Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has called on the Spanish Government to respect the will of the Catalan people and recognise their democratic right to have a referendum on independence.

Crowe was speaking after the Catalan President signed a decree today calling for an independence referendum to be held on 9 November. The Spanish Government has said it will block any democratic vote on independence.

Deputy Crowe said:

“In the 2012 Catalan elections the people of Catalonia gave pro-independence parties a majority in parliament and on 11 September 2014 two million people marched on the streets of Barcelona for their right to vote in an independence referendum.

“On 19 September Catalan MPs voted 106 to 28 in favour of authorising the referendum.

“Spain can no longer ignore the will of the Catalan people and reject their democratic wishes.

“The independence referendum in Scotland was a victory for democracy and showed how people relished the opportunity to vote on important issues of self-determination. Referendums like this should be encouraged and not banned.

“Catalonia has a right to decide its own future and the Spanish Government should respect the democratic will of Catalans.”