There once was a man who had a vision. He loved his country, but was worried about the direction it was going in. He had to do something about it. He was a wealthy businessman, a family man, a man who had a full, busy life, but he couldn't ignore the clarion call of his country.
So he made a stand. His battlefield was the Lisbon treaty, which he said was undemocratic. Through the force of his argument, he defeated the whole establishment by leading the people to reject the treaty.
He came to be regarded as a saviour by legions of EU citizens. He spawned a pan-European movement, dedicated to reforming the EU and taking democracy back to the people. In the 2009 European elections, his party swept the boards from Cracow to Carndonagh. The rest is history that has yet to be written, but Declan Ganley presumably lived happily ever after.
Libertas, the story so far and beyond, might thus be told. An alternative version might be as follows: Declan Ganley, a very wealthy man, wanted to make a mark on political life. He spent a fortune on the Lisbon campaign, for which he has never fully accounted. His known support is negligible. He ended up a winner because his was only one of a whole range of effective campaigns run by various interests on the No side.
He got carried away with the whiff of power, and shovelled more money into establishing himself across Europe. His Libertas flag attracted an assorted group of misfits, malcontents, some from the far right. It put up 300 candidates, and won not a single seat. Except, perhaps, one in Ireland, which was captured by Ganley himself, by capitalising on his charisma and Fianna Fáil's woes.
Libertas is Ganley, and Ganley is Libertas. If Declan were to pack it all in and join an enclosed order of monks tomorrow, Libertas would follow him into hibernation. And said religious order would suddenly find that it had won the lotto.
The Lisbon campaign certainly seems to have gone to his head. On TV3's Tonight with Vincent Browne last week, he declared that Libertas was: "a strong voice that has a proven track record of taking on the cartel in Brussels".
Viewers might have been left with the impression that Ganley had been the chief architect of the defeat of Lisbon.
In reality, he was one element in a broad coalition that included farmers, left-wing political parties, quasi-religious groups, and a large section of disaffected voters.
The money Ganley put into the campaign had an impact. He was an articulate advocate of the No side. But Lisbon wasn't the first EU treaty to fall. Nice I was also defeated in 2001, at a time when Ganley was a high-profile Fianna Fáil supporter.
There is little about Libertas that suggests it represents a coherent set of policies designed to shake up the political system. On its website, there is a notice proclaiming: "The Libertas programme for a better Europe will be published on this site in the coming weeks." The European elections begin in two weeks and four days, and the party claiming to be the only pan-continent outfit has not yet published a coherent policy document.
The site does list core principles, which include full disclosure of expenses, accountability, a lean EU, saving money and calling for a referendum in every member state on any constitution.
The saving money principle says: "€10bn to be identified in savings by the commission in the next year." This is stated as being a principle, rather than a policy objective. Where did the figure of €10bn come from? Why not 20 or 30?
Then, there is the matter of what are referred to as "family values". During the referendum, Libertas steered clear of the quasi-religious stuff. Ganley's arguments were based entirely on what he perceived as a democratic deficit.
Now, on the party website, he states: "Europe needs to reaffirm its commitment to freedom, family, faith." He has also taken to questioning rival candidates on their position on euthanasia.
Last week, the Libertas candidate in Ireland East, Raymond O'Malley, broached the immigration issue. He wants Ireland's borders closed to citizens of the 10 accession states to the EU. That should be worth a few votes, but it fails to acknowledge that Ireland is now a basket case, from which eastern Europeans are fleeing rather than entering.
One of the few constituencies which does pay attention to EU policy is the farmers. Not so long ago, Ganley was describing the Common Agricultural Policy as a "weapon of mass destruction". O'Malley is a former farmers' leader. He recently said that Ganley had been misunderstood.
"When Declan said that about CAP, the single farm payment hadn't even been introduced. There isn't a farm in Ireland making money and, until we reform CAP, farmers will have to rely on these payments," he said. Again, it's difficult to know where the swash buckling free marketer Ganley stands on a whole industry existing on subsidies.
What Ganley lacks in coherent policy, he makes up for in organisation. He has set up offices in Ireland, the UK and Brussels, and has managed to attract hundreds of candidates to his banner, whatever their motivation or backgrounds.
The other issue surrounding Ganley is funding. After failing to respond to the Standards in Public Office Commission requests for details of how he funded Lisbon, he finally produced relevant information about a "loan" he gave to Libertas of €200,000. SIPO is due to report on that in late June.
He has never identified the source of the rest of the funding, amounting to anywhere between €600,000 and €1.1m, according to Libertas's own estimates. He has claimed that "the people of Ireland funded our campaign", but there is not a scintilla of evidence to back up the claim.
The spending limit for candidates in Ireland's Euro elections is €230,000. Libertas is now registered as a political party, rather than a third party, as it was in the referendum. It will have to reveal the source of all donations over €5,000, but don't hold your breath for any great revelations. Ganley continues to insist the party is funded by an avalanche of small donations from ordinary people, but nowhere does this compulsion to fund an obscure party manifest itself.
The party will stand or fall on this election. In Dublin, Caroline Simons has made little impact and she has a tough field to contend with. A similar situation prevails in Ireland East, where O'Malley is a candidate.
In Ganley's North West, Fianna Fáil is in disarray. Ganley is the only serious contender who hails from the south of the constituency.
He could get elected at the expense of Marian Harkin, or, if the soldiers of destiny really implode, may be in line for their seat.
Even if he does win, he will need a fair wind from the east to ensure that Libertas has any relevance going into the future.