Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams: Margaret Thatcher's Irish policies prologned hostilities in Northern Ireland
Irish Republican leader Gerry Adams said Monday Margaret Thatcher's Irish policies had failed "miserably" and prolonged hostilities in Northern Ireland.
"Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British Prime Minister," the Sinn Fein leader said in an e-mailed statement following the death of Thatcher Monday. "In Ireland, her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering."
The Northern Ireland assembly was revived in May 2007 as part of a deal that saw the Irish Republican Army, which Sinn Fein supported, give up its arsenal in 2005 and pledge to work toward its goal of a united Ireland by peaceful means. Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish agreement with the Irish government in 1985, which aimed to help bring an end to hostilities in the province by giving the Irish government an advisory role in Northern Ireland's affairs.
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Adams's comments differ from those of other Northern Irish and British leaders. Britain's Labour party leader Ed Miliband said Thatcher was a "huge figure on the world stage" who had reshaped the politics of a generation.
Northern Ireland's unionist First Minister Peter Robinson said in a statement that while his party disagreed with Thatcher on the Anglo-Irish agreement, she was commited to the union of Northern Ireland and Great Britain. About 3,500 people were killed during the so-called "troubles" which spanned three decades.