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Committee on the Administration of Justice lodges complaint with EU Ombudsman to ensure post-Brexit rights for Irish citizens in the north

The Committee on the Administration (CAJ) of Justice has lodged a complaint with the European Union Ombudsman

THE Committee on the Administration (CAJ) of Justice has lodged a complaint with the European Union Ombudsman over how the rights of Irish citizens in Northern Ireland will be safeguarded after Brexit.

The human rights group argues that a pledge by all sides in the Brexit negotiations to protect rights secured in the Good Friday Agreement and by European Union law has been watered down.

The complaint, which has been brought by the CAJ as well as three individuals, including two academics, suggests that Irish citizens in the north will lose a wide range of rights, benefits and opportunities, including the right to vote in European Parliament elections, broadcaster RTÉ reported.

The complaint says that a commitment not to diminish the rights of Irish citizens in the north was made by the EU and UK in the Joint Report of December last year.

However, the complainants argue that as the provisions of the Joint Report have been carried over into the draft Withdrawal Agreement, that commitment has been diluted.

There are fears that EU rights safeguarding equality in the north could all be weakened as British law takes primacy post-Brexit, rendering Irish citizens in the north "second class".

The areas of concern highlighted include inhibited freedom of movement, consular assistance from other EU countries when abroad, the rights to petition EU institutions, as well as the rights to vote and stand in European elections.

EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly received the complaint on September 20 and will decide shortly whether it is admissible.

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