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Thatcher threat to Dundalk - Adams

30 December, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams commenting on the release of government files in which British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher asked the then Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald, “what would you say if Dundalk were bombed?” said:

“The threat of British forces bombing Dundalk was not some screwball idea from Thatcher. As British Prime Minister, she knew intimately of the involvement of the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) and its Special Branch, the UDR (Ulster Defence Regiment) and of British military and intelligence involvement in illegal and covert actions which killed Irish citizens.

“Collusion involving British state forces and unionist paramilitaries led to the deaths of hundreds of citizens on the island of Ireland. Eleven years prior to the meeting between Thatcher and Fitzgerald in Europe the British had already participated in the Dublin Monaghan bombings which killed 33. Almost exactly ten years before Thatcher’s query about bombing Dundalk, British state collusion had already led to the attack on Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk which killed Jack Rooney and Hugh Watters and wounded scores of others.

“Local man Seamus Ludlow was another victim of this British policy.

“Within two years of the meeting between Thatcher and Fitzgerald, the British government helped unionist paramilitary groups bring in hundreds of rifles, handguns, hand grenades and some rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) which resulted in a significant escalation in the sectarian murder campaign of the UDA, UVF, Red Hand Commando, and Ulster Resistance. Hundreds died, including members of Sinn Féin.

“The government papers make it clear that British government policy was primarily security driven. The Anglo Irish Agreement was essentially about securing greater Irish government support for this policy.

“On the back of a decision that the Ulster Defence Regiment would in future be accompanied by the RUC – a decision that was received with scorn from nationalists in the north - the Taoiseach announced that the ‘nationalist nightmare’ was over.

“The Irish government’s short sighted policy helped sustain violence for years to come. It wasn’t until the Hume/Adams negotiations and the emergence of the Irish peace process that a new dynamic and a new opportunity was created to end violence.”

The Louth TD added:

“The British government’s refusal to properly address the legacy of the past stems largely from its concern that the illegal actions of its military, intelligence and political leadership will be exposed. The Cameron government’s refusal to hold the Pat Finucane Inquiry or provide information in its possession on the Kay’s Tavern and other attacks in this jurisdiction, is to protect those who killed on its behalf and with its sanction.” 

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