Irexit: Expert says ‘leaving on WTO terms isn’t option for Ireland’
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Hermann Kelly, leader of the pro-Irexit Irish Freedom Party, was handed a job earlier this year as a press office for Cristian Terhes of the Christian Democratic National Peasants’ Party in Romania, according to The Irish Times He has been helping to lead a campaign in the European Parliament against rules requiring MEPs, staff and visitors to produce a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. The European Parliament website lists the Irexit leader as an “accredited assistant” for Mr Terhes.
The role comes with an EU salary of at least €3,000 (£2,500) a month, but can go beyond that.
But the appointment comes as a huge surprise as in September 2018, the Irish Freedom Party – also known as “Irexit Freedom to Prosper” – was formed to campaign for an Irish exit from the EU and to field candidates in the 2019 European Parliament election.
Party leader Mr Kelly was one of two candidates, receiving 2,441 first preference votes (0.67 percent) in the Dublin constituency
Just days earlier, he had warned the presence of the huge Margiris EU supertrawler off the coast of Kerry was a key example of how, under the Common Fisheries Policy, EU boats are “hoovering up a massive amount of fish which is wealth out of Irish territorial waters”.
The Irexit leader claimed it was “very unjust” the country’s fishermen had to stand by and watch “these foreign boats plundering our waters and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it”.
He told Express.co.uk: “It’s an attack, undermining their livelihood.
“These fish are landed in the Netherlands, they’re landed in Spain, in France, they’re not even landed in Ireland.
“So Ireland doesn’t get any benefit from this huge portion of wealth which is off its coastline.
“Irish fishermen must accept a bad deal that they’ve got for 50 years because we signed up to be a subservient province of the European Union.”
Mr Kelly is currently challenging the introduction of the EU Digital Covid certificate system on entry to European Parliament buildings.
This asks for proof of vaccination, a negative test or recovery from coronavirus, with free tests available to staff and MEPs.
Over recent months, the leader of the pro-Irexit Irish Freedom Party has co-ordinated English-language communication for Mr Terhes.
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This comes during his campaign for Covid certificates at a time when the death rate from the virus is surging in Romania – 17 times more than Ireland over the past two weeks.
Mr Kelly said: “If people want to take a vaccine and they want to take two, five or 10 per month, I’m very happy for them.
“I previously have taken every vaccine that was ever required of me, but this one I will not.”
A campaign video recently shared on YouTube showed the Irexit leader walking alongside Mr Terhes towards the European Parliament, before the Romanian MEP was confronted by security staff after he refused to present a Covid pass.
Mr Terhes could reportedly be held telling security staff: “Who are you? Who elected you here? That’s the difference between me and you – you’re not elected and I’m elected.
They replied by telling him he was free to enter but that they would have to file a report.
Referring to EU treaties, he added: “I’m not vaccinated and I’m not going to show any proof of testing.”
Mr Kelly is currently exempt from having to show the Covid pass as a plaintiff in the ongoing legal case, but is required to show a negative test result.
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