Republican Youth address Catalan University independence event in Barcelona
A delegation of 30 Sinn Féin Republican Youth activists from across the island are currently in Barcelona taking part in a delegation with the Catalan youth movement, JERC ahead of Mondays 'National Day' celebrations.
Read Aodhan Hamill's address to "The Universities of Europe in front of the Referendum" organised by Universitats per la República.
Let me first thank you for inviting us to participate in this event, at what is a very important and historic time for Catalunya. We are honoured to share this time with you.
The old, established European order is crumbling. Brexit, the disgraceful treatment of the Greek people, and the refugee crisis have all shaken the European neoliberal status quo to its core. It now seeks refuge in the toxic politics of the far-right, as evidenced by the growth of racism and xenophobia across the continent.
The Irish and Catalans share a unique bond of a people struggling for freedom. That bond is felt in every conversation and on every street corner of Barcelona. In defiance of the Catholic Church hierarchy, and the conservative forces dominating Ireland at the time, many Irish came to fight with the International Brigades during the civil war, against the disease of fascism and in defence of democracy.
We bring that same spirit of solidarity today.
As republicans, we are engaged in a united struggle to build a progressive, inclusive, and socialist Republic. A Republic that, as stated in our 1916 proclamation, will truly cherish all the children of our two nations equally. The obstacle in our way in imperialism; British and Spanish. They hark back to an extinct, disgraced imperial past and will try to cling to power by any means necessary.
We are also united in our commitment to the principle of self-determination. The Catalan people have displayed their will to be free on numerous occasions; in 2014 when over 70% of people voted for independence, in 2015 with the decisive parliamentary victory of Junts pel Sí, and I have no doubt you will do so again on October 1st this year.
The path taken by the Catalan government has followed democratic best practices, and a referendum on independence is the greatest form of direct democracy. The Spanish government's refusal to engage and to recognise the referendum process constitutes a denial of fundamental rights.
The Catalan people deserve the right to determine their future. As far as we are concerned, the Spanish state has forfeited any legitimacy in Catalunya.
Britain's departure from the European Union will have an extremely negative affect on Ireland. It also represents the biggest shake up to Irish politics since the disastrous partition of the island 100 years ago. It presents a unique opportunity to forge a new path for Ireland, by calling our own referendum on Irish Unity. For this we will look to our Catalan comrades for example, and for support which we can always count on.
To finish, let me quote the great Irish rebel Robert Emmet, who upon being sentenced to death for leaving the 1803 uprising against British rule in Ireland said; "when my nation takes her places among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written."
Per Catalunya, la propera nació d'Europa!