It all started in Jim O'Callaghan's kitchen early one morning in the Spring of 2016.

That's when the prospect of a Confidence and Supply Agreement became suddenly appetising over a plate of croissants.

It was unorthodox but it was the only way of moulding the ingredients of the 32nd Dáil into a working Government. And so Leo Varadkar, Jim O'Callaghan along with a senior adviser from each party, Andrew McDowell for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s Deirdre Gillane began sketching out a path to form a government.

The alternative was the calling of another general election, something few were keen to contemplate.

It’s almost forgotten now but there was also a sense that Enda Kenny may have to step aside to make government formation a little smoother for some tentative Independent TDs in particular.

Hence the urgency then to get things moving on that Saturday morning. The negotiations proper would later take place in Trinity College. The discussion time was lengthy but the face-to-face talks were relatively short. For long periods the negotiators were in separate rooms reporting back to party headquarters.

The longevity of what emerged from those talks has surprised many. 

The longevity of Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin's agreement has surprised many

The new arrangement was viewed at the time as a sign that the Dáil could demonstrate both flexibility and a somewhat unexpected maturity.

It has survived a change of Taoiseach, two ministerial resignations, one no-confidence motion in the Government and three such motions in Cabinet ministers. 

The early days of this unusual arrangement were perhaps defined by a desire to illustrate that politics could function effectively in Leinster House despite the Government’s minority status.

Unquestionably though it was Brexit and the uncertainty it caused that ultimately anchored this Government.

That need to maintain a sense of calm here amidst all the turbulence in Britain essentially became the Government’s raison d’être.

On Friday, everything changed with that decisive UK election result and thus the powerful force that kept the 32nd Dáil afloat will now ebb away.

This changed environment means too that any new confidence motion tabled by the Opposition early in the new year would almost certainly topple the Government.

That all suggests the Taoiseach may have a fairly limited amount of time in January if he wants to be the one to solely dictate the timing of the next election, which will most likely be in February.

Next week, the last major piece of outstanding business, the Social Protection Bill stemming from the Budget, will pass through the Oireachtas.

The changes to the threshold for the over 70s medical cards would require legislation in the new year however.

This was one of the reasons cited by the Fianna Fáil Leader when he voiced a desire to hold off on calling an election until the Easter break.

That may not be reason enough though to keep this Government in place for the first three months of next year.

In fact a significant majority of TDs in both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil privately believe a February or March election is the most likely scenario.

Whatever the public talk of keeping things together for a few more months, this in some ways is now akin to a duel and the one who is quickest on the draw will get the early advantage in the election campaign to follow.