Hayes says free movement must be protected in Brexit negotiations

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Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes says thousands of non-EU residents living in Ireland with British partners face a period of uncertainty because of Brexit.

While their rights to live and work in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) are clear at the present, this could change if a bad settlement is reached. He said:

“If the UK decides to stop participating in freedom of movement after Brexit, that could have serious implications for British citizens and their family members living and working in Ireland.

“I believe that a deal can be concluded that protects people in this situation, but they need reassurance that their concerns are being considered.

“No state has ever left the Union so there’s no precedence here.

“With a ‘hard Brexit’ the principal of free movement is shattered.

“We need to be proactive and armed with a clear set of priorities”.

Reacting yesterday to the UK Supreme Court ruling that the UK Parliament must approve the triggering of Article 50, Mr Hayes said:

“Today’s UK Supreme Court ruling is a heavy defeat for the British government. It confirms the right of Parliament to control the British side of the Brexit process.

“Brexit will be an extremely complex legal process both on the British side and on the EU side.

“There is now no guarantee that Article 50 can be triggered by the end of March given the necessity for legislation to be enacted.

“Neither the European Parliament nor the British parliament can be taken for granted throughout this entire process.

“Both Parliaments will have to ultimately agree to a final deal on Brexit.

“There must now be regular scrutiny by the European Parliament of this entire process.

“Today’s decision in London is a victory for parliamentary democracy.”