Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady

By John Blundell | Go to book overview

17. BATTLING THE I.R.A.

“All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.”

“They [the IRA] should be wiped off the civilised world.”

The IRA terrorists ran their bombing campaign from 1969 to July 2005, finally decommissioning all of their weapons in September 2005. In Northern Ireland (or Ulster) alone over 3,524 people were killed or rather murdered during the “Troubles.” A further 10,000 were injured. Some lost limbs while others had lesser wounds. It is not possible to count the psychological injury to the relatives and families more widely. Very few in Northern Ireland, Protestant or Catholic, remained untouched by the bloodshed during Prime Minister Thatcher’s time in office.

As we read in Chapter 10 Airey Neave, her right hand man, a trusted confidante and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had been killed by an IRA bomb on March 30, 1979 on the ramp leading out of the underground parking lot at the Palace of Westminster. Indeed one of her first duties as Prime Minister was to give the memorial service address for him. After his death she said “I felt like a puppet whose strings had been cut.”

Today there are some trash cans back on the streets of London; windows in pubs are long free of anti glass shrapnel tape; and a bag left

-131-

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Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • List of Acronyms ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Protocol xiii
  • Table of Contents xv
  • Preface 1
  • Introduction 11
  • 1- Childhood 17
  • 2- University 25
  • 3- Launching 35
  • 4- Elected 45
  • 5- Opposition I 53
  • 6- Education Secretary 63
  • 7- Reflections 71
  • 8- Leader 77
  • 9- Opposition II 83
  • 10- Power 89
  • 11- Liberating the Economy 93
  • 12- Privatizing the Commanding Heights 99
  • 13- Selling off Public Housing 107
  • 14- Going to War 113
  • 15- Beating the Miners 121
  • 16- Reforming the Unions 127
  • 17- Battling the I.R.a 131
  • 18- Befriending America 137
  • 19- Kicking Down the Wall 141
  • 20- Dealing with Brussels 147
  • 21- Resignation 155
  • 22- Retirement 165
  • 23- Family 173
  • 24- Men 181
  • 25- Her World 191
  • 26- Ten Lessons 197
  • Postscript- What Remains to Be Done 207
  • Appendix I- Table of Margaret Thatcher’s Elections* 209
  • Appendix II- General Election Results from 1945 -2005 210
  • Further Reading 211
  • Index 213
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