Totality of relationships, 1980–1992
in From Partition to Brexit
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This chapter covers the period from 1980, when Charles Haughey became Taoiseach, to 1992, when he resigned, a decade largely defined by his rivalry with Fine Gael leader, Garret FitzGerald. It begins with assessing Haughey’s uphill battle to engage Margaret Thatcher in a major Anglo-Irish political process. The chapter illuminates how these efforts were stymied in turn by Dublin’s overselling of what had been agreed at the 1980 Haughey–Thatcher summit, republican hunger strikes and the Falklands War. It also explores how Irish Governments responded, particularly through the New Ireland Forum, to the electoral rise of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland during the 1980s.

The latter part of the chapter compares Haughey’s efforts to engage the British Government with those of FitzGerald who, despite several obstacles, secured Thatcher’s approval of the Hillsborough Agreement, signed in 1985. The chapter concludes by examining the difficult period after Haughey returned to office in 1987 as he tried to work the Anglo-Irish Agreement he had previously opposed.

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