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Sinn Fein demands EU representation ‘from Derry to Kerry’ post-Brexit

The party has called for representation for Northern Ireland in Brussels after the UK leaves the EU.

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Members of the PSNI and the Gardai stand exactly on the border in Belleek, County Fermanagh (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein has called for the creation of a EU constituency for Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said it was crucial that Northern Ireland citizens retain democratic representation in the European Union, especially as the majority of Northern Ireland voted to remain.

Sinn Fein published its submission to the Constituency Convention dealing with the upcoming European elections and the number of Irish seats increasing in the face of Brexit, which includes the creation of a constituency for the north which would have two seats.

Speaking on Wednesday, Ms Anderson called the constituency vital and said it was important Northern Irish people were not treated as second class citizens.

“Sinn Fein believe that it is vital that the citizens of the north continue to be represented in the European Parliament.

“What we are asking for is to ensure we have representation from Derry to Kerry.

“We are not asking for voters in the south to sacrifice existing representation, merely help preserve that right for those who did not vote for Brexit but are now forced to accept the ramifications of others’ shortsightedness.

“We are willing to work with the Commission to tease out the idea of representation for the north, but we are here today to stand for EU citizens in the north and their rights which some would see stripped away.”

Ms Anderson said the party were willing to work with any of Ireland’s political parties in order to see the constituency created, and said the proposal required a hand of friendship.

“We’re willing to work with An Taoiseach, and let us remember that the Taoiseach has already told us that no Irish government would ever again leave behind the people of the north,” she said.

In their proposal document Sinn Fein referenced Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who said in January 2018: “Why would people object to Northern Ireland continuing to have representation in the European Parliament?”

As well as Fine Gael TD Sean Kelly, who said in June, that the idea was “worth exploring”.

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The border between Londonderry and Donegal at Bridgend (Deborah McAleese/PA)

Ms Anderson claimed Brexiteers were taking Northern Ireland over a cliff, and labelled comments by Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg that people should be “inspected” at the border post-Brexit, as dangerous.

“The comments are a reflection of the attitudes within the Conservative government, he is reckless, he is wrong, he is an absolute idiot.

“We do not want the damage that is going to be caused by Brexit, we do not want the north to be collateral damage, we were in a terrible place, war is a terrible place and we’re out of that.

“We the people of Ireland, and north of Ireland, were told that the constitutional position of the north would not change unless we consented to it, and we did not consent to the wreckage that is going to happen as a consequence of Brexit.”

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Members of the PSNI and the Gardai stand exactly on the border in Belleek, County Fermanagh (Niall Carson/PA)
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The border between Londonderry and Donegal at Bridgend (Deborah McAleese/PA)