Anyone visiting the Irish capital this week will be immediately struck by the proliferation of campaign posters touting candidates and parties taking part in both the local and European elections on 5 June. In marked contrast to the UK, fixated upon the expenses trauma and looking right ahead to the next general election, Irish media and society are abuzz with election talk. The visibility and seriousness of campaigning for local councils and especially the European parliament struck me upon visiting Dublin this week. Rather than overlooking or even lambasting the European parliament, the Irish public seem to have fully grasped the importance of broad participation in the European elections. The economy’s meteoric rise during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ years, and its subsequent nose-dive in the global recession, has convinced Irish society of the huge impact European issues can have on everyday life. Smaller countries and economies like Ireland have the most to gain and lose from participation in Europe, a factor that probably plays a large role in their comparatively strong interest in the upcoming poll. Their pivotal role in deciding the Lisbon Treaty’s fate can’t hurt, either.