Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has had an online meeting with two of the jailed Catalan pro-independence leaders: ERC party leader Oriol Junqueras and former Catalan foreign minister Raül Romeva, who spoke to the Irish peacemaker from Lledoners prison in Catalonia where they are incarcerated for their part in the 2017 independence process. Adams reiterated his support for the Catalan struggle.
"You know you have our support. The links between the struggles of the Catalan and Irish people go back a long way," said the retired Irish politician. "I myself was imprisoned for Christmas, and it's not a pleasant place to be. But the knowledge that you're right will I hope be some small consolation for you. And when you look back on these days, you'll see them as an almost necessary phase of the struggle to win freedom for your people. So I wish you well," he told them.
🎥 [VÍDEO] Gerry Adams @GerryAdamsSF, expresident del @sinnfeinireland, es reuneix amb l'Oriol @junqueras i @raulromeva i trasllada el seu suport 💪 als #presospolítics i la lluita del poble català 👫— Esquerra Republicana (@Esquerra_ERC) December 23, 2020
➕ Més informació aquí 👇https://t.co/9eRd1TOFgI pic.twitter.com/ZDxgsZInFE
The trajectory of Gerry Adams
Adams was accused by British authorities of being an important figure in the Provisional IRA in the 1970s, a few years after joining the Sinn Féin party. He has always denied this accusation. Nevertheless, Adams was imprisoned in 1972 on the British prison ship Maidstone. He was released shortly afterwards in order to take part in the peace talks that year, but was arrested again in 1973. He was then in the Long Kesh prison until 1978.
In 1984, Adams was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt by several gunmen from an armed unionist group. From the late 1980s on, he was a key figure in the peace process in Northern Ireland, maintaining contacts with the then Social Democratic and Labour leader John Hume and later with the Irish and British governments.
Adams was president of Sinn Féin until 2018, when he retired and give way to his successor, Mary Lou McDonald.
Junqueras's MEP status, increasingly distant
A few days ago the European Union's General Court refused to admit Oriol Junqueras' appeal against the European Parliament's decision to declare his seat vacant. The EU court of first instance, in Luxembourg, concluded that the European Parliament had no competence to review the decision of the Spanish authorities on the annulment of the mandate of the ERC leader as an MEP.
In addition, the General Court said that the European chamber could not oppose the decision of the Spanish Supreme Court which suspended Junqueras's mandate as an MEP due to his conviction in the Catalan independence trial, despite the recognition by the European Court of Justice a year ago that Oriol Junqueras had been properly elected as an MEP and was consequently protected by parliamentary immunity from prosecution.