French President in Dublin

French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s brief diplomatic high wire act is in full flow as he attempts to manoeuvre past the “real political mess” in Dublin. As the Irish Times notes

He arrived in Dublin shortly before 1pm and following a working lunch with the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, Mr Sarkozy held private discussions with the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour’s Eamon Gilmore.

Mr Sarkozy, who currently holds the presidency of the European Council, then meet leading figures from the Yes and No camps at the French embassy. Those attending the embassy include Libertas founder Declan Ganley, an outspoken critic of EU reform under Lisbon, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance, Irish Farmers’ Association president Pádraig Walshe, director general of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation Turlough O’Sullivan and general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions David Begg.

RTÉ has footage of his arrival and there will be online coverage of the joint press conference at 5pm. Adds BBC report on Sarkozy visit.

Mr Sarkozy denied having suggested that Ireland hold a new referendum. “I said at some point or other the Irish must give their opinion,” he told reporters. “I never said Ireland had to organise a new referendum… I understand it’s the Irish who must decide,” he said, but added that “we’re a Europe of 27”. He noted that 23 member states had already ratified the treaty.

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  • Steve

    Dont forget to listen to the little french megalomaniac!……keep voting until you give the “right” answer!.

  • culligan

    look he had a choice of meeting inda kenny, grizzly adams, fatgrant o’farmer, rich boy barrett and david beggar or staying in bed with carlo bruni.

    the man is a fool.

  • willowfield

    What has this got to do with Northern Ireland?

  • picador

    What has this got to do with Northern Ireland?

    It’s the economy stupid.

    Or do you really think we can sponge off the Brits forever?

  • willowfield

    We’ll “sponge” off the Exchequer on the same basis as any other region of the UK, or any other region of any other normal state, for as long as we perform less well than the south of England.

    The visit of the French president to Dublin is irrelevant.

  • Pete Baker

    Put the handbags down guys.


    If you’re not interested in the topic, don’t comment on it.

  • Garibaldy

    I’d be curious to know who decided on the guest list. Some of them seem a little curious. Were people like Roger Cole of PANA invited too, does anybody know?

    As for Nicolas, I’m sure he was delighted to meet such a crew. I see also that Gilmore never followed through on his threat to not meet him.

  • joeCanuck


    If you don’t think that what happens in the Republic has an effect on ourselves, then I think your views are too insular. Same goes for the wider world. We’re more interconnected than ever before.

  • willowfield

    This web site is subtitled “Notes on Northern Ireland politics and culture” … I ask genuinely, what has this visit got to do with NI?

  • heck

    I would rather see an interview with Mrs Sarkozy.

    as for willowfield–no heck don’t play the man-it’s too easy

  • Kaido

    Brian had two nice big smackers on the cheek from Sarkozy whilst bidding him farewell.

    Picture north of the border with Peter getting the same treatment, what would Iris do then – poor thing.

    Sarkozy has certainly blown away all chance of us using the Euro in the near future.

  • Garibaldy


    It’s about the future of how the EU works, of which the UK is a member, and which has contributed heavily to the economic development of NI, especially since the peace process began. I suspect however you can see how it affects NI and are just being awkward for the sake of it.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘What has this got to do with Northern Ireland?’

    Willow how come you didn’t post this on Pete’s Mars thread? The games up Willow me ‘aul flower, your narrow mindset is there for all to see. Well done mo chara !

  • Dave

    “We’re a Europe of 27”.

    At least he can count. It’s just a shame that his grasp of simple addition doesn’t extend to more complex calculations such as being “a Europe of 27” democracies wherein all outcomes of 27 separate processes must be identical before an outcome that must be identical to be implemented can be deemed to be identical. For more information, Mr Sarkozy, see the EU’s Unanimity Rule and’s explanation of the word “democracy.” Anyway, shouldn’t those who have ambitions to be part of a ruling elite have some sort of elevated ability worthy of the status rather than being low-rent political hacks with no achievement outside of hustle politics?

  • culligan

    let’s spell it out willow.

    a lot of people in NI regard Ireland as their nation and wish to be part of it going forward.

    They take more than a passing interest in it’s affairs.

    They visit there, have relations there, shop there, work there and often look at it out their window.

    Or hadn’t you noticed?

  • picador

    Croatia is next in line to join the EU. One way out of the Lisbon debacle that has been mooted is a new accession treaty. I have absolutely no idea how this would work and I mention it largely so I can discuss tonight’s big development, the arrest in Serbia of Radovan Karadzic. The new Serbian government wants to be join the EU as well and this long-awaited request could be part of the quid pro quo (though Ratko Mladic remains on the run). I wouldn’t like to think that Irish obduracy will prevent the expansion of the EU into the western Balkans.

  • RepublicanStones

    Also Willow, as im from the north of Ireland, but work in the south, I actually voted in this referendum, so i think it perfectly relevant.

  • Mick Fealty


    I’ve thought about changing the subtitle many times. But since Northern Ireland is the relative focus for the blog, I cannot see why it should change?

    I blog about all manner of stuff that’s not to do with Northern Ireland. My intermittent commentary on new media and its relationship with journalism doesn’t easily fit with the title.

    In fact I would love to beef up the southern content of the blog, in the way that Brian Walker has undoubtedly beefed up the British end of the blog (again, some of his output relates directly to Northern Ireland, some doesn’t).

    My view is that if the people writing for the blog see value in a given story, they should go for it, whether it be the US presidential election, Irish troops in Chad or Afghanistan, or the crisis in Zim.

    If Northern Ireland has a single unifying fault, it is that we invest too much in our own narrow definitions of public affairs and take too little interest in the world around us. For that reason I have never believed that the content link with Northern Ireland does not always have to be obvious, explicit or even existent.

    One last point. On principle, I am against ‘substractionality’ and for ‘additionality’. So for the purposes of the blog, that city in the north west of Northern Ireland is called Derry AND Londonderry. We blog about the affairs of Banbridge District Council AND we do Space stories (rather well as it happens).

    But, for now at least, so long as we are mostly talking about Northern Ireland, the descriptor at the top of the blog stays.

  • sammaguire

    “This web site is subtitled “Notes on Northern Ireland politics and culture” … I ask genuinely, what has this visit got to do with NI?”

    Posted by willowfield on Jul 21, 2008 @ 07:53 PM

    Had to laugh at this. Why didn’t Willowfield make a similar complaint on the Mars thread a few days ago?? Martians everywhere will no doubt welcome this new found tolerance!

  • picador


    Because Mars does not yet have a territorial claim on our beloved wee province. 😉

    On a separate note, if Sarko was trying to soften up the Irish electorate he might have thought to bring Ms Bruni with him (as long as she promised not to sing).

  • Oilifear

    “… being ‘a Europe of 27’ democracies wherein all outcomes of 27 separate processes must be identical before an outcome that must be identical to be implemented can be deemed to be identical.”

    … good grief! I see now why people thought Lisbon was complicated!


    “What has this got to do with Northern Ireland?”

    From a quick run through of the ‘front page’ of the site, out of 25 posts, 13 were on topics not narrowly about “Northern Ireland politics and culture”. Of those, 2 dealt with topics relating narrowly to the Republic of Ireland.

    AsRepublicanStones (someone that I have never found myself agreeing with before) points out, if you don’t have an issue with space exploration being being a topic of discussion, but find the future of the European Union and the affairs of a neighbouring state too “alien”, the game really is up.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘AsRepublicanStones (someone that I have never found myself agreeing with before)…’

    Fond of being wrong then Oilifear…i jest, i jest !

  • Dave

    Mick, a few days ago my browser showed your favicon changed to a Union Jack flag. I stared at this for a few moments wondering why you show a British flag when there was a substantial section of your readership that would not embrace it, and would be alienated by it, and when your site had earned a reputation for impartiality, with that being a part of its ethos. Then I thought of how many nationalist commenters you would lose as a result of the shift to non-neutral ground, and if I should stop posting in solidarity with them or if, indeed, if would even matter since Ulster is British after all (according to the GFA). I felt a bit let down, actually. Then I clicked to website for self-builders and noticed that it was showing the favicon for Google! False alarm due to a faulty browser!

  • Oilifear

    RepublicanStones, it’s not that I don’t enjoy your posts, or find them any less insightful that others’, it’s just that I don’t agree with them.

    “i jest, i jest !”

    … and indeed that is one of the qualities I enjoy most about your contributions 🙂

  • heck

    I could’nt resist this now that the Mars ball is on the field.

    Do Martian’s have to put up with drunken, uneducated, religious bigots walking their streets every (martian!!) year

  • willowfield

    Thanks for the explanation, Mick.

  • RepublicanStones

    Well Willow, is part of Mars owned by Britain or what?