Gavan calls on Irish government to support MEP Representation for the North post-Brexit
Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has called on Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to back proposals by the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt MEP who suggested that Citizens in the North of Ireland should have EU Parliamentary Representation Post-Brexit.
Mr Verhofstadt was speaking to a parliamentary committee that is considering how to redistribute the seats Britain will be vacating post-Brexit, and suggested an increased number of seats for Ireland to facilitate the representation of Irish citizens in the North.
Senator Gavan said:
“I support the suggestion put forward by the European Parliaments Brexit negotiator that citizens in the North of Ireland should have representation at EU level. The North voted in a majority to stay in the EU and this is just one way in which we can respect that vote.
“Indeed, Sinn Féin in our recent policy paper ‘Securing Special Status for the North within the EU’, explicitly state that the north of Ireland should continue to have political representation at EU level.
“I am calling on Minister Simon Coveney to respond positively to this suggestion, and this is something which I believe must be made clear sooner rather than later. The European Parliament is of the opinion that we are against the idea of voting rights for the North right now – which I don’t believe is the case.
“There is far too much ambiguity regarding our Governments position on a number of issues relating to Brexit, and Minister Coveney needs to step up.
“There should be potential here for a cross-party consensus on the matter to ensure EU parliamentary representation for citizens in the North. It is clear there is support from both Mr Verhofstadt and the Committee for such a plan. The Government needs to provide clarity on their position as a matter of urgency.”