Get down to it, Enda
Sir -- The obvious has happened and what we have all known for quite some time has come to pass. Fianna Fail have been blasted out of office and a Fine Gael/Labour coalition will be running the country (of course, under direction from the IMF and the ECB).
We had the usual backslapping and images of the newly elected TDs being hoisted on to shoulders in the count centres, smiles and parties all round.
But I feel they should now be taking a strong reality check and realise that there are a number of important points to remember.
Number one is that the people who deserve the highest praise from this election and who can hold their heads up with pride are the ordinary workers and voters, who showed in the best way possible how a true democracy should work.
There was no bloodletting, no riots on the streets, no violence at the voting booths. Instead, the Irish people quietly went about their business and showed the door to the political leaders who have deceived them and treated them with absolute contempt. It is true that there are millions of people all around the world who would love to be able to go out and vote in a peaceful manner, (think Libya, think Egypt) and prove, as the Irish have done, that the ballot box will always be stronger and more effective than the gun.
The other important point that our new leaders would do well to remember is that, in reality, this was no great vote for the love of Enda Kenny or Eamon Gilmore. It's just that they don't represent Fianna Fail and, on that basis, they were always going to get in.
But a word of warning for them. They have approximately four short years to show in a very real way that they will fulfil their promises to turn this country around. Remember the people are sceptical to say the least and there is no longer such a thing as a 'traditional vote'.
So get it right men -- or the Irish people will once again quietly go about their business and you can be certain Fine Gael or Labour will not see power again for many, many years. It's a massive job, get to it.
Newbridge, Co Kildare