Read more: Irish General Election brings feverish excitement and oral electricity

The voters finally get their say in Ireland today.

Given that the popularity of the outgoing government is measured at four per cent in the latest opinion poll it is not hard to see what they will be saying.

They are about to reduce the Fianna Fail party, which has won the highest vote in every Irish election since 1927, to rubble.

Fianna Fail will be lucky to get 20 seats out  of what they currently hold. They will be the third largest party in Ireland.

Imagine the Democratic or Republican party being reduced to a handful of senate seats and you get the sense of the payback mentality that will prevail at the polls today.

The country faces a great depression with $150 billion owed to various creditors at this stage, an impossible amount for a country so small.

The new leader who will be Enda Kenny of the Fine Gael party will have to navigate dreadful economic times with a barely functioning banking system, thousands of Irish leaving every month and a deeply cynical electorate.

He will be pitched straight into critical talks with his European Union lords and masters from Germany and France by the end of March.

How he manages to renegotiate Ireland’s loans will immediately mark him as a success or failure.

The last government was sucker punched by the Irish banking overlords into accepting their incredible debts as Ireland’s debt -- a scenario brilliantly replayed in Michael Lewis’s groundbreaking article in the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

Then the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and EU came along and granted a massive and punitive high interest loan that is simply un-repayable under current terms.

There is a moment frozen in time when the IMF head honcho Ajai Chopra, on his way from his Dublin hotel to the Department of Finance to take over the Irish books, passed a beggar on the street. The symbolism could not have been greater.

At that moment power seemed to ebb from this Irish government.  To make matters worse, even the British pitched in with a monetary contribution to help the Irish pay their debts.

Even The Irish Times pulled on its green jersey and railed after that, asking if this was what the Men of 1916 died for.

Now it is up to Enda Kenny to rebuild the Irish economy and indeed, Irish pride.

At least he has a mandate.

He will need all that firepower in the difficult weeks that lay ahead.

Kenny has not gilded the lily but has only promised people there are tough times ahead.

Cometh the hour cometh the man?

We can certainly hope so.

Read more: Irish General Election brings feverish excitement and oral electricity


Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny campaigns in Donegal on the eve of the Republic of Ireland's general electionReuters