Support among people in the Republic of Ireland for IRA violence was at its lowest ebb in 1993, the British Ambassador to Dublin said.
In a confidential annual review sent to the Foreign Office in London, Sir David Blatherwick said that the Warrington bombing had “produced extraordinary feelings of revulsion, shame and guilt by association throughout the Republic. I doubt the level of support for violence, or of acquiescence in it, has ever been lower here”.
However, he said that the Downing Street Declaration, like the Hume/Adams talks, “has brought the Provisionals centre-stage. Many here sympathise with calls for ‘clarifications’ and ‘just a little more’”.
Sir David also observed: “If the Irish believe – as they say they do – that the fundamental characteristic of the unionist is his Britishness, they will need to think deeply about the institutions of their state, which reflect overwhelmingly the struggle against Britain.
“There is no sign of radical thinking, especially in government. We should encourage it.
“Squaring the circle will entail hard thinking for HMG too, especially over the implications of equal esteem for both traditions.”
A separate note by Jonathan Stephens, then private secretary to secretary of state Sir Patrick Mayhew and now the NIO’s top official, said that during the secretary of state’s visit to the US in 1994 Massachusetts State Senate president William Bulger told Sir Patrick that “he thought that [Gerry] Adams had not done well in the US: his mystique had been shattered”.