In my constituency of West Tyrone, Sinn Fein activists have been out in force showing as they call it ‘solidarity’ with the Catalan people by organising rallies and protests.
I understand these protests have been replicated in Belfast and Londonderry in the past weeks.
While I for one do not see the point in organising a protest about a Spanish matter in Omagh, Belfast or Londonderry, and feel it’s more about Sinn Fein trying to be seen to be doing something in the absence of an assembly, I can not help but notice a logical flaw in their stance.
Sinn Fein say they are supporting the Catalan people after they expressed their opinion in a vote about their constitutional status.
I however do not recall them protesting with flags of Gibraltar or the Falklands when they too expressed their desire to maintain their links with the UK through a democratic vote.
While the violence in Catalonia is something no people should have to endure, it is not comparable to the Falklands where the democratic will of the people was usurped by a military invasion.
Furthermore I do not expect them to begin waving the union flag when poll after poll suggests that the majority of people here in Northern Ireland want to remain in the UK.
I personally believe that the actions of the Spanish government have been detrimental to their own position, but I also feel that for Northern Irish parties to try and compare what is an extremely complex set of issues and view them through the prism of Northern Irish perspectives threatens to turn every single political struggle in the world into a case of us and them.
It’s horribly over simplistic and fails to take into account the local complexities that make these disputes so complicated.
It makes me cringe when people weigh in on Northern Ireland with ill-informed commentary, unaware of the complexities and sensitivities of our own situation.
Going forward I think its important that Sinn Fein either ditch this attempt to appear whiter than white or they must respect the democratic wishes of all nations, even those who are British and proud of it, like us.
Chris Smyth, Ulster Unionist councillor, Omagh Town