NI’s top civil servants warned against ‘fatally flawed’ Anglo-Irish Agreement

Sir Kenneth Bloomfield with Margaret Thatcher.

Sir Kenneth Bloomfield with Margaret Thatcher.

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Government files declassified under the 20-year-rule show that the then head of the Civil Service — and the NIO’s top official — repeatedly expressed profound reservations about the Anglo-Irish Agreement in the period leading up to the accord being signed.

Sir Ken Bloomfield was one of the very few people in Northern Ireland aware of what was happening between the two Governments and, unlike the vast majority of those involved in the negotiations, he was from the Province and therefore understood some of the potential ramifications.

Several internal memos show that what Sir Ken wrote in his book ‘A Tragedy of Errors: The Government and Misgovernment of Northern Ireland’ about his view of the agreement was in line with his internally-stated views at the time.

 

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