FIANNA Fail people must be pinching themselves. As little as two years ago, the party that led us into an economic abyss is respectable again and is gathering in Dublin 4 for its annual ard fheis, having regained some of it legendary swagger. After near annihilation in the 2011 General Election, many commentators predicted that there was no way back.
Others, perhaps those older and wiser, suggested that the obituaries were premature but that it would take at least a decade before party members could face their reflection in the mirror. But the redemption has been swift. A swarm of opinion polls all lead to that conclusion and the party's share of the vote in the Meath East by-election was more than respectable.
Micheal Martin, having delivered his mea culpas, has been quietly going about the business of re-inventing the brand.
A number of own goals by the Government – the Croke Park II collapse and the fumbling over abortion legislation being two of the more recent examples – have helped their cause, as have the brutal decisions Fine Gael and Labour have been forced to make in the past two years.
So, yes, the party faithful have reasons to be cheerful this weekend, as they gather in the RDS.
But there are reasons for caution, too.
Opinion polls are snapshots in time and nothing more. Translating them into votes in the local and European elections is easier said than done.
And voters know that Fianna Fail in power would have to follow the same roadmap as the current Government, because the economics of common sense suggest there is little alternative.
So far so good for the Soldiers of Destiny; but wily and experienced Micheal Martin will know that, to reprise a Fianna Fail slogan from the good days, there's lots done, but more to do. Much more.