Government spokesman on EU Affairs in the Seanad, and Chair of the Seanad Brexit Committee, Neale Richmond, has welcomed last night’s vote in the House of Lords, saying that it is positive news for the Irish community in Great Britain.
“Although it may only be a temporary defeat that can be overturned in the House of Commons, the amendment of the British Government’s Brexit Bill in the House of Lords is positive news for the Irish in Britain.
“The substantive issue of the vote was to guarantee the right of EU citizens living in the UK to remain there after the UK leaves the EU. The amendment backed by the Lords requires the British Government to introduce proposals within three months of Article 50 to ensure EU citizens in the UK have the same residence rights after Brexit.
“Irish citizens are the second largest group of EU nationals living in the UK, after the Polish community, working in a range of sectors over a considerable period of time. The Irish community in the UK is a strong and historic one that adds greatly to UK society.
“It is vital that the UK goes into the Brexit talks with a healthy respect for these communities and appeases the many concerns currently held.
“Prime Minister May maintains it would be unwise to guarantee the rights of the three million or so EU citizens in the UK, before other EU countries are ready to do the same for British citizens abroad. To use the many people who have made their lives in the UK as “bargaining chips” in a negotiation would be simply lousy.
“As Chairman of the Seanad Brexit Committee, I look forward to discussing this issue and proposing plausible solutions that can work for EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living across the EU.”