Brexit could mean two extra MEPs for Ireland

State could be allotted more seats after Britain leaves EU, says Mairéad McGuinness

Mairéad McGuinness: Ireland has 11 seats in the European Parliament, which could be increased to 13 after Brexit is completed in 2019. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Mairéad McGuinness: Ireland has 11 seats in the European Parliament, which could be increased to 13 after Brexit is completed in 2019. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Ireland could have an additional two MEPs after Britain leaves the EU, according to the European Parliament’s vice-president, Mairéad McGuinness of Fine Gael.

She said the State could be allotted two additional seats in the parliament in a post-Brexit scenario, bringing the total from 11 to 13.

She was talking ahead of debate in Strasbourg on a proposal to deal with the 73 UK seats in the event of Brexit.

The Constitutional Affairs Committee of the parliament has discussed a proposal to reduce the overall number of 751 members if Brexit occurs. However, it also puts forward a proposal that certain states, including Ireland, be allocated additional seats.

Such changes would only come into force after Brexit is legally completed, which would mean the number of seats in the State would remain at 11 for the next EU parliamentary elections in 2019.

Mechanism

However, Ms McGuinness said the proposal involved a mechanism to allow the additional MEPs to join parliament during the term (immediately after Brexit), and not have to wait until after the 2024 election.

“The European elections of 2019 would elect the same number of MEPs in each country as there are today, but with a mechanism put in place to allow the additional MEPs, where applicable, to join later in the parliamentary term,” she said.

“Brexit means it is not possible to implement a permanent solution to the reallocation of European Parliament seats right away. What’s proposed allows for an interim solution with a permanent solution in place for the 2024 elections.”

She said the total number of MEPs would be reduced to 699 MEPs plus the president (700 elected MEPs in total).

The report is subject to review and amendments by MEPs over the next three weeks before coming before the parliament for a plenary vote at a later stage. It will also be subject to change by the European Council.