If the latest opinion polls are accurate, there is a real possibility that Irish voters will reject the European Union's Treaty of Lisbon this week. A No vote would be a political bombshell in Brussels and would threaten to set the whole EU reform debate back to first base.
It seems extraordinary that the Irish could be so apparently ungrateful. Their country has reaped greater benefits from its 35 years of EU participation than any other member state, with the possible exception of Spain. It is not only a question of Dublin's net budget receipts of about €40bn from Brussels. A transformation in national pride has come from belonging to the Union. Ireland is no longer a country of net emigration. The Celtic Tiger is one of Europe's great success stories.