The move by the pro-Brexit campaign group Leave.EU to change their domain name contact details to an Irish address has been met with condemnation by an Irish politician who has described the group as an “odious organisation … with a dubious reputation”.
Neale Richmond, a Fine Gael TD (member of parliament) for Dublin Rathdown and spokesman on European Affairs has referred the Leave.eu campaign organisation to Ireland’s communications regulator ComReg following the Leave.EU’s relocation to Waterford, Ireland.
“Leave.eu is an odious campaign group that’s spread fear and disinformation throughout the Brexit referendum and subsequent negotiation process,” said Richmond in a statement. “The group is the subject of numerous legal disputes and has a reprehensible record in the UK.”
In one tweet Richmond went further saying Leave.EU is not just an odious organisation but one “with a dubious reputation not just limited to it’s role in the #Brexit campaign”.
Richmond also noted in another tweet the “matter now with @EUregistry who I have also been in contact with. No interest in seeing this odious organisation retaining their platform through a brass plate.”
“Following the end of the transition period, the group has moved its registered office from the UK to Waterford in order to maintain its .eu domain name,” Richmond continued in his statement. “Such a move not only maintains the domain name but also retains the group’s prominent profile on the internet through search engines, social media sites and existing references.”
“The revocation of Leave.eu to Waterford is certainly not a Brexit dividend and the basing of such an organisation here should not be welcomed nor should it be easy. As such, I have written to ComReg [letter below] and placed Parliamentary Questions to the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications querying the legitimacy of such a relocation.
“It is my understanding that to maintain a .eu registered domain name, an organisation must be an EU citizen or business based in the EU with other qualifying conditions. We cannot allow Ireland to be a brass plate of convenience for this grouping and this requires rigorous scrutiny.”
Also of note is that the Irish businessman Sean Power whose name appears on Leave.EU’s domain registration insists he has never heard of the company.
“My lawyers are looking into this on my behalf presently and will be in touch as deemed necessary in due course,” said Power, the chief executive of Business Services Group, a Waterford-based company to The Guardian. “I have nothing to do with Leave.EU and never heard of it before yesterday.”
As I’ve previously written, the Leave.EU campaign is a bunch of hypocrites, by updating the contact details for their domain name, Leave.eu, to an Irish address, in order to keep it.
The issue for Leave.eu was had they left their domain name registration details with a Bristol address in the UK, they along with more than 317,000 other registrants, the number of British-based .eu registrations as of December 2017, would have lost their domain names as Britain is no longer a member of the European Union.
On 31 December 2020 there were 81,470 .eu domain names registered to British registrants according to statistics on the EURid website, down from 317,286 three years ago on 31 December 2017. The remaining 81,000 registrants have now had their domain names suspended and they will no longer be able to host websites or be used for other services such as email unless the registrant can show they are eligible to hold the domain name. They can do this by showing the associated business has an EU or EEA office, or for an individual they are a citizen of the EU or EEA, no matter where they live in the world.