Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Was Thatcher the first PM to ruin unionism?

It may not seem appropriate just now to examine the late Mrs Thatcher's motives in signing the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement that so upset unionists, but it is essential to understanding her psyche.

She later said she regretted signing the agreement, which effectively gave equal status to the nationalist tradition in Northern Ireland.

What is concealed in this public dialogue is Mrs Thatcher's response after the Brighton bomb in 1984, when she was almost killed by the IRA.

We must ask if any political leader could live with that threat hanging over them and we must fill in the gaps by saying that there can be little doubt that she signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement as a means of addressing this threat.

So did she bow to the IRA?

The Rev Ian Paisley can call Mrs Thatcher "great" all he likes, but was she the first Prime Minister to effectively destroy the unionist position?

JOHN O'CONNELL

Derry

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