For reasons that I'm still trying to understand, but which are real and cannot be written off, there has been a significant growth in eurosceptic sentiment in Ireland. But wait, I don't mean that euroscepticism is suddenly widespread and deep. Nor that it was the key factor in the recent outcome. No, but it has expanded significantly.
The bulk of the country is still pretty much in favour of the European Union (minus Lisbon of course!). A eurobarometer survey in January showed that 87% of people thought Ireland had benefitted for EU membership. Pretty high. Yet underneath, and beside all this, is a growing constituency of doubt. At least doubt about the future of Europe.
That such overwhelming numbers are still positively disposed to the EU explains why the small but growing group of eurosceptics still couch their attitudes in pro-European tones. "I'm pro-Europe, but". It would still be counter productive, they calculate, to be an all out sceptic. But sceptics they are.
I have heard No campaigners question how much Ireland benefitted from membership. A kind of 'what about the fish' argument. Or 'what about the water charges'. Or, even more obviously eurosceptic, 'we can do most of these things better ourselves'.
But this kind of disguised euroscepticism is best embodied by the man of the hour, Declan Ganley. Ganley tells us he is not against Europe and not even against European integration. It's just that he wants a more democratic Union. But then according to today's Irish Times, Ganley wrote in an article for a US think tank a few years ago in which he "argued against the development of the European Union "in contradistinction" to the US.
(Funny too that the man whose platform was making the Union more transparent has refused to tell us where the money came from that funded his extravagant campaign. Oh yes, he'll comply with the law, which is so weak that it means this - we shall never know)
But look. Ganley's attacks on Lisbon though often made calmly contained a latent hostility that showed where the heart was when the tongue said "I'm pro-Europe but". Perhaps the victory of the No side gave Ganley the boost he needed to throw off his mask, I don't know. But his rush to join a group of virulent eurosceptics at Westminster in a mutual wankfest just after the vote makes it clear enough.