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Interesting proposal! July 13, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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An Sionnach Fionn has noted the latest proposal from Guy Verhofstadt, that Northern MEPs be added to Ireland’s representation and that Irish passport holders in the North should have the right to vote in ‘Irish’ European elections.

And in the Guardian they had this (scroll down).

Verhofstad also suggested that after the UK exits the EU those with Irish passports in Northern Ireland should be allowed to vote in European elections across the border.

Verhofstad said the number of European seats could be increased from the current 11 to allow for Northern Irish voters to still exercise some influence in the EU as part of any post-Brexit deal.

 

But look who’s not happy with that suggestion…

 

The Democratic Unionists in turn said it would use its parliamentary muscle to force the government to block any moves allowing for Northern Ireland voters to elect MEPs in the Irish Republic.

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told the Guardian there was “no chance” his party would accept such an arrangement after Brexit.

Donaldson said the 10 DUP MPs at Westminster who currently shore up the minority Conservative government would insist to the prime minister that Verhostad’s proposal be rejected out of hand in Brexit negotiations.

“His idea would be a breach of the Good Friday agreement which keeps all constitutional change within strand one of that agreement, namely only within Northern Ireland.

“This idea would also upset the delicate constitutional balance we have worked out here and would endanger the peace process,” the Lagan Valley MP added.

But surely Donaldson can see that an UK exit from the EU is by the same token a constitutional change? And that it upsets the ‘delicate constitutional balance’? No?

And what of the EU side?

On Ireland Mr Barnier spoke of the hope that “political analysis” next week, led by his deputy Sabine Weyand and the UK negotiator Olly Robbins, could make progress on defining the elements of the Common Travel Area and the so-far unspecified “all dimensions of the Good Friday agreement” which it is hoped will be preserved. These range from extending EU citizenship rights to Irish passport holders to safeguarding peace programmes.

ASF thinks this is a non-starter politically and I’d tend to agree, but it’s not difficult to envisage Irish passport holders being accommodated in terms of voting rights and that being the case one has to wonder what business it would be of Jeffrey Donaldson.

 

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Comments»

1. GW - July 14, 2017

Yep – the dependence on the duppers compounds the British weakness at the negotiating table with the inflexibility of having to pander to sorry respect unionist red lines.

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FergusD - July 14, 2017

If NI residents, or perhaps Irish passport holders resident in the North, were given the right to vote for MEPs representing (OMG All-)Ireland post-Brexit what difference would that make to the DUPers? They won’t be forced to vote.

Do Irish citizens resident in the UK have the right to vote in EU parliamentary elections for Irish MEPs?

Can they vote in UK elections for MEPs? If so, following Brexit they won’t be able to do that (nobody will). If they can’t vote in the Irish MEP elections would that make them disenfranchised regarding EU parliamentary elections? Pardon my ignorance on this.

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GW - July 14, 2017

I believe that EU citizens from another country can vote in the country they live in for European MEPs. Certainly it’s the case in Germany – it’s one of the few electoral levels as an Irish citizen living elsewhere in the EU in which I am not fully disenfranchised – so I guess it’s a general rule.

Whether the Brits have special rules on this as in other matters, I know not.

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Michael Carley - July 14, 2017

Irish citizens, like Commonwealth citizens, get a vote in everything in the UK (local, general, EU, and referendums). That does not come from EU law, but from legislation such as the Ireland Act (which says we are not “foreign” here) and there hasn’t been a proposal to change that as far as I know.

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FergusD - July 14, 2017

So following Brexit, if you are still resident in the UK you wouldn’t get to vote in EU elections? Unless the RoI allowed you a (postal?) vote to elect an Irish MEP? I presume whether to allow that or not would be a perogative of the Dail?

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Michael Carley - July 17, 2017

Exactly. I would have no vote in European elections (because there would be none) and no vote in Ireland because Ireland has no votes for the diaspora. I’m not too bothered about the second, given that I live in the UK and do have a vote here, but I could understand why Irish people elsewhere would feel aggrieved.

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2. roddy - July 14, 2017

Passport holding should have nothing to do with it.If someone from Bridgend in Donegal does’nt need a passport to vote,Roddy in co Derry shouldnt have to produce one either.Under the GFA ,I’m an Irish citizen and dont need to produce “my papers” to either British OR Freestate gestapo to prove it.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 14, 2017

Someone from Bridgend does need to prove their identity, though. This might through a declaration before a member of AGS or another means. Why would someone from Derry or Antrim be exempt from that?

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3. roddy - July 14, 2017

There is a rigorous registration process in the North involving date of birth,national insurance number and signature.On voting day you have to produce 1 of 5 “approved” photographic forms of ID (nothing else is acceptable) .Your name on the Northern voter register and production of whatever ID is OK in the North on polling day should be suffice.If a stater does not need a passport to be an Irish person,neither do I. The only “declaration ” I or others like me would make to the AGS would be “go and f— yourself you bunch of corrupt Blueshirts/ Broy Harriers “!

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RosencrantzisDead - July 14, 2017

Those are requirements imposed by UK authorities, which Ireland has no or limited access to. Without an appropriate document issued by the State, Ireland would have no method of checking voter registration.

Why are you so opposed to having an Irish passport, roddy? You can apply for one if you are in the North.

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4. roddy - July 14, 2017

My passport is expired.The point I,m making is that an Irish person in any part of Ireland does not need to apply for or hold a passport to be entitled to rights held by others .The passport ruse is an attempt by staters to restrict the franchise.For instance thousands of people in deprived areas could’nt afford the passport fee.TheGFA states everbody in the North is entitled to be an Irish citizen.

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6to5against - July 14, 2017

I’m totally sympathetic to Roddy’s points about the passport, but there would be a problem in that there wouldn’t be a register in the North for EU elections. I imagine the logic of the proposal is that Irish citizens shouldn’t be discriminated against in an EU election because of living in NI, and a register would therefore have to be created to do protect their rights.
An Irish passport would be an easy way of doing that – but I think it should be a passport, or anything else that established citizenship.

I really think the Dublin govt should be pushing ideas like this. Establishing the European-ness of NI citizens could be a good way of establishing their Irishness too. And to oppose the idea goes against the ‘parity of esteem’ principle.

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WorldbyStorm - July 14, 2017

+1

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shea - July 15, 2017

after the brexit vote a lot of people from the north were applying for 26 county pps numbers. If you get that you can get a public service card in a social welfare office which is official id, and an unofficial national identity card but sin seal eile. accepted at polling stations any way.

but you need photo i.d before you get the card, though if you don’t need a GNIB card and if you don’t drive then a passport is accepted as valid photo i.d, and it has to be in date.

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5. EWI - July 14, 2017

But it’s not difficult to envisage Irish passport holders being accommodated in terms of voting rights and that being the case one has to wonder what business it would be of Jeffrey Donaldson.

The point is what it’s always been, and remains the whole purpose of Northern Ireland – Orange supremacy.

‘Croppies lie down’.

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6. Joe - July 14, 2017

Well, call me old-fashioned but I’m of the view that only those on the electoral register in the Republic of Ireland should have a vote in elections in the Republic of Ireland.

ASF and WBS think this is a non-starter politically and I’d tend to agree. It’s silly, non-core stuff – a distraction from the serious business of trying to make Brexit as painless as possible economically-speaking for the EU and the UK.

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WorldbyStorm - July 14, 2017

In the sense that additional MEPs would be created not a starter but I’m all for Irish citizens having the vote here, US and other states can organise it for their citizens – no reason it can’t be done. I also think 6to5 is right, this sort of approach is precisely what Dublin should be doing anyhow quite apart from Brexit.

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WorldbyStorm - July 14, 2017

One other thought, in any feasible UI some form of east west representation is going to be necessary at least across a transitional period of decades and that may be House of Lords representation or whatever. Be that as it may I would expect as a minimum that British passport holders and those who are British citizens living in NI would as of right have a U.K. Vote of some form from the off and likewise I’d expect the opposite should be true in respect of RoI passport holders in the North. I also think it would be no harm for this state and nationalists and republicans to outline these rights for unionists as a unilateral gesture well in advance of any UI.

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EWI - July 14, 2017

I also think it would be no harm for this state and nationalists and republicans to outline these rights for unionists as a unilateral gesture well in advance of any UI.

+1 (even though we all know that this will be a red rag to a bull)

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WorldbyStorm - July 15, 2017

True, but it’s the right thing to do. As a Republic the ability, the capacity, to extend the boundaries of that Republic, to acknowledge those who take a different view, it’s almost an existential example of what our Republic of Ireland is.

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benmadigan - July 15, 2017

you’re thinking along the lines of a joint sovreignty/binary administration which i suggested here

https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/joint-authoritysovreignty-in-ni-faq/

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EWI - July 14, 2017

Well, call me old-fashioned but I’m of the view that only those on the electoral register in the Republic of Ireland should have a vote in elections in the Republic of Ireland.

Call me old-fashioned too, but I’ve no issue with Irish citizens being able to vote in Irish elections, a principle it only seems fair to allow for EU citizens in EU elections as well. Democracy, after all…

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sonofstan - July 14, 2017

There’s a lot of us rootless cosmopolitans around these days – work in one country (or more) have ties and citizenship in one where we don’t live most of the time. I like being able to vote here in England and in Ireland, but this is unique AFAIK and such reciprocity doesn’t happen anywhere else (subject to correction here). It would make sense in the long run for the EU to adopt a policy that would allow EU citizens to vote wherever they happen to live and NOT at ‘home’.

For a start, you have a situation as obtains in Dublin where in some constituencies, there must be a very significant proportion of the adult population without a vote, but with the same stake in the society as the rest of us, and arguably more than the likes of me, an Irish citizen who’s only semi-resident.

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WorldbyStorm - July 15, 2017

I’ve always liked the sound of rootless cosmopolitans. My kind of people!

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7. roddy - July 14, 2017

Joe ,you are already being governed by people not on the southern register.Every establishment party has appointed northerners to the senate and Niall O’Donaille from Belfasts short strand sits there for SF at the minute.2 term president Mary McAleese is from Ardoyne and McGuinness was able to run for president whilst only registered in Derry.Your statelet was created by Dungannons Tom Clarke effectively leading 1916 and others like Frank Aiken and Sean McEntee continuing what he started.As Danny Morrison told Gay Byrne 30 years ago- “IF YOU DONT WANT US THEN TELL US TO FUCK OFF”. Anybody down there can renounce the GFA in the morning and it would be the honest thing to do for those who refuse us the rights that the treaty gave us.

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Joe - July 15, 2017

Ah now. I was never one to follow Danny Morrison’s advice.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 15, 2017

You can’t “renounce the GFA in the morning”. It is part of binding Treaty with the British Government. You can only withdraw per the rules in the Vienna Convention or per any clauses in the Treaty itself.

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8. roddy - July 15, 2017

Then embrace it fully and grant your citizens full voting rights.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 15, 2017

I have no problem with supporting it fully, but support would also mean acknowledging the name of the state to be Northern Ireland and that it is legitimately part of the UK until there is a vote to change that.

Do you embrace the GFA fully, roddy?

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WorldbyStorm - July 15, 2017

Isn’t that setting the bar a little too high RiD.

One can accept the name of the state is NI (or rather the official name of the region/area whatever given it isn’t a state as such but a subsidiary entity of a larger state with devolved powers and links to another state entirely) and that it is legitimately part of the UK – albeit again with devolved powers and unique indeed sui generis links to the RoI – while also using more colloquially different formulations, the North, etc (and by the by the Guardian and other UK media by way of example often use the Irish Republic which is most definitely not the name of this state). And one can also accept this and support state institutions while wishing to change them democratically or within the constraints of the GFA/BA (and consider how little some of those entirely legitimate functions under the GFA/BA such as cross border entities/NIMC etc are fully utilised.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 15, 2017

…the present wish of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, freely exercised and legitimate, is to maintain the Union and, accordingly, that Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom reflects and relies upon that wish; and that it would be wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people…

I agree with you, WbS. But, per the quote above, the GFA acknowledges NI as legitimate and refers to the state as Northern Ireland. I doubt whether you can demand that everyone embrace the ‘GFA fully’ whilst denouncing the Northern Ireland statelet as illegitimate, given the above. To do so is to blow hot and cold.

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WorldbyStorm - July 15, 2017

I may be way off beam but I interpreted his point about the statelet as a reference to Éire not NI… I’m presuming that was just an off the cuff rhetorical jibe at the historical situation. And unless I’m completely misreading his comments isn’t he embracing the GFA/BA and asking that it be fully implemented, not that he doesn’t accept the current situation as legitimate?

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RosencrantzisDead - July 15, 2017

When the world sees the electoral map they see that British imperialism is opposed by the inhabitants of an area in excess of 60% of the illegitimate statelet.Whilst many on here hold admirable political positions, avote for them would not confront the stark reality of how illegitamate the Northern statelet is.

– roddy from the ‘Grenfell Tower’ thread.

I think it strange you insist others adhere to the GFA whilst you deny its tenets.

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WorldbyStorm - July 15, 2017

Don’t you think that’s sort of rhetorical on his part? After all the 2iC of SF clearly didn’t regard it as illegitimate in the sense of its functional and de facto existence while clearly working for something more or different. Or put it a different way, perhaps one thinks it is illegitimate but accepts the parameters of the agreements arrived at in the 90s. After all those agreements as Newton Emerson in a moment of uncharacteristic clarity noted point in one direction only in regard to future travel i.e. if a change is to occur that will be towards a UI. In a way I think NI is illegitimate in that it was from the off a sectarian carve up and a profoundly anti democratic one at that. But there’s no point in me ignoring the reality of its existence or wishing away Unionism or more importantly unionists. So my basic approach is get on with it, work to convince unionists and if they’re not convinced fair enough but build as close to an agreed and interlinked island short of UI as is possible in the short to medium term. And just on that I’m not too pushed on the shape of things, UI, confederation, ind NI or continuation within U.K. As long as all island links deepen.

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WorldbyStorm - July 15, 2017

Btw as you can probably tell I’m shooting the breeze here and musing! I like musing.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 15, 2017

I am also shooting the breeze, being one of those individuals who relaxes by arguing on the internet.

I disagree with you.

This waters down the term ‘illegitimate’ to be synonymous with ‘I do not like it’. I don’t think this properly conveys the strength or intent behind the use of the word. Compare ‘I do not like Leo Varadker as Taoiseach’ with ‘Leo Varadker is illegitimate as Taoiseach’. The latter is much stronger, thicker even, than the former.

Legitimacy has a meaning that both imputes a factual situation and a ‘moral’ interpretation. And it is clearly this meaning roddy intends in the quoted statement. However, acknowledging the legitimacy of a state does not mean believing it to be right or preferable. Louis Napoleon’s France might be legitimate but not desirable.

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WorldbyStorm - July 16, 2017

In a way, but as libertarian marxists we don’t really think that this state is genuinely legitimate do we?

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9. roddy - July 15, 2017

I am not bound by the GFA to do or say or call any place anything.The free state government is.

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RosencrantzisDead - July 15, 2017

Joe is not bound by it either.

A bit much you demand others cleave to parts of it but refuse to sign up yourself.

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10. roddy - July 15, 2017

No but whoever governs Joe’s state is bound by it .

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RosencrantzisDead - July 15, 2017

And only whoever governs yours can insist on those rights, roddy. Are you speaking on behalf of the British government, roddy?

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ar scáth a chéile - July 16, 2017

Surely rights accruing to an individual under GFA are not conditional on the individual supporting the GFA , whatever about the charge of hypocrisy or inconsistency

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ar scáth a chéile - July 16, 2017

Moi aussi ,… shooting the late night breeze

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WorldbyStorm - July 16, 2017

Exactly. At what point are we demanding acquiescence?

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11. benmadigan - July 15, 2017

all this diatribe over the name that is used to designate part of the island of ireland.

Shakespeare himself nailed it 500 odd years ago

“Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

let people call that part of the island what they will and accept the names others call it!

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