Sinn Féin’s President calls on the Irish Taoiseach to speak in favour of the Catalan political prisoners and exiles

Mary Lou McDonald wants the Spanish government to start negotiations with the Catalan political leaders and defends amnesty to put and end to repression

The President of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald, has sent a letter to Ireland’s Taoiseach or Prime Minister, Micheál Martin, asking him to intervene in favour of the democratic rights of the Catalans, the release of the political prisoners and the return of the exiles, as well as an end to repression by means of an amnesty.

Ms McDonald conveyed her concern to the Taoiseach about the imprisonment of the Catalan leaders and representatives, and her conviction that Spain has chosen “aggression and intransigence” instead of negotiation. “The dispute between the people of Catalonia and the Spanish state over the independence will not be resolved through incarceration and repression. It will only be resolved through inclusive and meaningful dialogue,” said Ms McDonald, and for this dialogue to take place, she said it was “critically important that the international community plays its part.”

The leader of Sinn Fein therefore asks the Taoiseach to do all he can “to encourage the Spanish government to engage in comprehensive, good faith negotiations with the democratically elected political leaders in Catalonia, acknowledging the national and democratic rights of the Catalan people.”

Alongside this, she urged the resolution of issues such as the immediate release of political prisoners, the return of the exiles and an end to the repressive measures deployed by the Spanish state. “The introduction of an amnesty would represent an important first step towards developing a solution,” she said.

She concluded the letter by stating that “it is imperative that Ireland now shows leadership in encouraging the Spanish government that dialogue and mediation is the only way to resolve this crisis.