So it’s all over, the most amazing election of modern times that saw Fine Gael and Labour walloped by the electorate.
My prediction that Fianna Fáil’s Mary Butler would take a seat was correct although I didn’t expect her to top the poll. Also incorrect was my prediction that Fine Gael would retain both seats so congratulations to John Deasy and commiserations to Paudie Coffey and also to Labour’s Ciara Conway although her demise was not such a surprise.
If proof was needed that all has changed utterly, the election of two left of centre candidates in conservative Waterford is there for all to see.
While people experienced lots of difficulties, in my humble opinion the four main reasons for the routing of the government parties were the Hospital crisis, the Housing crisis, the water charges and, most of all, the government’s inability to read the mood of the public. To coin a phrase, they couldn’t see the wood for the trees!
In Waterford, there are other specific grievances not least among them the cardiac situation at University Hospital Waterford.
So now, the battle is now on to form a stable government. Again I might be wrong but, despite all the suggestions from media commentators, I don’t think Fianna Fáil will form a coalition with Fine Gael. Some of the TDs might be so inclined but a lot of them are totally against it. A special conference would also be required and the grass roots members won’t stand for it.
But unless we are to repeat the situation in the early 1980s when we had three general elections in 18 months somebody will have to come up with a working solution.
Otto von Bismarck famous quote still holds true: “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable, the art of the next best.”