Tuesday 17 September 2019

50,000 British living here set to lose vote in Euro election, says Mitchell

Gay Mitchell
Gay Mitchell
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Former MEP Gay Mitchell has warned that more than 50,000 British citizens living in Ireland are set to lose the right to vote in the European elections here following Brexit.

Reciprocal voting arrangements for Irish and British citizens allow them to vote in general, local and European elections in each other's countries.

However, the former Fine Gael MEP has warned British citizens living here will lose the right to vote for MEPs after the UK leaves the EU.

The next European Parliament election will be in May, less than two months after Brexit is due to happen at the end of March.

He said they would continue to be entitled to vote in general and local elections due to the existing agreement between the two jurisdictions.

Mr Mitchell suggested there may need to be a new category of voter created for British citizens in Ireland.

He said: "That may even require new legislation and scrapping existing registers."

The Department of Housing and Local Government has responsibility for elections and it said the register would not have to be redrawn regardless of any possible changes to British citizens' voting rights.

However, a spokesperson could not say if they will be able to vote in European elections after Brexit, saying: "No decision has been taken on this yet."

A statement added that legislation in relation to European Parliament elections is being drafted, including making any amendments that may be necessary for the holding of next year's vote.

The spokesperson confirmed that British citizens - there are almost 54,000 on the current register - will still be able to vote in general and local elections due to the reciprocal voting arrangements under the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK.

Irish Independent

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