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BAD options are all that's left for enda

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Enda Kenny has obviously taken Roy Keane's motto to heart, since he is busy setting up a high-powered Fine Gael committee for the general election that may still be 18 months away.

Sadly for Enda, it may already be too late to secure a second term in office - because his Government's disastrous 2014 means that he has no good options left.

A weekend opinion poll showed up the scale of Kenny's problem. Thanks to the Irish Water fiasco, Fine Gael have slumped four points to 22pc while Labour are flat-lining at 8pc.

The Taoiseach's critics often claim that maths is not his strongest subject, but even he must have grasped one fact by now - only the greatest political comeback since Lazarus can save his current team from defeat in 2016.

In other words, Kenny needs to find a new partner in the great political ballroom of romance.

Some of his more ambitious colleagues have begun making eyes across the dancefloor. Leo Varadkar recently set hearts fluttering with his suggestion that a partnership with Fianna Fail could be like gay marriage.

True, there would be a beautiful symbolism about the two Civil War parties kissing and making up on the centenary of 1916 when Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera fought together.

Micheal Martin has categorically ruled out the idea, however, partly because he has a low opinion of Enda and propping him up as Taoiseach would be a humiliation too far.

NOISES

So who else is there? Lucinda Creighton has been making noises yet again about setting up a new centre-right party, with the latest rumours suggesting a date in February.

If Enda is prepared to swallow a huge portion of humble pie, he might just seek an alliance with the woman forced out of Fine Gal over her anti-abortion stance.

Again, it is hard to see this working in practice. Bertie Ahern, still a shrewd observer of Irish politics, said over the weekend that Lucinda has simply left it too late for the next election. There is also a huge amount of bad blood between her and the Taoiseach - which means that Lucinda's first request in any coalition talks could well be Enda's head.

Of course, Creighton is not the only independent TD who might throw Fine Gael a lifeline. Another new poll shows Shane Ross as the public's first choice to create a new political movement.

Even if that happens, the Dublin South crusader would demand huge changes in government economic policy - and there is no guarantee that Kenny's party would allow him to pay that price.

The bad news for Enda is that his Plan A of getting re-elected with Labour may already be out of reach.

The even worse news is that his Plans B, C and D are starting to look pretty dodgy too.


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