The relocation of a leading Brexit lobby group to Waterford has been referred to both Comreg and the Data Commissioner.
Leave.eu backed Nigel Farage in the campaign for the UK to leave the EU and has moved its registered office to Waterford.
Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has referred the transfer to both agencies, saying that it is purely designed to keep an EU website domain since the UK has now left the European Union.
Mr Richmond has written to Comreg and to Communications Minister Eamon Ryan, saying that such a move “should not be welcomed or easy”.
Comreg has told Mr Richmond it has referred the move to EURid, the European Registry for Internet Domains.
“Leave.eu is an odious campaign group that’s spread fear and disinformation throughout the Brexit referendum and subsequent negotiation process.
“The group is the subject of numerous legal disputes and has a reprehensible record in the UK,” said Mr Richmond.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Mr Richmond later referred the group to the Data Commissioner, saying that he had questions over the group’s data protection compliance.
I have written to Ireland’s data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, to request her to investigate Leave.EU to ensure they are GDPR compliant.
“Given that Leave.eu maintain 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 following their relocation of convenience from the UK to Waterford.
“Leave.eu has previously been fined £60,000 for data breaches in the UK.
“In order to be GDPR compliant, Leave.eu would need to identify a Lead Supervisory Authority for Data Protection and would have to move under the jurisdiction of the Data Protection Commissioner and, by extension, the Data Protection Board.”
Leave.eu spokesperson Andy Whigmore said that Mr Richmond’s concerns were “hilarious”.
The group did not answer questions on whether the relocation signalled an attempt to begin operations for a similar campaign in Ireland. Mr Farage has previously promoted the cause of “Irexit”.
“Perhaps he should concentrate on the Irish people and putting them first instead of his mates in Brussels — Irexit may be closer to reality than he thinks if he keeps this arrogant attitude up.”