Call for Irish in Britain to have vote in EU elections after Brexit
Brian Hayes says Government could change electoral law without holding referendum
Brian Hayes: “Ireland could extend the right to vote in European Parliament elections to the 50,000 UK citizens registered to vote in Ireland”
Irish citizens in Britain should be allowed to vote in European Parliament elections after Brexit, Dublin MEP Brian Hayes has told a meeting in London.
Mr Hayes said anyone living in Britain who had been on the Irish electoral register during the previous 10 years should be able to vote in the Irish constituency where they last lived.
“Over 331,000 Irish citizens live in Britain. Not only are they Irish citizens, they are also EU citizens. Currently they can vote in European Parliament elections while living in Britain. That is going to change because of Brexit, and I believe their right to vote should be upheld.”
Ireland is one of only four EU states which does not allow their citizens living in other countries to vote in EU elections at home.
Mr Hayes, a Fine Gael MEP, said the Government could change the electoral law without holding a referendum to allow Irish citizens in Britain to vote by postal ballot or at polling stations set up for the election.
“Conditions for the eligibility to vote in European elections are governed by national law. Ireland is, therefore, able to extend voting rights to Irish citizens in the UK. No referendum is required.
“Similarly, Ireland could extend the right to vote in European Parliament elections to the 50,000 UK citizens registered to vote in Ireland. I have previously called on the Government to examine this so as to uphold the rights of UK citizens living in Ireland, effectively recognising UK citizens living in the European Union.”