We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

3 days to go

The TrailFix: The curious case of Enda, Micheál and the rotating taoiseach

The best and worst bits from today’s #ge16 campaign trail.

EVERY NIGHT DURING the general election, brings you the latest from the Election 2016 campaign trail.

Everybody’s talking about 

The possibility of a Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil coalition continues to loom large and today former Fianna Fáil minister Conor Lenihan raised the prospect of a ‘rotating taoiseach’.

The idea is that Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin would each serve as taoiseach for a set period of time over the course of the next government’s term. It sounds bonkers and, frankly, it is.

But it’s not the first time it’s come up. It was mooted in 1990s when Labour was enjoying the fruits of the ‘Spring Tide’, but Dick Spring’s idea was dismissed by both Albert Reynolds and John Bruton. Similarly Fine Gael shot down the idea when then Labour leader Ruairí Quinn raised it in 2002.

The scenario is one of the more outlandish being considered by those in political circles in the now likely event of a hung Dáil. Writing today, the DCU political academic Eoin O’Malley suggests a more feasible outcome.


He believes that when the Dáil returns on 10 March, Fianna Fáil will initially oppose the election of Enda Kenny as taoiseach and ensure an embarrassing stalemate. The party will then eventually agree to abstain on a Dáil vote and ensure Kenny’s return to Government Buildings. O’Malley writes:

This will force a minority Fine Gael government (perhaps with Labour) to form issue-by-issue coalitions in which Fianna Fáil will be able to extract visible concessions from the government on issues.

This keeps Fine Gael in government, but strengthens the hand of Fianna Fáil in deciding the date of the next election. O’Malley suggests this issue-by-issue arrangement could last for around 16 months before Martin and co pull the plug and there’s a second election. By this time Kenny could be out of office – replaced by Leo Varadkar.

It’s all wild speculation right now and just one of a number of scenarios that could arise depending on the verdict of the people this Friday. The outcome of this election hinges on events in the finals hours of the campaign, like tonight’s final TV debate. The government needs a gamechanger and we’re being promised a performance from the Taoiseach that will “outperform expectations” according to one senior source.

After such a bad campaign, he needs it.

23/02/2016 General Election 2016. Pictured is Mich Ballot boxes are inspected ahead of their distribution to polling stations around the country in the coming days. Sasko Lazarov Sasko Lazarov

Slap Down of the Day

On Conor Lenihan’s suggestion of a rotating taoiseach, Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath adopted the ‘pat on the head’ approach in dismissing the idea as “pie in the sky”:

Conor was always a good man for innovative ideas and fresh thinking.

Row of the Day

Independent TD Mattie McGrath is in dispute with a local newspaper in Tipperary after it incorrectly labelled him as a Fine Gael candidate.


FactCheck of the Day


As part of our general election coverage, we’re testing the truth of claims made by candidates and parties on the campaign trail. Dan MacGuill will be factchecking some of the claims made in tonight’s TV debate and you can read the entire series of articles right here.

WTF Moment of the Day

Not sure who to vote for? This helpful Tinder for TDs is pretty slick and hilarious


Infographic of the Day 

New/Slang has produced this fascinating guide to the burning issues of #ge16 which finds, rather interestingly, that Irish Water has slipped down the agenda.


It was a good day for

CMC2353-5 Conor McCabe Conor McCabe

It was a bad day for 


Tomorrow’s news today: What’s happening on the campaign trail

  • Fine Gael: Enda Kenny and party ministers will hold a final press conference outlining the choice facing people on Friday.
  • Fianna Fáil: Barry Cowen and candidate Jim O’Callaghan will speak about the two-tier recovery in Dublin. Micheál Martin will continue his tour throughout the country.
  • Labour: Joan Burton, Brendan Howlin and Alex White will hold the final press conference of the campaign in Dublin. 
  • Sinn Féin: Gerry Adams will make a final appeal to voters at a press conference in Dublin. 
  • Social Democrats: The party will hold an ‘end of campaign’ press conference outside Leinster House.
  • Renua: The party will launch its family package policy in Dublin.
  • Green Party: Eamon Ryan will host the party’s final campaign press conference in Dublin.
  • AAA-PBP: The party will also have a ‘final press conference’. It will be held at 1pm in the Mont Clare Hotel in Dublin.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.