Main parties will pay for populism on water
In the tense aftermath of the election, when a tip-toeing and tentative feeling of the shaky ground beneath one's feet might have been wise, Fianna Fáil's environment spokesman Barry Cowen, and Fine Gael's Simon Coveney, both managed to put their feet in it.
Subsequently, they were forced to do embarrassing flip-flops. Given what has gone before, it would seem almost impossible to add even more confusion, more annoyance and more acrimony to the vexed issue of Irish Water, yet it is a feat which both men have achieved with aplomb.
Bombast is not something that serves a politician well, but Mr Cowen often slips into it, as if forceful language could add credibility to what many merely see as naked political opportunism. Yesterday, Mr Cowen rowed back on his claim that the future of water charges was a "red-line" issue for his party.