Monday, July 18, 2005


A northern tribute

Unionists and nationalists have said former British Prime Minister Edward Heath will not be remembered fondly by the people of Ireland's north.

Mr Heath, who led Britain from 1970 to 1974, died last night at the age of 89.

Former UUP MP John Taylor, now known as Lord Kilclooney, said Mr Heath had never liked unionists, who accused him of forcing them into sharing power with nationalists.

Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin said the former British Prime Minister had treated the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday with contempt.

Ouch! The Taoiseach meanwhile said he would be remembered with particular affection in Ireland because of his negotiation of the failed Sunningdale power-sharing agreement in the north.

My take on Mr Heath is that he knew quite a bit about the bombs that were let off in the southern half of Ireland in the early seventies which killed Irish civilians and that he was not as helpful as he should have been in his dealings with the Irish Republic. Reports suggest he was rather undignified in his dealings with the great Jack Lynch and that he was, frankly, a bully.

While I take no delight in the man's death, I can't say I agree with the Taoiseach that he will be remembered with particular affection in Ireland.


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