Belfast Telegraph

Haughey's charming letter to triumphant Thatcher... and her rigidly formal reply

By Ed Carty

Charles Haughey and Margaret Thatcher were not quite on the same page when it came to exchanging pleasantries.

After the Prime Minister won her third election in 1987, the Taoiseach wrote a charming letter to 10 Downing Street, starting off: "Dear Margaret."

The letters, contained in files released under the 30-year rule, showed the PM's reply was short on Mr Haughey's personal touch.

"Congratulations to you on your historic victory," Mr Haughey wrote. "From our position here, we see it as a well deserved tribute to your great personal qualities, particularly your skill and resolution.

"I look forward to working with you in seeking ways constantly to improve the wide range of cultural, commercial and other relationships between our two countries in the European and wider context and, in particular, to bring an end to divisions in this island and lasting peace and stability to Northern Ireland in the framework which has already been set."

Mrs Thatcher chose a more formal approach and addressed her letter "Dear Mr Haughey".

The rest of the reply was very formal and suggested the two leaders would meet in Brussels with officials to work on the finer details.

Belfast Telegraph

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