Brexit may slash our EU rights

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People from Derry may not be able to access European Union (EU) health insurance, study at European universities at EU rates, or enjoy several other currently held rights, once Brexit occurs.

Doubt was cast on whether or not Irish citizens here will continue as full European Union citizens after European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, was pressed on the matter by Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson.

Mrs. Anderson asked the EC chief if the rights of people living in the North would continue to be protected after Brexit.

He replied: “Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU Irish citizens in Northern Ireland will no longer reside in a Member State. They will nevertheless continue to enjoy their rights as Union citizens under the Treaties. However, Irish citizens in Northern Ireland will no longer benefit from UK’s participation in Union programmes, policies and activities when this participation ends following the UK’s withdrawal from the Union.”

Reacting to Mr. Juncker’s statement, Daniel Holder, Deputy Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), expressed concern that access to cut-rate student fees and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may be cut off as these would be contingent on the UK’s participation in reciprocal arrangements.

Mr. Holder warned that such “rights are usually tied to residency in the EU, so access to them will be lost at the point of Brexit.”