Stephen Collins: Choice may now be support from Independents or new election

Some of the State’s most successful administrations have been propped up by Independents

Éamon de Valera: it is often forgotten that he failed to win an overall majority on three occasions. Photograph: Colman Doyle

Éamon de Valera: it is often forgotten that he failed to win an overall majority on three occasions. Photograph: Colman Doyle

As Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil continue their contortions to try and get another party to join them in a coalition, it is worth recalling that some of the most dynamic and successful administrations in the history of the State have been minority governments propped up by Independents.

The outstanding example of this is the Fianna Fáil minority government led by Seán Lemass which took office in 1961. It didn’t simply survive for the following four years, it oversaw the change from the narrow protectionist regime that regulated the Irish economy for the previous 30 years to the world of free trade and foreign investment that created the basis for the successful modern economy we have today.

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