Europe

MEP says Irish in UK should be able to elect MEPs post Brexit

Brian Hayes Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Brian Hayes proposed that Irish citizens, living in the UK should have the right to vote in European elections in Ireland

A Fine Gael MEP has proposed that Irish citizens living in the UK should be given the right to vote in European Parliament elections after Brexit.

Irish electoral law currently does not allow non-resident nationals to vote in their "home" EU elections.

However Irish citizens in the UK can register to vote in European elections.

Brian Hayes said: "When the UK leaves the EU, Irish citizens will automatically lose their right to vote in EU elections.

"In contrast French, Dutch, Spanish and other nationalities residing in the UK will be eligible to vote in their home country."

He is proposing that Irish citizens living in any part of the UK have the right to vote in European elections in Ireland, provided that they were "ordinarily resident" in the Republic of Ireland within the last 10 years.

Northern Ireland people 'could elect Irish MEPs'

He said the Irish government could also extend the right to vote in European Parliament elections to the 50,000 UK citizens registered to vote in Ireland.

His proposal does not engage with the issue of Irish citizens who are normally resident in Northern Ireland.

The European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, has suggested those citizens could elect MEPs in the Republic of Ireland.

He said those with Irish passports in Northern Ireland should still have a vote and it will entitle them to remain EU citizens.

Mr Verhofstadt explained that it could be done by increasing the number of European parliamentary seats in the Republic of Ireland.

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