Friday 27 April 2018

Irish MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan claims vote in favour of hard Border was an 'error'

MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke
MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan voted in tandem with far-right eurosceptics such as Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen on the issue of the Border with Northern Ireland.

But the MEP then requested to the EU authorities that his vote be changed, saying that it was cast "in error".

All other Irish MEPs voted in favour of a resolution that strongly rejected a hard Border for the North.

The resolution stated that the parliament "strongly believes that it is the responsibility of the UK government to provide a unique, effective and workable solution that prevents a 'hardening' of the Border" and "ensures full compliance with the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts".

MEPs such as Mr Farage and Ms Le Pen - who are seen as the most far-right politicians in Europe - opposed the motion, along with Mr Flanagan.

But Mr Flanagan then requested to the EU authorities that his vote be changed, saying it was cast "in error".

It is understood that Mr Flanagan was strongly criticised over his vote by the Border Communities Against Brexit group.

The Irish Independent sent a query to Mr Flanagan on Saturday asking why he voted in this manner.

The Midlands-North West MEP responded: "An error in following my voting list.

"Haven't heard from you since we had to run you from our dinner table in the Oireachtas restaurant."

This journalist has never been in the Oireachtas members' restaurant.

After sending the response, Mr Flanagan tweeted that this newspaper should be "careful what ye write".

It is understood that Mr Flanagan had become engaged in testy exchanges with the Border Communities Against Brexit group after it criticised him for voting against the resolution.

A meeting was then scheduled between the MEP and the group for last Thursday.

Sources close to the group say they were furious with Mr Flanagan.

However, Mr Flanagan later said that it was an "error".

Resolution

The resolution itself - which passed through parliament - was issued in response to the serious concerns about the return of a hard Border.

It stated that the parliament "stresses that the unique position and special circumstances confronting the island of Ireland must be addressed in the withdrawal agreement".

It also said that this must be done "in a manner fully consistent with the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, the agreed areas of co-operation, and with European Union law in order to ensure the continuity and stability of the Northern Ireland peace process".

Irish Independent

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