13 June 2018
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has responded to the remarks by Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly, where he suggested it was ”worth exploring” the possibility of allocating the two extra seats in the European Parliament the Republic of Ireland will gain post-Brexit to Northern Ireland.
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
Mrs Dodds said,
“Irrespective of how regions voted in the UK referendum, the nation voted to leave the EU. The “respect for the Good Friday Agreement in all it’s parts” that many Members have enthusiastically proclaimed since the UK’s referendum includes respect for the principle of consent – that Northern Ireland remains undeniably and solely subject to the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. We will leave the EU at the same time as the rest of our United Kingdom.
Individuals from Northern Ireland can of course claim an Irish passport, and maintain EU citizenship as a result. However, those rights sit with the individual, and post-Brexit they do not confer any further rights than is appropriate to any EU citizen resident within a third country. EU treaties do not entitle non-residents to voting rights in European elections.
These two extra seats would be allocated to the Republic of Ireland as a member state of the EU. They therefore ought to be allocated under the system and jurisdiction of the Member State to represent the people within that state.
Significantly, any attempt by an Irish Government to allow for the election of representatives to speak on behalf of Northern Ireland would renege upon commitments given as part of the Northern Ireland peace process. In particular it would effectively reverse the decision of the Irish people to rightly give up the false claim to jurisdiction over UK territory that had previously made up parts 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution
Further, elected representatives from one state claiming to speak on behalf of the territory of another would set a dangerous precedent for other Member States with regions home to significant minorities who associate themselves culturally or ethnically with another nation. ”