IT'S all over bar the shouting (although don't underestimate the amount of that still to come). The economic blogs will continue to dissect and pour over the finer points of the Nama bill, but the rest of the country has already moved on. And once it becomes law around the end of next month, so will the entire political system.
That's not to say Nama isn't hugely important (it is), or that the public likes the idea of bailing out the banks (they clearly don't). But forecasts of a huge groundswell from the people over the legislation have proved fanciful.
Despite predictions of 50,000 protestors, a planned monster anti-Nama march last weekend attracted a smattering of people. While Labour's protest rally outside the Dáil on Wednesday was embarrassingly small. On-the-rack Fianna Fáil TDs will tell you privately that, despite a clearly orchestrated email campaign, Nama hasn't come on to their radar at local level.
On the Irish Times website on Thursday, three of the top five 'most read' stories were to do with the collision of the bus and Luas tram on Dublin's O'Connell Street compared to just one entry for a Nama story, prompting one wag to joke that "bus crashes are obviously more important than train wrecks".
But the reality is that Nama is not a train wreck and it's certainly not going to be derailed. It's not perfect. There is calculated risk involved. But when you hear hugely respected, and unquestionably independent, experts such as Professor John FitzGerald of the ESRI describe Nama as "the least worst option", there is some reassurance.
It's time to put to bed the ludicrous hyperbole about the potential for Nama to saddle generations to come with a debt they will be unable to bear. Yes, the state, via bonds, is stumping up €54bn, but it's getting assets in return for that. It's true there is genuine uncertainty about what those assets are actually worth, but that uncertainty does not run to €54bn or anything close to that. The €7bn gap between the €54bn and the €47bn the government estimates the assets are currently worth is a more reasonable guide to the taxpayer's potential exposure.
Of course €7bn is still a whack of money. But it's not going to sink the entire country for generations. The point has been made that the exposure could be considerably greater if property prices continue to drop and, not only does Nama's hoped for 10% increase in property prices over 10 years fail to become a reality, but property prices end up considerably below the government's current valuations.
But, if that is the case, Nama will be the least of our problems. If, in 10 years' time, the assets acquired by Nama are worth considerably less than the €47bn valuation currently put on them by the state, then the previous decade will have been an economic wilderness of the like we have never seen before and that will have had nothing to do with the potential exposure on Nama.
It will be several years before it's possible to make a proper judgment on Nama – in four or five years' time, we can assess whether it has worked in terms of getting credit moving again and what state the property market is in.
But politically, Nama is likely to fade off the news agenda in as little as four to five weeks. Once it passes through the Oireachtas (and for all the speculation about the Greens' reservations about Nama, it will become law) just watch it disappear as an issue. That is not in any way to underestimate its economic importance. It is a statement of political reality.
However, any relief this gives to the beleaguered government will be short lived. On the plus side, a Lisbon 'yes' vote now looks inevitable and Nama is successfully out of the traps, but the two biggest hurdles remain.
The first is the re-negotiation of a programme for government between Fianna Fáil and the Greens. The Green leadership has made it clear the new programme must be "transformational in nature" with John Gormley warning his membership would only accept it if that was the case.
Agreeing a "transformational" programme could prove tricky in the current economic climate. And then there is the not so small matter of securing €3bn in cutbacks, which is going to test the stability of the coalition to the absolute limit.
If the Greens do sign up for the new programme for government, they will effectively be tied in, but whether or not FF deputies have the stomach for the harsh medicine required is open to doubt.
The feedback from last week's parliamentary party gathering in Athlone does not engender confidence, with some TDs apparently stressing the need to politically proof the cutbacks – as if €3bn in cutbacks can be politically proofed.
Unlike Nama, the public will become seriously engaged if and when child benefit is reduced, social welfare payments are cut and when agricultural grant schemes are phased out – just a small number of the measures advocated by An Bord Snip Nua. The pressure on Fianna Fáil deputies will be intense and there can be no guarantees that they all be pressing the 'tá' button in the Dáil come budget night.
The government, thanks in no small part to Brian Lenihan's assured handling of the issue, has effectively already won the Nama battle but, politically at least, the most important part of the war lies ahead.