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The Long Peace ProcessThe United States of America and Northern Ireland, 1960-2008$
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Andrew Sanders

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940445

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786940445.001.0001

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Thatcher, Reagan, and Northern Ireland

Thatcher, Reagan, and Northern Ireland

(p.139) Chapter Four Thatcher, Reagan, and Northern Ireland
The Long Peace Process

Andrew Sanders

Liverpool University Press

The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 reinforced one of the most famous international alliances, often known as the “special relationship”, and this chapter explores the ways in which Reagan was often caught between the direction of the US Congress, in particular Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and Senator Ted Kennedy, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The changing dynamics of the conflict in Northern Ireland saw electoral politics rise to prominence, particularly following the 1981 hunger strike that saw ten republican prisoners starve to death, with two of the men elected to public office in London and Dublin. The influence of both O’Neill and Reagan on the 1985 Anglo Irish Agreement, a significant moment in the developing peace process, is also examined in this chapter, as is the issue of the extradition of IRA on-the-runs from the US to the UK.

Keywords:   President Ronald Reagan, Cold War, Anglo-American Relations, IRA hunger strike, Royal Ulster Constabulary, Anglo-Irish Agreement, Extradition

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