Diarmaid Ferriter: Ireland’s complex ties with Catalonia

Republicans have a long history with Catalan nationalists, despite their significant differences

A demonstrator waves a Catalan separatist flag in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters

A demonstrator waves a Catalan separatist flag in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters

In seeking to smash the ballot boxes and the voters in last Sunday’s referendum on independence for Catalonia, the Spanish authorities inevitably scored a spectacular own goal, and managing the fallout will be tortuous.

It also creates complications for other EU countries, and the news this week that the Irish Cabinet clashed over how to respond was hardly surprising given our own history and the instinctive empathy of many Irish for the right of nationalist regions to self-determination.

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