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The president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, wants an investigation into "reports" that Ganley has the backing of those wicked American neocons. This could damage his business interests as well as his political credibility.

The Lisbon Treaty will be back before the Irish people by next October. Europe never takes "No" for an answer. Ganley, therefore, must be reduced to ash and dust before then.

What becomes of Declan Ganley remains to be seen. Perhaps he will continue to defy the odds. Perhaps he and Libertas will do well in the coming elections and become a permanent feature on the political landscape with their insistence that the EU play by its own rules and that it become more democratically accountable. Or perhaps he will fade back into obscurity.

No matter what happens, however, he will have taught us two very important lessons. The first is that a newcomer with good timing and plenty of energy can still challenge the status quo. The second is that the EU treats its dissidents far more ruthlessly than a democratic enterprise should.

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