“what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Termonfeckin to be born?”

Well, there’s one for the record. Dermot Ahern quits ahead of the election (and it could be 28th December if Lowry and Healy stick to their rebellious murmurerings of last week). Who’d have thunk it? Well Brian Feeney for a start (H/T Kate!).

He may not have suggested Ahern would so spectacularly have quit the field, but he hinted darkly at his imminent defeat few others in the southern space thought likely.

Already the Twitterverse is waxing lyrical on the Gerry effect...So perhaps His Grace may have gotten it right after all…

In fact, the prime beneficiary of Ahern’s withdrawal is likely to be Fine Gael or Labour who are now contemplating running two in Louth… And there are others in Cowen’s cabinet looking decidedly itchy… Batt O’Keefe is thought to be looking particularly shaky…

The Big Mo is certainly running against Fianna Fail right now. But it’s still very difficult to discern who exactly it is running in favour of… Ireland has its own ‘kick the bums out’ election in the offing’. But the opposition should take warning from the US, where these retributive waves of public anger never come in singles…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty