Sinn Féin’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD, has expressed his party’s concern at the pending prosecution of Ms Carme Forcadell, the Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia, by the Spanish authorities.

Deputy Crowe said:

“The Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia, Ms Carme Forcadell, has been summoned to appear before the High Court on Friday 16 December. She is to be prosecuted for allegedly violating Spanish law by allowing a Parliamentary debate and vote on altering the Spanish constitution, in relation to Catalan independence.

“If found guilty, Ms Forcadell could be subject to debarment from public office and a personal fine.

“Ms Forcadell, by facilitating a public debate on the live issue of Catalan independence, is somehow seen to be guilty of a crime by the Spanish authorities. They are proposing to take the unprecedented step to potentially remove and fine her for facilitating a debate in an elected chamber. This is hugely concerning, is an attack on democracy, and sets a dangerous precedent.”

Crowe continued:

“The prosecution of the Speaker of a democratic legislative body for facilitating a debate on such an important and popular issue puts at risk the very democratic standards that people hold dear throughout the world.

“I am calling on the Spanish Government, even at this late stage, to reconsider the pending prosecution of Ms. Forcadell.

“The Spanish Government needs to resolve its disagreements with the Catalan Parliament, including on an independence referendum, through a process of mutual dialogue and respect. They cannot arbitrarily stifle, ignore, or ban the democratic demands of a people who are seeking alternative structures outside the current Spanish State.

“The pending prosecution of Ms Forcadell is wrong and the proceedings should stop.”