About the only sensible thing Michael McDowell ever said during his political career was that the PDs had to be either radical or redundant. The party stopped being radical and thus became redundant the moment Mary Harney decided to share power with Bertie Ahern.
Of course, the PDs had shared power with Fianna Fail before but there was always a degree of instability so long as the PDs stuck by their ethical principles. It’s actually impossible to maintain ethical standards and, at the same time, share power with a corrupt party like Fianna Fail as the Greens have quickly discovered.
Harney, realising this, quickly abandoned the party’s core value of defending high ethical standards in public office and led the party back down to the Fianna Fail sewers from which the original leaders of the PDs, including Harney, had courageously extracted themselves in 1985.
Once back in the sewer, political life became much easier for Harney and most of her colleagues, both parties floated along at the same level, happily sharing the same stench.
The problem of course was that voters couldn’t tell the difference anymore so why bother voting for a party that had voluntarily made itself redundant.