DUBLIN — A provocative right-wing group that campaigned for Brexit, Leave.EU, has immigrated to Ireland — and at least one lawmaker wants it deported.
Neale Richmond, from the government coalition party Fine Gael, denounced Leave.EU for shifting its domain registration to Waterford in southeast Ireland from its previous home in Bristol, England.
“This organization is a threat to our democracy. It is a politically subversive organization that, if allowed to gain a foothold in our democracy, will have an absolutely detrimental effect,” Richmond told lawmakers Thursday.
Leave.EU made the move to retain the ability to operate online with its .eu suffix addresses, including its email accounts.
The Brussels-based firm that handles .eu web domains, EURid, told 80,000 U.K.-based customers they would lose control of their accounts, effective January 1, unless they were redomiciled in an EU nation.
The Leave.EU website, backed by millionaire Arron Banks, today features pages seeking donations and new members, a shop selling such items as “Leave.EU One Size Doesn’t Fit All” T-shirts, and a blog that doesn’t appear to have been updated since March 2020. It links to Leave.EU’s far more active Twitter account.
Richmond, a committed Europhile who previously worked as a political adviser in Brussels, decried Leave.EU as a purveyor of hate and intolerance that goes far beyond Brexit. He noted their social media accounts toe an anti-immigrant and pro-Trump line.
Their leaders also “resort to the level of insults you wouldn’t hear in a schoolyard,” he said.
Leave.EU’s communications director, Andy Wigmore, dismissed Richmond’s criticisms as “a non-event by a third-rate EU fanatic MP and pathetic.”
When asked three times by POLITICO why Leave.EU had registered in Waterford, a city of roughly 50,000 best known internationally for crystal, Wigmore offered no serious response.
“Any more nonsense from Brussels-lovers like you and we may decide to put the full weight of Leave.EU behind Irexit,” he said.
Leave.EU’s domain is registered in the name of Sean Power, managing director of Waterford-based Business Services Group. The firm offers accounting and secretarial services, company formation expertise and trademark registration.
Power didn’t respond to a message seeking comment. Last week he told the Guardian he had “nothing to do with Leave.EU and never heard of it before yesterday.”
“My lawyers are looking into this on my behalf presently,” he was quoted as saying.
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