Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Church doesn't seem forgiving over baroness Thatcher

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Mrs Thatcher talks to Siobhan O'Hars (left) and Katherine O'Hare during her visit to Rathmore Grammar School, Finaghy.  19/6/1978
BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Mrs Thatcher talks to Siobhan O'Hars (left) and Katherine O'Hare during her visit to Rathmore Grammar School, Finaghy. 19/6/1978 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a party to mark her death in central London's Trafalgar square, Saturday, April 13, 2013
A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a party to mark her death in central London's Trafalgar square, Saturday, April 13, 2013
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland.  Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory.   6/3/1981
BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE

THERE has been much debate in the newspapers regarding Margaret Thatcher's legacy. At the moment, all judgment is based on subjective opinion, which varies depending on a person's age and on personal experience of life in the 1980s.

Coal miners from south Wales, industrial workers from the Tyneside, IRA prisoners on hunger strike – all possess wildly differing views.

I was a fan neither of Margaret Thatcher nor her policies but, in winning the Falklands War, she brought down the odious regime of General Galtieri and democracy returned to Argentina. Political prisoners that would otherwise have been executed were released.

She also contributed to detente through her meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev, leading to a process which eventually ended the Cold War.

The rush to judgment we are witnessing, scant days after her death, is too hasty. Both time and hindsight will make a more accurate assessment.

There is, however, one exception. A Catholic church in Co Dublin has decided Mrs T is beyond salvation. I arranged for Mass to be said on April 16 – the day before her funeral. The curate entered the details into the Mass book and accepted my stipend.

However, the next day, the Mass was cancelled with no notice, or reason provided.

I thought that the message of Jesus Christ was that forgiveness is open to all. Well, that message does not appear to have reached this corner of Ireland, where Mrs T is definitely persona non grata – alive or dead.

EAMON REID

Co Dublin

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