Libya’s $50m for IRA to kill Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was top of the IRA's hit list for many years
Margaret Thatcher was top of the IRA's hit list for many years

Libya had a plan to give $50 million to the IRA in return for killing Margaret Thatcher, newly released Irish State papers have revealed.

The startling report is contained in the latest batch of secret documents released by the Irish government in recent days under the 30-year rule.

It relates to a meeting between the Irish ambassador to Rome, Eamon Kennedy, and Saad Muzber, Libya’s chief of protocol, which took place in Tripoli in 1986.

Following comments made by Libyan Major General Ahmed Jalloud, the ambassador had been directed to tell the Libyan authorities that Dublin had “grave concern about any support or renewal of support by Libya for the Provisional IRA”.

Ambassador Kennedy told his hosts that “the IRA is the enemy of the Irish State” and such support was “unacceptable,” according to the RTE report on the papers.

News Letter journalists reported on the release of the equivalent papers in Belfast while state files in London were examined by the Press Association.

Detailing the ambassador’s account of his meeting with the official on June 21, it quotes Mr Kennedy as saying Mr Muzber “is more than a chief of protocol. He is very close to Gaddafi and is the political link between the people’s committees and the foreign office”.

During the exchange, Mr Muzber blamed prime minister Thatcher for aiding US president Ronald Reagan during attacks on the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.

“Thatcher and her children will have to pay, let there be no doubt about that,” Mr Muzber said. “If she does not leave office she and her family will be destroyed.”

At the time of the meeting, Libya was believed to have ceased its active support for the IRA because of reports that innocent civilians were suffering as a result of the terror campaign.

Mr Muzber was reported to have been “screaming, weeping and sweating all at once,” at times during the meeting which last around two hours.

“But towards the end he said something to which I took serious exception,” the Irish ambassador stated.

“He said that at the next popular congress he would advocate, despite all I had said, full support for the IRA against Thatcher. ‘What could the IRA not do, he asked, if they had $50 million to use against Thatcher’?” Mr Kennedy added.

The ambassador regarded the threat as sufficiently serious to say that it would impair Irish-Libyan relations and expressed alarm that “Libya will reactivate its support for the IRA in Britain and will endeavour to murder Thatcher and her family. Two hours with Saad Muzber made that quite clear”.