Tuesday 17 July 2018

Sinn Fein councillor scales City Hall with Catalonia flag at Dublin protest

Sinn Fein councillor Chris Andrews climbed Dublin City Hall
Sinn Fein councillor Chris Andrews climbed Dublin City Hall
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Sinn Fein councillor Chris Andrews climbed Dublin City Hall this evening during a protest following Catalonia's independence referendum in Spain.

Mr Andrews attended the protest alongside Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.

The former Fianna Fail TD for the Dublin South-East constituency between 2007 and 2011, said he climbed the building in order to hang a Catalonian flag from City Hall.

"I wanted to show solidarity with the people of Catalonia who have been brutalised and bullied by the Spanish government. As an EU country, we should have sympathy to democracy."

The rally took place before tonight’s Dublin City Council meeting.

"There was a great turmout. It was good to see such a big crowd showing their support."

Sinn Fein councillor Chris Andrews climbed Dublin City Hall
Sinn Fein councillor Chris Andrews climbed Dublin City Hall

More than 800 people were injured on Sunday as riot police attacked peaceful protesters and unarmed civilians gathered to cast their ballots.

After the polls closed, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said Catalonia had "won the right to become an independent state," adding that he would keep his pledge to declare independence unilaterally from Spain if the "yes" side wins.

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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