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Irish government must protect people's rights from Brexit assault - Anderson

9 October, 2018 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said Brexit is an attack on the rights of people in the north of Ireland and called on the Irish government to step up and protect the rights of citizens. 

Speaking at a GUE/NGL conference on Brexit she hosted in London's Westminster Central Hall this morning, Martina Anderson said:

"With seven days to go to the crucial October EU council meeting, the British government continues to negotiate with itself rather than the EU, as it has been doing for the last two years.

"The EU has made it clear that if they do not see ‘full progress’ ahead of the summit then they will not set a date for a special November Council and we will have taken another large step towards a no deal outcome.

"In recent days the British government have been said it will be bring forward their version of the backstop but unless it delivers exactly the same outcome as the current EU proposal or if it tries to insert any form of DUP veto into the governance of it, then it will be totally unacceptable to the people of Ireland and I would expect the Irish government to make that explicitly clear.

"Brexit represents an assault on the rights of the people of the North. As Irish citizens we will remain EU citizens and should, as the draft protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement states, continue to enjoy, exercise and have access to rights, opportunities and benefits that come with EU citizenship. But that does not guarantee our rights. 

"The first right that could lose after March 29th 2019 is our our right to vote and stand in EU elections and be represented in the EU institutions.

"This right could be protected if the Irish government allocate the two additional MEP seats that they have been given  to the north. 

"We have received legal advice on this showing that this is both legally possible and that no constitutional barriers exist to it.

"We are calling on the Irish Government and the Taoiseach in particular to stand by their public commitment that the people of the north will never be left behind again and to protect our democratic rights."

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