Amusing analysis from the Irish Sunday Independent:
After the Lisbon Treaty was voted down, by the only electorate in Europe allowed vote on it, Mr Sarkozy announced he was coming over to talk to us. It's like when a schoolteacher (Brian Cowen) loses control of the class (us) and the headmaster (Big Bad Sarkozy) comes stomping down the corridor, eyes ablaze beneath his fearsome brow.
Mr Cowen, already in flitters after such a comprehensive referendum defeat, put a brave face on it. His glassy smile hid whatever obscenities he might be muttering. Bloody hell -- this is all I need, a bollocking from Mr Bruni.
In a functioning democracy, after a high turnout and a decisive rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, Mr Cowen had a democratic duty. That duty was to go to Brussels, to meet his fellow leaders and represent the views of his electorate. That involved saying something like the following.
"Sorry lads, the Irish voted down the Lisbon Treaty. As you know, that was not my wish, but it's now the official position of my country and as a democrat I'll represent that position with total commitment. Under EU rules, the Lisbon Treaty is now dead."
When ignorant gobshites raised the threat of a "two-speed Europe", it was Cowen's duty to stalwartly defend the unity and principles of the EU. When they insinuated we would be "punished", or somehow removed from the EU, it was his duty to demand an immediate retraction of the threat and an apology.
Anything less was a betrayal of his public duty -- and a betrayal of the supposed principles of the EU project itself.