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Government minister Halligan says Ireland needs to call in Spanish ambassador to condemn police violence

A new poll, meanwhile, suggests that most Irish people think that Catalans should be allowed to pursue independence from Spain.

JOHN Halligan has called on the gardaí to question the surviving Bon Secour nuns who worked in the Tuam mother and baby home. John Halligan

INDEPENDENT TD AND Minister for Training and Skills John Halligan has called on the government to address the Spanish ambassador directly with regard to the violence perpetrated by police in Catalonia at the weekend.

In the region of 800 people received medical attention following Sunday’s controversial independence referendum in the north-eastern Spanish region, which saw Spanish police and riot officers deployed in an attempt to halt polling.

Halligan’s words do cite Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s own statements yesterday, in which he insisted that Ireland would not acknowledge the result of the referendum, which saw 90% of those voting choose independence from Spain for Catalonia.

The “government should condemn (the) Catalan violence to (the) Spanish ambassador”, Halligan said, to “convey its horror at voters in any democracy being dragged from polling stations”.

“No matter what one’s views are on the legitimacy of the referendum, I cannot accept that the use of violence by the police force against peaceful voters is necessary in any situation,” he said.

Catalan independence referendum Protesters clashing with Spanish national police in Barcelona on Sunday 1 October Almagro / ABACA Almagro / ABACA / ABACA

The response by police against the Catalan voters was utterly disproportionate and this needs to be conveyed to the Spanish ambassador in the strongest possible terms.

There had been calls from some opposition politicians yesterday for Ireland to condemn the violence seen during the weekend’s vote.

Varadkar yesterday said that Spain is a “friend and ally” of Ireland, adding that he was “distressed” by the scenes of violence.

He said he didn’t believe violence provides solutions, adding that it only leads to “radicalisation”.

He also said that Ireland recognised the territorial unity of Spain, and will not accept the result of the referendum.

A poll conducted last night, meanwhile, by Amárach Research for RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live, suggests that most Irish people think that the citizens of Catalonia should be allowed to pursue independence from Spain, should they so wish.

Asked “do you support the right of the citizens of Catalonia to vote to pursue political independence from Spain?’, 65% of the 1,000 adult respondents said yes.

10% said no, while the remaining 25% said that they don’t know.

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