As 2017 drew to a close political staff did the traditional round of Christmas interviews with senior politicians. Familiar themes emerged: the extremely thorny issue of housing, the popularity contest between the two major parties, and what a future coalition government involving Sinn Féin might look like.
Today Simon Carswell and Fiach Kelly talk to Hugh about the major political challenges in the year ahead:
Michael Martin - can his party recover ground lately lost to Fine Gael?
Eoghan Murphy - can he define success in housing and then achieve that success?
Mary Lou MacDonald - as leader, can she finally manoeuvre Sinn Féin into power?