Enda Kenny did quite well last weekend. George Lee romped home to take a Dáil bye election seat, the European elections saw four MEPs returned, and Fine Gael won 340 local council seats.
Then Fine Gael blew it, wasting two days on a ‘no confidence’ non-debate taking up time which should have been devoted to the Ryan report on the abuse of children in state care.
Little wonder then, that Enda Kenny got a cold reception when he met protestors outside Leinster House on Friday.
The debate showed only what everyone already knew: Fianna Fáil don’t want to face the electorate. The ‘no mandate’ taunt is sticking.
Seamus Brennan died in July 2008, Tony Gregory early in the new year. But Fine Gael did not move byeelection writs until th end of April.
So what next? Simple. Force another election. There’s a Dáil vacancy in Donegal South West, and has been since Pat the Cope Gallagher was elected to theEuropean Parliament.
Fine Gael may be tempted to wait until after the next budget before looking for another bye-election. That would be a mistake.
By moving now, Enda Kenny can keep the pressure on Fianna Fáil over a long hot summer.