We have have some of the worst and corrupt politicians in Europe and they really outdid themselves this time.
Most of political establishment is corrupt. Europe and the US should serve as an example to countries from other continents. Unfortunately this is not the case, our politicians rather show them how to cheat, how to make good propaganda.
It is becoming more and more obvious that the establishment, including the political and business classes as well as themainstream media, are not representative of the people whom they are supposed to represent.
You are right, especially attitude of media outlets is a big disappointment. Journalists are supposed to look at hands of politicians and control their moves. Sadly in western world mainstream media abandoned this role. They rather seems to be on payroll of political elites, instead to watch on their hands, they justify their misbehavior on regular basis. Look at articles in European media just after people of Ireland rejected constitution. Journalists shamelessly advise politicians to ignore this referendum. I read for example article in "Le Figaro" and I could not stand author's hypocrisy. The guy know very well that French voters rejected this treaty earlier but this little fact don't bother him too much. In the same time media of course refuse to provide arguments of anti-EU camp to public opinion.
Therefore, while the veneer of democracy exists, the reality is that most people are being led in directions they are increasingly unsure of. I would say tis applies to all aspects of life and not just with regard to the EU. The rejection of this Treaty by Ireland, France and the Netherlands is a clear indication of this fact.
I don't consider so called "representative democracy" to be true democracy. Thus I think that only democratic country is Switzerland. Over there people decide about detailed issues on regular basis, while in other countries referendums are very rare. Even if politician mercifully allow people to vote, they don't feel to be obligated to respect their will as we clearly see. Thus many people may find participation in any elections to be waste of time.
Beside of that if European establishment will assure their opponents that this is impossible to remove them from their posts using democratic procedures, they may find themselves morally justified to try some other ways...
My concern for Ireland, however, is that in the world of realpolitik, we could now find ourselves isolated from the rest of Europe.
I don't think so. Beside of that remember that Europe is just shi*ty Asian peninsula. You have whole world to trade and do business with. Just the country should be competitive, while this depends only from the Irish themselves.