Irish government must defend democratic rights of citizens in the north - Anderson
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said the Irish government must act to protect the fundamental democratic right of people in the north of Ireland to direct representation in the European Parliament.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Martina Anderson said:
"It is a fundamental right that people should be able to directly elect a representative to the European Parliament.
"We were told in the communique agreed between the EU and the British government in December that Irish citizens in the north will continue to enjoy rights as EU citizens where they live. That needs to include the right to direct representation in the European Parliament.
"Today's proposal on the reallocation of European Parliament seats post-Brexit falls short of what is required.
"It would result in the number of Irish seats in the European Parliament being reduced from 14 to 13.
"While we were able to secure concrete references to the Good Friday Agreement included as amendments, this report fell short of endorsing seats for the north and additional seats for the island as a whole.
"The suggestion for the creation of trans-national lists of MEPs, rather than reallocating the British seats to other member states also raises serious concerns about the democratic accountability of MEPs and is not something we could support and I'm pleased it was rejected by the Parliament.
"Additional seats cannot be allocated until we know the state of play and designated special status is secured for the north.
"The future composition of the European Parliament will now go to the European Council and the Taoiseach needs to act, as he has pledged to do, in the interests of all Irish citizens and stand up for their fundamental democratic rights.
"For too long in the past democratic rights were denied to many in the north. That cannot be allowed to be compounded by Brexit."