All the opinion polls showed Fianna F_il on course for a drubbing. Fine Gael and the Labor party confidently predicted they would form the next government.
But in the closing days of the campaign, large numbers of voters hesitated. Faced with the risk that the promised change would undermine the economy, they decided to play it safe, and stick with Ahern.
In the rush back to Fianna F_il, all of the smaller parties – Sinn F