Today Nicolas Sarkozy visited Ireland ostensibly to ascertain the reasons for the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. In reality he was testing the waters in relation to a second referendum. It was a cosmetic exercise which was designed to varnish his push for a second vote with a lick of consultation. His comments to a party meeting last week - that Ireland would have to vote again- angered NO campaigners and a sizeable proportion of the Irish electorate. His utterances smacked of arrogance.
Apparently he now has a better understanding of the reasons for the NO vote.
NO campaigners such as Declan Ganley and Patricia McKenna took a very hard line with him.
Even YES supporters such as Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore outlined clearly that this imbroglio cannot be resolved quickly. Enda Kenny stated that a second referendum prior to the European Elections would not lead to a clear-cut result.
Apparently Brian Cowen explained the difficulties in rushing into a second referendum. He spoke about analysis and consultation. Mr Cowen also stressed our solidarity with other EU member states and emphasized the desire to secure a resolution to the impasse which would satisfy all 27 members.
So Sarkozy has been appraised of Irelands difficulties with the Lisbon Treaty. The question arises as to whether he will take these on board or not.
As a first step Peter Mandelson should be reined in. The Commissioner for External Trade is prepared to sell out EU farmers to secure a deal at the WTO negotiations. This arrogant individual is not amenable to reasoned argument from farmers. EU food security is to be jettisoned. Similarly he is prepared to accept that the EU will be flooded with cheap food, often lacking traceability. He is prepared to wipe out Irish agriculture. 50,000 farmers are likely to go out of business and another 50,000 will lose their jobs in spin off industry-if Mandelson succeeds. He behaves like a dictator. He personalises all that is wrong with the Commission. He resembles a Czar speaking down to his subjects.
If Mandelson persists with his current approach, a rebellion by the rural electorate will dwarf the previous rebellion in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. (Are you listening Mr Sarkozy?) Who controls Mandelson? To whom is he accountable?
The Commission is undemocratic and lacks accountability. It must be reformed. That is the wish of the overwhelming majority of EU voters. Today Sarkozy made the startling admission to Declan Ganley that if a second referendum were held in France, it would be defeated.
The threat to Irelands 12.5% Corporation Profits Tax is real. It comes from countries such as France and Germany. This is a major issue for employers and employees and has the potential to wipe out large segments of Irish industry. Sarkozy favours harmonisation of tax rates. That is the reality.
Many coastal communities face extinction as Irish fish stocks are plundered by trawlers from other EU countries.
Rural Post Offices are closing due mainly to the liberalisation of postal services by the EU Commission. Often the local postman is the only visitor to elderly isolated rural dwellers. Thanks to the EU Commission this is disappearing.
In addition abortion and neutrality are other major issues, which must be resolved to the satisfaction of the electorate.
Verbal commitments on all of the major issues are insufficient. Watertight guarantees are a sine qua non.
Somehow I suspect that Sarkozy is not listening. Waffle and charm mixed with the stick and carrot is not sufficient. It is highly unlikely that the impasse between Ireland and the EU will be resolved during the French Presidency. 90% of the Irish electorate is pro EU. Hopefully Mr Sarkozy will not turn us into a race of Eurosceptics with unhelpful comments. Show us the colour of your money Mr Sarkozy.