Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD has strongly criticised the Spanish government after eight Catalan ministers were sent to jails in Madrid on charges of “rebellion” and “sedition” over a referendum on independence.
He said Spain’s actions were only serving to deepen to deepen the crisis.
The eight Catalan Ministers were imprisoned without the possibility of bail for the ‘crime’ of holding the referendum -- as they had been elected to do -- but which the Spanish Constitutional Court had deemed illegal.
“Dialogue must be the avenue pursued by both parties in the respect of Catalan independence,” said Mr Adams.
“Jailing elected representatives is not the answer. Internationally mediated negotiations are the best way to find a peaceful resolution. This aggressive action by the Spanish Government will only deepen the crisis.”
Spanish authorities said they had removed Catalonia’s President, Carles Puigdemont and his 13-member cabinet from office, in what was seen in Catalonia as an implicit coup against the newly independent state. An early assembly election was then called for December 21st, although Madrid has not stated if it will even accept the outcome of the election.
A Spanish judge jailed eight of nine Catalan Ministers who appeared for questioning in Madrid on Thursday, without bail. Magistrate Carmen Lamela also issued a European arrest warrant for President Puigdemont, who flew to Brussels this week.
Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy called on the EU to intervene in the escalating crisis.
“The imprisonment of democratically elected Ministers for implementing the will of the Catalan people is a stain on democracy,” he said
“Repression and jails are not the solution to political disputes. Political dialogue and negotiation are the only options.
“The European Union must not stand idly by as the Government of a member state incarcerates elected political opponents for the ‘crime’ of implementing the democratically expressed wishes of their people.”
A policy committee of Dublin City Council voted to fly the Catalan flag over Dublin City Hall for a month-long period.
The motion was put forward by People Before Profit councillor John Lyons, and will now progress to a vote at the December full council meeting for final approval, where it is expected to pass.
The exact wording of the motion is as follows: “In solidarity with our twin city of Barcelona this Council condemns the Spanish government’s repression and violence perpetrated on citizens exercising their democratic right to vote and as such, in an act of solidarity and in recognition of this universal right to democracy and self determination as established by international covenants, we agree to fly the Catalan flag over City Hall for one month.”
People Before Profit councillor Tina MacVeigh, who has visited the region twice over recent weeks in her capacity as an international observer, said flying the flag would represent an important message.
“Flying the flag is an important message to the ordinary Catalan communities that the people of Ireland stand in solidarity with them, with their right to democracy, with their right to self-determination.”