Are Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael using the coronavirus as cover for getting into bed together again? You betcha.
Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath is on record as saying that people “wouldn’t forgive” their politicians if they didn’t form a government, what with the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic. Given that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have both declared they won’t so much as speak to Sinn Féin (no, not because SF have caught the virus, Virginia), presumably the public and absolution doesn’t involve Sinn Féin, since they’re not a normal political party.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar were down on their knees last night thanking God for the coronavirus pandemic, but they must have suspected divine intervention on their behalf. The one thing they both longed to do – carve up power in the south between them – had seemed impossible, with the people’s rejection of the same-old same-old. But no one, not even the Shinners, could say that things aren’t radically different, now that the state is, dare we say, fighting for the lives of its citizens.
Here’s what Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael are hoping: that they can form a coalition, only this time Michel will be Taoiseach, albeit a revolving one, so saving his leadership; that they can implement a limited number of the Sinn Féin manifesto points and claim them as their own; and that in four or five years’ time, the public memory will have been sapped by the passage of time and the havoc of the pandemic, to the point where they’ll ditch the Shinners and fall on the neck of Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael, sobbing their gratitude for standing by the state in its hour of need.
Covid 19: the heaven-sent virus that changes, changes utterly.