‘Goalposts have changed’ Irish MEP says Republic has to suck up to EU after Brexit – Express.co.uk
Along with the UK, Ireland has sat out several European projects, including cross-union partnerships relating to immigration and security.
The country also chose against joining the Schengen Area – joining only Britain outside the common travel zone.
Now Mr Hayes said the Republic may need to opt-in to these projects in an attempt to continue holding sway in an increasingly divisive European Union (EU).
He explained: “Traditionally we have followed the UK where they seek an opt-out from EU legislation, particularly because of our close ties and the existence of the Common Travel Area between both countries.
“Ireland’s historical policy of opting out of EU policy areas and legislation, especially in the Justice and Home Affairs area, needs to be reviewed in light of Brexit.”
He said this habit of opting-out puts Ireland “at a remove” from EU heavyweights and warned the island would becoming increasingly isolated within the bloc after Britain leaves.
Mr Hayes said: “Without the UK at the table, could we become increasingly isolated as we adopt an à la carte approach to the EU? I believe this question needs to be addressed by all parties in Ireland.
“The goalposts have drastically shifted with Brexit… Our continued membership of the EU needs to reflect a more grown up response in the area of common EU action, especially in the new post-Brexit world.”
He said Ireland could even look again at joining the Schengen Area in an attempt to butter up Brussels bigwigs.
Mr Hayes said: “It would be better to have a national debate on this issue now while the Brexit” negotiations are underway, so that we can arrive at a balanced approach.
“We should look again at the Schengen free travel area, police and justice cooperation and migration issues, as part of a broader Brexit debate.”