Thatcher said RCs doomed to exclusion

Margaret Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher.

Margaret Thatcher told Garret FitzGerald Catholics were doomed to exclusion from political power in Northern Ireland like all minorities in places where politics were defined by religion or race.

She is reported to have made the comments at Chequers when debating the prospect of the introduction of power-sharing here in 1984.

A confidential record of the Anglo-Irish Summit of November 1984, reveals the two Prime Ministers differed on the question of a new political framework in Northern Ireland.

“On this, the Taoiseach had repeatedly reverted to the subject of power-sharing, which was anathema to the Unionists,” a newly-released account of the meeting reveals.

“The Prime Minister said that she had pointed out that exclusion from the exercise of power was a fate shared by all minorities when political parties were based on religion or race.”

According to the same minute it was agreed the Government could not impose a political framework on Northern Ireland and that it could only encourage talks.