeout is a wake-up call for Labour
The contrasting fortunes of the Coalition parties in the Meath East by-election exacerbate the existing, fraught relationship of senior and junior parties in Government. Fine Gael views the victory not as merely the manifestation of a sympathy vote but an endorsement by the people of Meath as an effective party in Government.
The party will take heart that, against the odds, its tactic of having the right candidate with a well-organised campaign proved sufficient to win the seat.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will argue the public understands that the tough budgetary measures being employed are necessary and his plan is working.