The Thatcher Legacy: Thatcher's deadly miscalculation on the IRA

As the hunger strikers died one by one in the North, IRA recruitment surged and political support for Sinn Féin rocketed, writes Niall O'Dowd.

13th April, 2013
The funeral of hunger striker Bobby Sands in May 1981. Photo: Pacemaker

The passing of Margaret Thatcher has once again reopened the era of the 1981 hunger strikers in Northern Ireland when ten men fasted to death and the conflict entered a bloody and decisive phase.

The future of the North was forged in those desperate months and the profound miscalculation by Thatcher doomed moderate nationalism in Northern Ireland for ever.

The ultimate irony is that Thatcher made possible the rise of modern Sinn Féin by refusing to...

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