National Archives: Thatcher urged Pope to condemn IRA hunger strikes

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Margaret Thatcher urged the Pope to condemn the first hunger strike carried out by IRA prisoners in 1980 after John Paul II asked her resolve the "tragic" stand-off, secret papers show.

The pontiff had told the Prime Minister he was “disturbed” by the decision of seven terrorists held in the Maze to refuse food and wanted a peaceful solution.

But she twice wrote back explaining that making concessions to the Republican cause would be “utterly wrong”, and asked the Pontiff to support moves to end the crisis.

Declassified Government papers also disclose that when Mrs Thatcher made a private visit to the Vatican, she was concerned about what to wear and was told she could borrow a veil from Britain’s representative at the Holy See....

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