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Margaret Thatcher 'wrote note to hunger strikers'

By Rebecca Black

Margaret Thatcher was in direct communication with the IRA during the 1981 hunger strikes, a television documentary is set to claim.

A note purporting to have been sent to the prisoners in the former Prime Minister's handwriting will be shown on TV for the first time in a programme to be screened tomorrow night.

The note includes a warning that the communication must not be made public, and if it is, it will be denied.

Mrs Thatcher denied talking to the IRA during her tenure as Prime Minister although she sanctioned negotiations with the IRA in 1990, her final year in Downing Street. Now it has emerged that she was talking to IRA prisoners as early as 1981 when the hunger strikes in which 10 men would die brought mayhem to the streets.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told the BBC programme – Thatcher and The IRA: Dealing With Terror – that Mrs Thatcher could have ended the hunger strikes before anyone died.

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