“Events in Ireland dominated and defined Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister” - John Hume

PACEMAKER BELFAST      ARCHIVE'1985'Secretary of State Tom King (centre) as Margaret Thatcher and Garrett Fitzgerald sign the Anglo Irish agreement
PACEMAKER BELFAST ARCHIVE'1985'Secretary of State Tom King (centre) as Margaret Thatcher and Garrett Fitzgerald sign the Anglo Irish agreement

Former SDLP leader John Hume has spoken of the many political clashes he had with former British Prim Minster Margaret Thatcher.

Speaking after news of Baroness Thatcher’s death today, Mr Hume said: “Events in Ireland dominated and defined Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister.

“Her hardline, belligerent and uncompromising approach during the Hunger Strikes won her few friends among Nationalists.

“There is no doubt that her actions caused great hurt and harm. As a result she remained an extremely divisive figure and we clashed politically on many occasions over our differing views on how to achieve a peaceful solution to the situation in the North.

“However, with the help of American influence, she had the strength to withstand Unionist intransigence and sign up to the Anglo Irish Agreement.

“This was a significant move and a key foundation stone in the beginning of our Peace Process which culminated in the signing of the Good Friday Agreement 15 years ago tomorrow.”

Mr Hume also extended sympathies to the Thatcher family.