Dublin refuses to recognise Catalonia’s independence


The 26 County state has said it will not recognise Catalonia’s declaration of independence from Spain, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.

“The resolution of the current crisis needs to be within Spain’s constitutional framework and through Spain’s democratic institutions,” it said.

However, in Scotland, the Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said the people of Catalonia “must have the ability to determine their own future.”

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams TD described the declaration of independence as a “historic step” towards Catalan statehood, and expressed his solidarity with the people.

“The right to self-determination is a corner stone of international law and this declaration must be respected,” he said. “I believe it is now incumbent on the Spanish government to agree an internationally mediated process on the way forward. That is what the Catalan government have offered. That goodwill must be reciprocated.

“It is time for the Spanish government to seize the opportunity for dialogue. I would encourage the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to urgently press for this process with the Spanish Prime Minister.”

However, neither the Taoiseach nor the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, have issued statements on the situation.

In dramatic scenes yesterday, a motion to declare independence was approved by the 135-member Catalan parliament, with 70 votes in favor. Opposition lawmakers walked out of the chamber in protest ahead of the vote.

After the vote officials and lawmakers cried “Llibertat! [Freedom]”.

An emotional President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont called on his people to remain peaceful. “In the days ahead we must keep to our values of pacifism and dignity. It’s in our, in your hands, to build the republic,” he said.

Outside parliament, thousands who had gathered cheered the news, some dancing and raising a toast. In Barcelona, people crowded around TV sets to watch the historic events unfold.

The Sant Jaume Square outside the government office was packed with thousands of people celebrating. Many were draped with the “Estelada” flag that adds a blue triangle to the red and yellow Catalan flag and has become a symbol of the separatist struggle.

“I feel so emotional after the huge fight we went through, we finally got it,” said Rosalina Cordera Torelles. Another woman said she was relieved. “Now we are Catalan at last,” said Rita Carboneras. “We can be ourselves.”

But despite the referendum and declaration of independence, the government in Madrid still claims to still rule over Catalonia. Both it and Spain’s Constitutional Court have insisted the declaration is “illegal” under Spanish law.

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy said it was a move that “not only goes against the law but is a criminal act.” He declared he was “sacking” the head of the Catalan regional police and shutting down the Catalan government’s overseas offices. A spokesman for Spain’s prosecutor’s office said it would bring charges of “rebellion” against prominent Catalans.

In Ireland, a variety of protests and events are being organised in support of Catalania, with the involvement of Sinn Fein, the 1916 Societies and People before Profit.

People before Profit said it would be submitting a motion to Dublin City Council calling for recognition.

Ahead of Friday’s declaration, republican members of Derry City and Strabane District Council united to formally back Catalan independence.

A proposal by Sinn Fein Councillor Caoimhe McKnight that the council writes to the British and Irish governments asking them to formally recognise the democratic outcome of the Catalan independence referendum, was backed by all republican councillors.

Independent republican councillor Paul Gallagher, wearing a T-shirt bearing the Estelada flag, hailed the Catalan people’s discipline and courage and expressed concern Spain might move to establish “tyranny” in the region in defiance of the democratic wishes of the people there.

Cllr McKnight said the motion demonstrated solidarity with the people of Catalonia, who in turning out to vote in their independence referendum, in spite of a “full-frontal attack by the Spanish authorities”, had been “inspirational”.

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