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Anglo Irish Agreement Thatcher

The Anglo-Irish Agreement signed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald on November 15, 1985, was a landmark event in the history of British-Irish relations. The agreement established a framework for cooperation between the UK and the Republic of Ireland on matters related to Northern Ireland, which had been the site of political and sectarian violence for decades.

At the time of the agreement, Thatcher was facing criticism from both within her own Conservative party and from unionists in Northern Ireland who saw the agreement as a betrayal of their interests. The agreement recognized the role of the Irish government in the affairs of Northern Ireland and gave Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland the right to be treated as equal to British citizens.

The agreement also established the Intergovernmental Conference, which provided a forum for regular meetings between the British and Irish governments to discuss issues related to Northern Ireland. This was a significant departure from the previous policy of excluding the Irish government from any involvement in Northern Ireland affairs.

Proponents of the agreement argued that it was a necessary step towards resolving the conflict in Northern Ireland and that it demonstrated a willingness on the part of the UK government to find a peaceful solution. However, opponents argued that the agreement undermined the sovereignty of the UK and that it gave too much importance to the Irish government.

Despite the controversy surrounding the agreement, it remained in place and was ultimately seen as a positive development in the peace process in Northern Ireland. The framework established by the agreement was built upon in subsequent negotiations, leading to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which brought an end to the conflict.

In conclusion, the Anglo-Irish Agreement signed by Margaret Thatcher and Garret FitzGerald was a significant moment in the history of British-Irish relations and provided a framework for cooperation on Northern Ireland that ultimately contributed to the peace process. While controversial at the time, it is now viewed as an important step towards resolving the conflict and finding a peaceful solution.

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