I arrived at Heathrow last night to find someone reading an Irish Independent front page announcing that a ‘Cowen-Brown rift deals blow to key Lisbon talks’.
Happily, the impasse (which didn’t even make the inside pages in any British paper I read) was resolved, and the EU agreed a statement that says, in effect, that Libertas lied.
In short, the agreed guarantee (or should that be pending protocol) states what is already the case.
The Lisbon treaty will not mean Brussels can set Irish tax rates.
The Lisbon treaty will not mean Irish conscription to a foreign army.
The Lisbon treaty will not affect Irish abortion law.
The agreement has been described in the Irish Times as ‘Lisbon for slow learners‘, and the government seems confident that it will reassure voters swayed to vote No by irrational fears last year.
Duller arguments about democratic deficits don’t get as much traction with voters, and so are not addressed.
Ireland already secured an agreement that will mean we retain our commissioner, though what benefit that has for us isn’t exactly clear.
Honestly, can you name one way in which we benefited in the last five years from sending Charlie McCreevy to Europe?