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Dialogue only way forward to resolve the dispute between Catalonia and Spain - Adams

24 October, 2017 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams speaking in the Dáil this evening on the issue of Catalonia said:

“The dispute between the people of Catalonia and the Spanish state over independence will only be resolved through dialogue.

"Thus far, the Spanish government is refusing to open a dialogue without the Catalans acquiescing to preconditions, including an acceptance that any talk of independence is illegal under Spanish law. That is the wrong approach. And I make no apologies for saying that. It’s not that long ago since it was illegal to espouse a united Ireland or an anti-partitionist view. And the crisis has deepened

"The refusal of the Spanish government to embrace dialogue is justified by them on the premise that these issues are an internal matter for the Spanish state. And that is echoed by some of the comments here today.

"That is exactly the pretext used by the British state for decades to prevent a scrutiny of British rule in the North.

"The international community, especially the European Union, must directly engage with the Spanish and Catalan governments and seek to broker a mediation process to hammer out an agreement that is democratic and peaceful and avoids conflict. Any refusal to do this puts at risk the possibility of reaching a peaceful solution to what is a very complex situation.

"The Taoiseach has said in this chamber that he supports the need for dialogue and negotiations. He also said that he would put his views and concerns directly to Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy at an appropriate time.

"The European Council meeting at the end of last week provided the Taoiseach with such an opportunity. The Taoiseach should outline the approach he took at this meeting.

"Did the Taoiseach promote the imperative of dialogue as the means of addressing the problems as he said he would?

"Did he speak directly to the Spanish Prime Minister on this matter as he committed to do? Did he impress upon Mr Rajoy, the view of the Irish government, that inclusive talks present the best way forward?

"We in Ireland know that dialogue works. We know that there are broad principles involved. 

"The process must be inclusive, with all parties treated as equals and all mandates respected. 

"These are the principles that worked in our situation.

"All issues must be on the agenda, with nothing agreed until everything is agreed.

"There can be no preconditions and no vetoes.

"Participants should be prepared to take risks and engage in initiatives to advance the process.

"There should be no attempt to predetermine the outcome or preclude any outcome, and there should be a timeframe.

"The role of the international community is vital, because international experience shows that the participation and encouragement of international actors in any process of negotiation and mediation can be the difference between success and failure.”

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