We were in Brussels last week for a briefing on the European elections and it seems that the Lisbon debate and referendum in Ireland is still a big issue. An early vote is seen as best for a positive result and a yes to Europe.
Leaving it until October could be a great mistake and may lead to more success for Libertas, who are an organisation of intrigue in Brussels and seen as very much in the camp of the Euro sceptics and the anti European UK Independence party.
Britain is still seen as the most anti Europe member and the British media is also seen as the most hostile to Europe, of all the countries.
An Irish communications spokesman says that some of the European commission officials do not co-operate with the UK press because of the consistent anti Europe approach from them and their owners. This goes back to the days of Margaret Thatcher and even earlier.
For Ireland to be following some of the anti Europe elements of the UK establishment is seen as surprising from the nation that saw the birth of the Celtic Tiger and has benefited hugely from Europe. They see the economic crisis having a huge effect on the country’s confidence now.
The latest poll suggests that the Irish will now vote positively for Europe. The allowance of the continued Commissioner for Ireland is a great concession and secures the Irish national interest.
In the past Ireland was very engaged with Europe, when there was money to be got, but in the past decade less so. Now that our funds are running low we need to re-establish our relationship with the partners in Europe.
We all need each other to get through the crisis and having some independent tantrums may not be the right thing in the current crisis.
We need help to stabilise the Government finances, stay in the Euro and get access to Euro funds for industry, tourism and agriculture. Voting No would be a huge disaster we must avoid at all costs.
An April vote would mean that local councillors could also be called on to canvass for Europe from Fine Gael, labour and others.
A cross party consensus on a new date is needed, why not have it in April and get the party workers involved. In October, party workers will have elections fatigue, now is when they are needed.