Without defence forces many foreign investors, and tourism companies, may not take the risk of doing business with an independent Catalonia. Why take a chance when there are many more secure environments available? At present, as part of Spain, Catalonia ticks all the security boxes, as it is under the protection of the Spanish Army, Navy and Airforce.

It is too late to create an army when you are attacked. It takes years to create one, and decades to achieve the level of professionalism of modern European armed forces.

All 28 Member States of the EU have armies, most have navies and air forces, and all recognise the clear separation of police and military functions.

The Mossos d’Esquadra is a fine police force but it should not try to be an army as well.

Dorcha Lee is a Colonel of the Irish Defence Forces (retired) and co-author of the book Política de defensa i Estat propi (in Catalan). Graduate of the Irish Military College, US Army Infantry School and the Infantry School of the French Army. He has taken part in UN peacekeeping missions to Cyprus, Libya, Syria, Israel, Iraq and Somalia. He has also acted as representative of the Irish military in Brussels.