In relation to the Catalan Referendum, the heavy handed tactics of the Spanish Government and authorities has no place in any democracy, let alone the European Union. Nicola Sturgeon First Minister of Scotland summed it up when she said that she was “Increasingly concerned by images from #Catalonia. Regardless of views on independence, we should all condemn the scenes being witnessed.”

When I spoke on this issue last week in Seanad Éireann I warned that it appeared that Spain was reverting to a ‘General Franco style response’ to the threat posed from the pro Independence movement in the Catalan region.

Some of what we witnessed today on our tv screens and via social media is truly shocking and will do nothing but inflame tensions and harden attitudes. A basic understanding of history tells you that a response like that from the Spanish Government seldom helps the situation. Dialogue is required not the firing of rubber bullets.

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