Political crisis in Catalonia

 

A chara, – Eamon Kearney (October 7th) wonders whether there would be the same enthusiasm for independence among Catalans and Basques if they “occupied” the poorer regions within the Iberian peninsula. Considering the state of the Irish economy in the years that led up to 1922, presumably Mr Kearney must consequently wonder why the Irish people had an independence movement at all during that period.

Thankfully, however, self-determination for a people is not always about adding the halfpence to the pence. – Is mise,

ERIC CREAN,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – As a Spanish national living in Ireland for many years I was delighted to see the silent majority in Catalonia take to the streets in Barcelona on Sunday. A reported 930,000 Catalans and other Spanish supporters came together in solidarity to demonstrate peacefully their support for the unity of Spain. Most of the main political parties were represented, and the Peruvian writer and Nobel Prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa and Josep Borrell (ex-president of the European Parliament) made wonderful speeches calling for the unity of Spain.

Admittedly the Madrid government made a mistake in sending in riot police to manhandle voters in the illegal referendum the previous Sunday, and the propaganda victory handed to Carles Puigdemont was eagerly lapped up by the foreign press. Hopefully there will now be some recognition of the fact that the majority of Catalans do not want to separate from Spain and they are the victims of an illegal power-grab by Mr Puigdemont and his cronies.

Catalonia is far from being a repressed region and already enjoys a high degree of autonomy and the support of a national government, which have resulted in it being the most prosperous region in Spain. The Catalans’ enthusiasm for their language and individual culture is commendable but unfortunately in recent decades the educational system has directed this enthusiasm towards a hatred of anything “Spanish”.

The populist campaign of Puigdemont has capitalised on this, and unfortunately the majority of Catalans have kept their heads down for far too long.

The demonstration yesterday and the departure of major banks and large companies from Catalonia will hopefully deter the power-hungry Mr Puigdemont from making an illegal declaration of independence, which would be a disaster for Catalonia and the rest of Spain. – Yours, etc,

ELSA GOMEZ

REUS DE RANALOW,

Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Sir, – Gearoid Ó Loinsigh (October 6th) states in relation to the king of Spain that the king “got the job because the fascist dictator Franco appointed his father as king”.

The reality is more complex.

The constitution of Spain was enacted by the people of Spain in a referendum in 1978. The constitution consolidated democracy in Spain and granted autonomy to the regions within it.

Article 1 of the constitution states that the political form of the Spanish state is a parliamentary monarchy.

Article 56 of the constitution states, further, that the king is “the head of state, the symbol of its unity and permanence”.

While it is the case that Juan Carlos was Franco’s chosen successor, it is also the case that the legitimacy of the monarchy was endorsed by the people of Spain with a majority Yes vote across Spain of 92 per cent and within Catalonia itself of 95 per cent. The turnout was 67 per cent of the electorate. – Yours, etc,

DECLAN DOYLE,

Dublin 3.

Sir, – Looking at the situation in Catalonia, is there now a danger that Cork might be tempted to break free and form an independent republic? – Yours, etc,

TIM RYAN,

Dublin 2.