Terms Of The Anglo Irish Agreement 1985
December 18, 2020
Sean Donlon, the Secretary General of the State Department, went on to say that “Reagan`s intervention was crucial and made possible by Tip.”  Michael Lillis, Deputy Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1983 to 1985, also stated that “O`Neill has been very active and effective in mobilizing the President. And there is no doubt that Reagan`s regular references in his interaction with Thatcher helped us a lot.  The agreement was signed on 15 November 1985 at Hillsborough Castle by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish Prime Minister Garret FitzGerald.  The agreement represents a radical change in The position of Prime Minister Thatcher. During her first term, she placed the utmost importance on maintaining British sovereignty in Northern Ireland. In her first meeting with FitzGerald, after becoming Prime Minister in 1981, she noted that she considered the North “as British as Finchley” and was referring to her own constituency in the south of England. FitzGerald replied that Britain had not deployed thousands of troops to Finchley, nor had a secretary of state in the cabinet for Finchley`s affairs. An Irish official described Mrs Thatcher as “the last true trade unionist.” Their strict and inflexive management of the IRA hunger strike in 1981 had led to an increase in support for the IRA within the Catholic nationalist community. This encouraged Sinn Fein to return to the contested elections. Their relative success alerted the SDLP and the major parties of the Republic, and their response was the New Ireland Forum. Meanwhile, Prior tried to set in motion the relaunched assembly.
If one of the main Unionist parties in 1982-83 had been willing to consider a power-sharing with the SDLP, they would have been ready to enter the Assembly. However, for almost a generation of crises, the Unionists and their leaders could not understand that they had to either agree with the SDLP at the regional level or face some kind of intervention by the Dublin government on behalf of the nationalist minority. Trade unionists stubbornly refused to share power with their Catholic neighbours and remained even more suspicious of the Dublin government. To dramatize their assertion that the agreement is contrary to the democratic atmosphere of the province, the trade unionists, who held 15 of Northern Ireland`s 17 seats in the House of Commons, resigned as a group. There was some risk in this manoeuvre, since four of the Unionist seats are in nationalist zones.