Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Thatcher proposed sending Northern Ireland Catholics to the Republic

Margaret Thatcher once horrified her advisers when she suggested shipping Catholics from Northern Ireland to the Republic as solution to the Troubles.

Riots : Belfast. August 1969.  Barricades in Divis Street, a man talks to troops over the barricade.  (16/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Barricades in Divis Street, a man talks to troops over the barricade. (16/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. A woman has her message bag searched before being allowed to re-enter the sealed off area after doing her shopping. (16/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. An uprooted telephone kiosk on the Falls Road. (16/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Divis Street (16/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. A wedding taxi is searched at Divis Street. The bridegroom, Mr. P. Gribbon, who was on his way to the wedding in St. Peter's Pro. Cathedral in the sealed-off area. (16/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. 18/8/69.
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Belfast Corporation workmen inflate the tyres of one of the buses which was taken from the depot at Ardoyne and used to block streets in the area. More than 20 buses have been recovered to date. (18/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. One of the fifty buses driven from the Belfast Corporation depot at Ardoyne for use as street barricades, is removed by workmen after the tyres were inflated and engine repairs made. (18/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. A lone soldier, armed with a sub-machine gun, stands in a pile of rubble beside the shell of a burnt-out public house. This troublespot is the junction of Hooker Street and Crumlin Road, Belfast. (18/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Buildings reduced to rubble in the riots on the Falls Road in Belfast. 19/8/
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. A soldier on traffic duty at the junction of the Crumlin Road and Woodvale Road, Belfast. 19/8/69
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Piles of rubble at the side of the Falls Road, Belfast. All that remian of one of the buildings destroyed during the rioting. (19/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Piles of rubble litter the Falls Road, Belfast. In the background is a crane being used for demolition work. (19/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Smoke still coming from the rubble of a building at the corner of Percy Street and Falls Road, Belfast, destroyed during the rioting. (19/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Relief supplies from the YMCA arrive at the Methodist Church Relief Centre in Agnes Street, Belfast. (19/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. All that remains of a public house which was burnt out at Falls Road, Belfast, during the rioting. (19/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Corporation workmen guarded by troops remove the barricade at Herbert Street while engineers arrive to retrieve a bus used as a barricade. (19/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. This was the motorists view driving down the Falls Road, as normality seemed to come back to the area. (19/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Falls Road aftermath: a motorists view of the severly damaged area of West Belfast. (19/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. (20/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. (20/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. The clearing up goes on after the riots of last week. The devastated scene was taken at the corner of Dover Street, Belfast. (20/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. (20/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. (20/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Donegall Road barricade: The army restricting barricade at the end of the M1 motorway at Belfast which replaces the one erected by the citizens to stop the traffic entering the area. (22/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Children playing in the sentry box erected by vigilantes at Thames Street, Belfast. The box is used by the residents who guard the street during the hours of darkness. (23/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Labour MP's visit riot areas in Belfast. 24/8/69
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Labour MP's visit riot areas in Belfast. 24/8/69
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. A sentry looks on as Labour M.P. Gerry Fitt conducting Labour M.P's from Westminster around the Falls Road area, Belfast. (24/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. The scene in the Clonard area of the Falls Road as M.P's from Westminster go on a tour of the devasted streets. (24/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Police move in after milk bottles were thrown from the flats at Unity Place, Peters Hill, Belfast at a crowd of people on the Shankill Road waiting for the Junior Orangemen to march past. (2/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Members of the Junior Orangemen pass through crowds of onlookers beside the Unity place flats at Peter's Hill. (2/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Aftermath of last night's rioting in Belfast. 3/8/69
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Aftermath of Saturday night's rioting in Belfast. 3/8/69
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Pyre of smoke rises from the burnt out cars set alight on the protestant Shankill Road, Belfast, after rioters fought fierce battles with police. 3/8/69
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Aftermath of Saturday nights rioting in Belfast, sawn telegraph pole. (3/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Police with batons drawn rioters on Belfast's 'protestant' Shankill Road area. (3/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Aftermath of riots (3/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Aftermath of riots in Belfast (3/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Workmen clear up the wreakage after the week-end of riots on the Shankill Road. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Hooker Street, Belfast, and the remains of a massive fortress of flagstones ripped from the pavement. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. House-holder moves his furniture across the Crumlin Road in the Hooker Street area, as Protestants and Roman Catholics exchange homes. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Still smiling, in spite of his shattered window, shopkeeper Mr. Tom Brown puts eggs on display. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. The road into Unity Walk flats is blocked with a massive fortress of garage doors ripped off from the new parking area, flagstones and planks of wood. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. A bulldozer clears away the remains of a barricade consisting of flagstones from the middle of the road at Butler Street, which is at the top end of Hooker Street. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. All that is left of the cars in the burnt out garage in Christopher Street, Peter's Hill, Belfast which was destroyed by fire during the riots at the weekend. (4/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Flames and smoke pour from a lorry which was set on fire in Hooker Street, Belfast. 5/8/1969.
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Flames and smoke pour from a lorry which was set on fire in Hooker Street, Belfast. 5/8/1969.
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Burnt out Wine Lodge at Broom Street, Belfast. (5/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Smoke still billows out of a factory on the Falls Road, which was severely damaged by fire when trouble broke out in Belfast last night. 14/8/69.
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. One of the many shops on the Falls Road which have had to be boarded up after windows were smashed following trouble in the city last night. 14/8/69
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. The car showroom on the Falls Road which was destroyed by fire during the rioting in Belfast last night. (14/8/69)
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Ronald Kirkpatrick of 131 Crumlin Road, in front of his burnt out house. 15/8/69.
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Grahams betting office on the corner of Disraeli Street and Crumlin Road, which was damaged by fire. 15/8/69
Riots : Belfast. August 1969. Aftermath of the riots in Divis Street. (15/8/69)

The Iron Lady made the bizarre proposal in 1985, just a year after she was nearly killed in the IRA's Brighton bomb.

In late-night talks with her advisers, the Baroness said the Oliver Cromwell-style approach would not only solve the Troubles but content nationalists who “wanted to be” in the south.

The divisive recommendation was revealed by British diplomat Sir David Goodall, then adviser to Prime Minister Thatcher.

In 2001 he told a BBC documentary: “She said, if the northern [Catholic] population want to be in the south, well why don't they move over there?

“After all, there was a big movement of population in Ireland, wasn't there?

Sir David added: “Nobody could think what it was.

“So finally I said, are you talking about Cromwell, prime minister?

“She said, that's right, Cromwell.”

Cromwell — dubbed the Butcher of Ireland — was responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands in the 1640s and 1650s. His forces hounded virtually all Catholic landowners from Ulster through Parliamentary invasion.

The 15th political leader is seen as a hate figure among nationalists — much like Lady Thatcher, whose death saw republican street parties across the province.

The Conservative Prime Minister’s “outrageous” plan did not stop at reviving the memory of Cromwell. She also called for the province’s border with the Republic to be redrawn because it was too difficult to patrol.

Sir Charles Powell, her then private secretary, also told the programme: “She thought that if we had a straight line border, not one with all those kinks and wiggles in it, it would be easier to defend.”

Despite being told of the folly of her idea, Thatcher refused to abandon it and called for a “security zone” on both sides of the border to help the British Army and RUC prevent IRA terrorists slipping over the border after attacks.

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