Sarkozy ends Dublin visit

Wednesday 16 September 2009 17.26
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Cowen & Sarkozy - Dublin news conference
Cowen & Sarkozy - Dublin news conference
Dublin - Protest over Lisbon comments
Dublin - Protest over Lisbon comments
Government Buildings - High security for brief visit
Government Buildings - High security for brief visit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is returning home after meeting politicians and lobby groups for and against the Lisbon Treaty in Dublin.

At a joint news conference with Mr Cowen at Government Buildings, Mr Sarkozy said there was 'no magic wand available' to resolve the Lisbon impasse.

He also denied saying that Ireland should hold a second referendum on the Treaty.

He was greeted by Taoiseach Brian Cowen at Government Buildings this afternoon and met the two main opposition leaders, Fine Gael's Enda Kenny and Labour's Eamon Gilmore.

A protestor was led away by gardaí after throwing two eggs in the direction of President Sarkozy.

The French President's visit was extended, and he held round table talks at the French Embassy with groups who opposed and supported the Lisbon Treaty.

The Irish Farmers' Association has shown support for Mr Sarkozy by painting tractors in the French colours and bringing them to the capital, while more than 200 fishermen are protesting about the plight of their industry by handing out free fish on Dublin's O'Connell Bridge.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said there can be no re-run of the Lisbon Treaty Referendum and a new deal must be negotiated.

Mr Adams, who was due to meet Mr Sarkozy later today, also said the French President's visit provides an opportunity for the Irish Government to set out the need for a new treaty in clear and unambiguous terms.

Meanwhile, the Campaign Against The EU Constitution told a news conference this morning that the treaty is dead and said it would not accept deals or buy-offs to revive it.

The group is made up of 15 members including the Socialist Party and the Peace and Neutrality Alliance.

Referendum comment

Mr Sarkozy angered the Government last week by suggesting it would have to hold a second Lisbon referendum.

He later alienated pro-Lisbon opposition parties with the planned arrangements for today's discussions.

Government officials accompanying Mr Cowen on his visit to New York last week were said to be appalled to hear of President Sarkozy's comments when they landed in the US.

Fine Gael and Labour also discovered that they were to be given equal status with groups such as Libertas and the People Before Profit Alliance in talks proposed for the French ambassador's residence.

Government sources insisted last night that they were equally dismayed, and had lobbied for revised arrangements which would see leaders Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore granted their own audiences with the French President in Government Buildings ahead of the Ailesbury Road discussions.

Last night Fine Gael said it had agreed to the new plan; Labour was still finalising arrangements; and Sinn Féin said it had reluctantly agreed to meet Mr Sarkozy along with a range of others at the residence.

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