Tuesday 17 October 2017

Taoiseach says Ireland will not recognise result of Catalonia's independence referendum

People react as they gather at Plaza Catalunya after voting ended for the banned independence referendum, in Barcelona, Spain. REUTERS/Susana Vera
People react as they gather at Plaza Catalunya after voting ended for the banned independence referendum, in Barcelona, Spain. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The Spanish government needs to realise that violence against its citizens leads to further disunity “before anybody gets seriously injured or killed”, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Responding to the violent scenes in the Catalonia region over the weekend, Mr Varadkar said his government does not accept the legitimacy of the independence referendum.

“The Irish government respects the constitution of Spain and the territorial unity of Spain.

“But I’d also like to say that violence is never justified. We know from history all over the world that when State actors, State police and the army, use violence against civilians that doesn’t work. It causes further division, further disunity and also causes radicalisation,” Mr Varadkar said.

He said the less than half of the population of Catalonia participated in the vote “although admittedly it wasn’t easy for people to participate”.

Mr Varadkar said Spain is a “friend and ally” but “violence is never the solution”.

“I was distressed to see the scenes on television last night. To see this was happening in a European country.

“We know from history all over the world that when governments use violence against unarmed civilians it doesn’t work. It leads to radicalisation, it leads to further disunity and I sincerely hope the Spanish government will bear that in mind before anybody gets serious injured or killed,” the Taoiseach said.

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