Thatcher considered ethnic cleansing of Catholics
Thatcher considered ethnic cleansing of Catholics


Margaret Thatcher once encouraged her advisers to consider a ‘clearance’ of Catholics from the Six Counties as a solution to the conflict, it has been revealed.

The former British Prime Minister, who died last week, made the shock proposal in 1985.

In late-night talks with her advisers, the so-called ‘Iron Lady’ said a Cromwellian approach would deal with nationalists who “wanted to be” in the south.

The suggestion was revealed this week by British diplomat David Goodall, then adviser to Prime Minister Thatcher.

He told a BBC documentary: “She said, if the northern [Catholic] population want to be in the south, well why don’t they move over there?

“After all, there was a big movement of population in Ireland, wasn’t there?

Goodall added: “Nobody could think what it was.

“So finally I said, are you talking about Cromwell, prime minister?

“She said, that’s right, Cromwell.”

Cromwell -- known as ‘the Butcher of Ireland’ -- was responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands in the 1640s and 1650s. His forces hounded virtually all Catholic landowners from the north of Ireland.

In a further suggestion, Thatcher called for border to be redrawn because it had too many ‘kinks and wiggles’.

Ireland was forcibly partitioned by Britain in 1921 along county lines, with Six Ulster counties retained under British rule, while three Ulster counties joined the rest of Ireland in the 26 County state.

Charles Powell, then her private secretary, told the programme: “She thought that if we had a straight line border, not one with all those kinks and wiggles in it, it would be easier to defend.”

Former British Direct Ruler in Ireland, Peter Mandelson also revealed this week that the only thing Margaret Thatcher ever told him was that the Irish were “all liars” and not to be trusted.

He said he had only ever met her once, the day he was appointed.

“She came up to me and she said, ‘I’ve got one thing to say to you, my boy... you can’t trust the Irish, they are all liars’, she said, ‘liars, and that’s what you have to remember, so just don’t forget it’.


The hated British premier, held responsible for the deaths of the 1981 hunger strike and scores of innocent civilians, was burned in effigy in Derry following her state funeral in London on Wednesday.

There were a number of celebratory events and motorcades to mark the funeral, but also more reflective events to commemorate the hunger strikers.

A crowd of several hundred people gathered at Free Derry Corner on Wednesday evening following the funeral in London and a black flag vigil earlier in the day.

The demonstrators, some in fancy dress, cheered as the picture of Baroness Thatcher was set on fire before a large group of press photographers.

Many of the demonstrators carried republican flags and sang, “Maggie Thatcher burn in hell” as the effigy was set alight.

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