The group that campaigned for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union, Leave.EU, has transferred to a registered address in Waterford, Ireland to keep the .EU suffix after Brexit.
Irish Fine Gael politician Neale Richmond commented on the move and said he had “no interest in seeing” the group “using Ireland as a flag of convenience.”
“Leave.EU’s recent move to Waterford must be rigorously scrutinised at every turn. This odious organisation has played a wholly negative role in British, Irish and European civic discourse for a number of years now,” Deputy Richmond said.
Richmond reported his concerns to the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) in Ireland and the European Registry for Internet Domains.
“Following engagement with ComReg, I am pleased that the matter of whether Leave.EU is eligible for a .eu domain name or not has been referred to EURid… the non-profit organisation appointed by the European Commission as the domain name registry that operates the .eu top-level domain and its variants in other scripts. I have engaged with EURid to establish if Leave.EU have followed all the rules to maintain their lucrative domain name by registering in Ireland,” the politician explained.
Joining Richmond in his concerns has been Guy Verhofstadt, an MEP for pro-European political group Renew Europe.
In response to the concerns of non-compliance, Leave.EU compared their move to a completely lawful action “which thousands of other UK businesses have done.”
In 2019, Leave.EU, co-founded by businessman Arron Banks and property tycoon Richard Tice, together with one of Banks’ insurance companies, was fined £120,000 over breaches of data law.
Given that the group holds “great swathes of personal information about their supporters and other persons, it must be ascertained if they are doing this in accordance with EU law after their relocation of convenience from the UK to Waterford,” argued Richmond.
Whether Leave.EU is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation after its so-called “convenience move” to Ireland after Brexit could be determined with the help of Ireland’s data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon.