Bruce Arnold: Any new party would have to be Eurosceptic to gain real support
The Government, from tomorrow, faces the substantial challenge of assuming the presidency of Europe for a six-month period. It's a challenge that will weigh heavily on its formal duties and impinge significantly on other domestic objectives, including new laws to deal with abortion.
There is no real benefit in the task. Power has been taken from the presidency by the unelected bureaucrats and the major powers, leaving what is only a titular event. Changed times are emphasised by the fact that we celebrate better past times tomorrow – the 40th anniversary of Ireland joining Europe.
We engage with a Europe that evokes increasingly mixed feelings. Our lives are governed by it, yet democratic control of it is extremely limited. It is our turn for a job uncharged with resolving central issues. Nevertheless, if the Taoiseach comes out at the end of the six-month period with some resolution of our biggest financial burden it will be no mean achievement.