The Brexit campaign website Leave.eu has been suspended pending an investigation after trying to set up shop in Ireland in a bid to preserve its .eu domain name. 

Faced with becoming site with a .uk web address - Leave.uk, in effect -  after the UK left the EU, attempts were made to register the website in Waterford.

Leave.eu, founded by Brexiteer Arron Banks and supported by former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, attempted to move the registration from the UK to Ireland on New Year's Eve after a rule stated that addresses can only be used by companies if they are based in the EU.

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The move was opposed by local politicians, with Fine Gael's Neale Richmond saying Leave.EU is "a threat to democracy", and should not be welcomed into the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Richmond warned members of the Irish parliament that the Brexit lobby group was a "politically subversive organisation" that was allowed "a foothold in our democracy, [and there] will be an absolutely detrimental effect".

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However, EURid - the agency which makes decisions over the .eu suffix - has suspended the website and has said it is under investigation.

EURid's website said the domain had been registered at the Waterford address but was “temporarily inactive (ie website and email do not function) and under investigation”.

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The pro-Brexit group's communications director Andy Wigmore insisted the website would be online again soon.

“Our lawyers will be taking action against those – and they know who they are – who have broken those delicious EU laws they love so much,” he told the Independent. 

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However, internet humourists have been quick to point out the irony of the debacle, with one predicting that a 'leave.uk' site would at least see an uptick in visitors from Scottish nationalists.