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Thatcher ‘betrayed unionists’ in 1985

Margaret Thatcher greets Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald at Downing Street for talks in 1984.

Margaret Thatcher greets Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald at Downing Street for talks in 1984.

The Anglo-Irish Agreement represented an “appalling betrayal” of unionism by Margaret Thatcher, according to a former senior Irish government official involved in writing the accord.

Michael Lillis said that Secretary of State Tom (now Lord) King had “thought it was totally unfair to the unionists”; however he added of the former military man: “But he did it, like the soldier that he also was.”

In a BBC documentary to be broadcast tonight, Mr Lillis said bluntly: “It was an appalling betrayal of the assumptions, which were well-founded, of unionists that they could always trust a) the Tory Party, but even more than that, the talisman of the Tory Party in terms of unionism, which was Margaret Thatcher.

“They were left in the dark, so this was a deliberate policy. I mean, let me speak as an Irish nationalist; I’m not speaking as a British former official, they would have more polite terms, but I will tell you what the reality was: It was a deliberate, massive betrayal of the unionists by Margaret Thatcher.”

. Thatcher & The IRA: Dealing With Terror will be broadcast on BBC One NI tonight at 9pm

 

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