'I personally believe in Catalonian independence' says John Halligan

One of Ireland's senior Government members says he believes in Catalan independence, but it has to be peaceful.

Junior Enterprise Minister John Halligan is contradicting the Taoiseach who claimed Ireland would not recognise the result of the Catalonian referendum which voted in favour of separating from Spain.

The region's sacked president, Carles Puigdemont, is due to make a public appearance in Belgium today after being charged with rebellion.

But John Halligan says he agrees with him.

"I personally believe in Catalonian independence. I always have and I always will," said Mr Halligan.

"I believe they have their own identity, they have their own culture, they have their own heritage. And it goes way back hundreds and hundreds of years.

"What I would say is this: I think that whatever happens, everything has to be done peacefully."

The Minister's words come after two parties heavily criticised the Government’s decision not to recognise the Catalonian independence vote, saying the move is a “travesty” that “ignores our own history”.

Solidarity-People Before Profit and Sinn Féin made the claim after the Department of Foreign Affairs said it continues to “respect the integrity” of a united Spain.

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