If it can be said that the peace process began somewhere, it began with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985. The House of Commons approved the agreement, which brought the largest parliamentary majority in Mrs Thatcher`s government – indeed, she must have regretted signing it for the rest of her life – 473 voted in favour and only 47 against. All the Unionist parties opposed it, but with the support of almost all the Conservatives and Labour and the SDLP, she took leave. On 23 November, eight days after the agreement was signed, more than 150,000 people gathered in Belfast to protest. In a typically acerbic way, Paisley Thatcher condemned that he had signed the rights of the Loyalists. He also attacked Dublin: “Where do the terrorists return to the sanctuary? To the Republic of Ireland! And yet, Mrs Thatcher tells us that the Republic must have a say in our province. You never say it! Never! Never! www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/jeremy-corbyn-the-artful-dodger-a-transcript-of-his-nolan-interview-31430884.html Mr Corbyn will travel to Belfast on Thursday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the agreement that cemented the peace process. Mr Thatcher hoped to establish a bilateral agreement with Dublin that would enhance security while recognising the “Irish dimension”: the historical and cultural relations between the Republic and Northern Ireland. By recognising these Irish ties and giving Dublin an advisory role in Northern Ireland – without renouncing British sovereignty – Thatcher hoped to win moderate nationalists in the six counties. The final agreement was signed in November 1985 by Thatcher and FitzGerald in Hillsborough. It contained the following points: “But within the framework of the Good Friday Agreement, which can only be concluded through the constitutional process provided for by the agreement, Jeremy fully supports it.” Irish republicans have been able to reject the only constitutional advance (in the eyes of many nationalists and republicans) since the fall of Stormont a decade earlier.
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