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Coalition stuck between rock and a hard place

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photo: Mark Condren

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photo: Mark Condren

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photo: Mark Condren

THE unlikely alliance between Fine Gael and Labour was always going to be problematic.

The smaller party rarely comes out of a coalition well – just look at what happened to the PDs and the Greens.

In fairness, apart from the usual Leinster House squabbling, the coalition has held up well. All the more so given the times the country has come through.

Until now. The dreaded mid-term is upon the government, with local and European elections looming large.

Labour is languishing in the polls and, with current levels of support, it is facing a very serious drubbing in May.

And grievances are coming to the fore. Chief among them on the Labour side is the sidelining of Eamon Gilmore in the bailout exit 'celebrations'.

 

REVELATIONS

Meanwhile, Pat Rabbitte's people believe that he has been hung out to dry by his Fine Gael colleagues on the pylon issue.

Revelations such as those of the €50m consultant spend at Irish Water have placed further strain on the relationship. And the Fine Gaelers, for their part, believe that Social Welfare Minister Joan Burton got away lightly with her budget cuts, while Health Minister James Reilly was pilloried.

Of course the government has moved to quash the reports. Leo Varadkar says it's nothing to worry about. Ruairi Quinn says the Gilmore-Kenny relationship is rock solid.

I wonder. After three bruising years in government the coalition appears to be fraying at the edge. Can we now expect separation or divorce?


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