July 1981


Uncovering the Truth About the 1981 Hunger Strike

Thatcher’s Secret Channel & Deal to End Hunger Strike (1999)

No headline or by-line. Dated 17 Oct 1999

Margaret Thatcher – who vowed never to negotiate with terrorists – used a secret channel between the IRA and MI5 as far back as the 1981 hunger strike to offer republicans a deal to end the prison fast.

The link between MI5 and the IRA, the former Derry priest Denis Bradley, confirmed yesterday that Thatcher also approved of clandestine talks which led to the Northern Ireland peace process in early 1990.

Bradley said she knew that a senior MI5 officer, Robert McLarnon, had been holding talks with him and the IRA leadership during the hunger strike. According to Bradley, these contacts were resumed with Thatcher’s knowledge before she was deposed as Tory leader in November 1990.

Bradley said yesterday: ‘I was actually in the room with Robert McLarnon and IRA leaders when a phone call came from a European summit during the hunger strike. Thatcher was at a European summit but kept in contact with us by phone.

‘An offer was made to republicans to end the hunger strike; it was actually a better deal than the one they eventually settled for. At the time the republican movement was not in control, it was the prisoners who were in control.

‘As far as I remember the offer was made after the second hunger striker, Francis Hughes, died. What we were being told was that this was the Prime Minister’s last offer on the hunger strike.’

On the 1990 talks, Bradley said Lady Thatcher was aware that the channel had been activated to explore whether the IRA wanted to end their violence.

Sourced from the Guardian website

Category: 1999, Margaret Thatcher, Mountain Climber

Tagged: , ,

One Response

  1. […] being told was that this was the Prime Minister’s last offer on the hunger strike.” – Denis Bradley, quoted in The Guardian, 17 October 1999 “John Devereux, who died later in the Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash, was meant to have […]


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