Time for FF to end its ambiguity over SF 'no'
As 4,000 Fianna Fáil voters met in Dublin for the Ard Fheis, the Cabinet was meeting in Cork for the first time in 12 years. The country's two major parties are making something of a comeback when it comes to holding the middle ground in Irish politics.
They are pretty much neck and neck: Fine Gael is at 31pc with the Soldiers of Destiny coming in at 29pc.
Fianna Fáil deserves credit for stepping up and doing the State some actual service by reluctantly agreeing to the confidence and supply agreement. The delivery of a Budget by committee was inevitably going to leave many deflated.
But it fell to Sinn Féin to be utterly incensed. The indignation would have been more convincing were it not for the fact that the party had preferred to be snipers in the wings from the backbenches, spurning the chance to play a role in government when they had a chance.
Micheál Martin's role as Fianna Fáil leader over the last six years has been commendable.
He can claim credit for having put the party's meltdown of 2011 behind him.
But it is up to Fianna Fáil to convince that "no" really does mean "no" when it comes to going into government with Sinn Féin after the next election.
The position has been unclear. With senior figures giving contradictory or at best ambiguous answers in recent months it behoves them to spell out unequivocally where it stands definitively.