Stephen Collins: The loss suffered by FF and FG is no reason to hand power over to SF
Some 70% did not vote for hard left - parties must hold nerve at critical juncture
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: has shown political grit by refusing to row back on his rejection of Sinn Féin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The health of Irish democracy demands that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs get over the panic induced by last weekend’s shock election result and begin to assess their options in a calm and considered manner.While there is no escaping the stunning rebuff suffered by both parties, the outcome needs to be put in context.
Yes Sinn Féin did end up with a bigger share of the vote than any other party and if it had run more candidates it would probably have the biggest number of seats as well. This has changed the political landscape in a fundamental way but it does not mean that Sinn Féin has an automatic entitlement to be in government.