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Two MEPs elected in South and Dublin constituencies won't be able to take their seats until the UK has left

Ireland was allotted the additional two seats as part of the redistribution of seats due to Brexit.

Image: AP/PA Images

THE LAST TWO Irish European election candidates elected in the South constituency and the Dublin constituency will not be able to take up their seats in the European Parliament until the UK has left the EU.

This means that two Irish MEPs elected in this year’s European Parliament elections, despite Ireland being assigned an extra two seats.

Ireland was allotted the additional two seats as part of the redistribution of seats due to UK’s vote to leave the European Union. 

An additional seat is being granted to the Dublin constituency, bringing it to a four seater. Meanwhile, Ireland South constituency will now be a five seater. The Midlands North West constituency remains a four seater.

European Parliament elections will be held at the end of May 2019 across Europe. However, before elections can be held in Ireland, it is necessary to enact legislation to give effect to some process changes identified by the European Council and also to address some of the challenges that arise due to Brexit.

Today, Cabinet discussed some of the “more complex issues” that are not already included in the Bill, which included the issue with the two extra seats.

Brexit limbo

The Minister for Housing Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy said that as the South and Dublin constituencies were allocated the two additional seats, it was deemed appropriate that they would be identified as the seats that would not be taken up until the UK has left the EU.

Whether the two elected candidates are entitled to a salary and expenses while their seats are in limbo due to Brexit is a matter “for the European Commission to clarify and decide on”, said a government spokesperson.

In addition to the two extra MEPs Ireland may be getting, Cabinet also discussed the voting rights of British citizens in European elections.

Under European law, only citizens of the European Union are entitled to vote and stand for election in European Parliament elections.  

This means that when the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union, British citizens resident in the State will no longer have a right to vote at, or stand as candidates in, elections to the European Parliament held in Ireland. 

Cabinet today discussed how following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, British citizens resident in Ireland will still have the right to vote at general elections and the right to vote and stand at local elections.

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