French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Dublin for potentially difficult talks with his Irish counterpart Brian Cowen. Sarkozy’s visit is an attempt to try and understand why Ireland voted No to the EU reform treaty in June.
And Mr Sarkozy denied claims that he had said Ireland would have to hold a second referendum: ‘I never said that Ireland should have a new referendum. I have said that at one time or another Ireland should be allowed to give their opinion. I haven’t spoken of a referendum, and I have not asked the question and I am not interfering in the Irish political debate.
I have explained to the Prime Minister and other partners that we will see at the European elections in June 2009 and we should know at this moment and a few months in before if we will be organised around Nice or Lisbon treaty’.
Today’s talks came amid protests in the capital with Several hundred anti-treaty protesters rallying outside government buildings in Dublin. Protests also included Irish fishermen and farmers who took to the streets to protest over European quota restrictions and the effects they’ll have.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen has called for Patience and Understanding from EU partners over Ireland’s No vote.