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We cannot afford to miss the opportunity to increase the number of Irish MEPs – Hayes

Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today (Wednesday) said that Ireland cannot afford to miss the opportunity of increasing its representation in the European Parliament. The Dublin MEP was speaking after the European Parliament voted to redistribute 27 of the UK’s seats after Brexit.

“While the European Parliament has voted to redistribute 27 of the UK seats and abolish the remaining 46 – the decision of the future composition of the Parliament will ultimately be taken by EU Leaders. However, unless a decision is made soon, Ireland may lose out. “

“This is because our system of election is by PR-STV, whereby Members of the European Parliament are elected via geographical constituencies. In other Member States, regional or national lists apply. Increasing the number of seats on lists is more straight forward and less timely.”

“We must assume that the UK will leave the EU in March 2019 and their seats redistributed. This will mean Ireland gaining two seats – bringing our total to 13. Unlike other Member States who also gain seats, Ireland will need to redraw constituencies.”

“Under our Electoral Law, to change the composition of constituencies an independent Boundary Commission must be established. There is no Boundary Commission due before May 2019 so a Commission would have to be established.”

“Any change to the composition of the European Parliament will be based on the UK leaving the EU in March 2019. Therefore, we face a number of limited options.”

“Option 1 would be to establish a Boundary Commission on the basis of 13 seats, with a default provision which would have to be part of the accompanying legislation. In other words, if the UK do not leave by March 2019, the default provision would apply and we would revert to the 11 seats and 3 constituencies that we have now.”

“Option 2 would involve giving the Boundary Commission strict terms of reference that would look for minimal constituency boundary changes, thereby allowing all political parties and independents to plan for the 2019 election. In other words, if the additional seats do not come about we simply revert to the 3-constituency option with 11 seats.”

“If we do not make the necessary provisions soon, we may miss out on additional representation in the next European Parliament, thereby reducing the overall Irish influence. This is clearly not in our interest,” concluded MEP Hayes.

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