JUST as things were beginning to look good for the Yes side, along came Charlie.
Politicians advocating a Yes to Lisbon buried their heads in their hands when they heard our EU commissioner was being unmuzzled and entering the campaign which many feel he messed up last time by declaring no “sane or sensible” person would ever read the treaty.
But when Charlie McCreevy was allowed back on the Lisbon beat yesterday it was clear he had put his own sanity aside to join those he had previously dismissed as having the time for “sitting down and spending hours reading sections about subsections referring to articles about sub-articles”.
He told journalists of his change of heart before making a speech about Lisbon to a group of solicitors in Dublin’s Conrad Hotel.
“I stay up nightly, I don’t go to bed at all for the last six months reading the Lisbon Treaty — as I know everyone in the country is so doing,” he said.
The teller of painful truths was blamed across Europe for contributing to a No vote in last year’s referendum when he said: “I’d predict that there won’t be 250 people in the whole of the 4.2 million population of Ireland that have read the treaty cover to cover.
“I further predict that there is not 10 per cent of that 250 that will understand every section and subsection.”
But such is the extent of his interest in Lisbon now, he is willing to put his marriage on the line for it.
“My wife is very upset with me because I haven’t spoken to her for months because I’ve been in bed, reading this treaty all night,” he said.
McCreevy has never made a secret of his scepticism about some aspects of the EU and admitted once again yesterday that he was “never misty eyed about Brussels”.
His strongest defence of the treaty to date comes just a month ahead of the expiration of his term in the commission, which will leave him looking for a job. And while he was in such an open, honest mood yesterday, he admitted: “I’m going to become a journalist”.
And how will he be remembered in Brussels? “Same as I have been here, with love and affection,” he said.
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