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The short-term aim of Libertas is to run candidates in next summer's election for the European Parliament. A total of 785 seats will be up for grabs. Ganley is hoping to raise €75 million (about £70 million) for the campaign and says he has support so far in Poland, Britain, the Czech Republic, Austria, Sweden, France and Holland. Ganley himself may stand in Ireland North West, which includes his native Galway.

He has set himself a daunting task but it is clear that Europe's ruling elites, as well as Ireland's, feel deeply threatened by him. Their attacks are a sign of their insecurity and extreme intolerance of anyone and anything that comes from outside the very narrow and all-too-cosy consensus of EU politics. They are reacting as a cartel would when an interloper threatens their power. For example, ever since the appearance of Libertas, critics, led by the Irish Times, have incessantly been asking about the source of its funding. Funding to political organisations is now so strict in Ireland that it locks in the advantage of the established parties - the cartel - and enhances the influence of the media because it becomes harder than ever to bypass them by spending money to reach voters directly.

Ganley admits to loaning Libertas €200,000 out of the €1 million or so it spent in the Lisbon campaign. No other organisation has had its funding questioned anything like as zealously.

There is also a rule during referendum campaigns in Ireland that both sides in the debate must be given equal broadcasting time. This, again, is thanks to the Irish Constitution. Politicians are examining ways to undermine this requirement.

In addition, every effort is being made to demonise Ganley. There was the aforementioned documentary on RTE. German TV has also attacked him. He has been accused of having CIA links by such luminaries as MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit, aka "Danny the Red" of 1968 fame. He has been called a "neocon", which is, of course, the functional equivalent these days of calling someone a Nazi.

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