Christmas cheer:  Micheál Martin, Finian McGrath, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mary Lou McDonald, Róisín Shortall and Shane Ross at the Oireachtas Christmas tree lights switching-on ceremony at Leinster House.  Photograph: Alan Betson

The numbers alternated slightly on the board that hangs in Seán Kyne’s office, but the Government Chief Whip’s calculations always pointed to a Govern(...)