Behind Closed Doors

1979

Behind Closed Doors

Introduction

"An oil crisis triggered by the Iranian revolution led to petrol prices spiralling worldwide. The secret papers from 1979 show how the Government had to stand up to the international oil companies to prevent high prices strangling industry and commerce. But the oil crisis triggered inflation which led to a ever higher wage demands - setting the scene for the economic crisis which dominated the 1980s.

It was also the year of a British general election, which saw Margaret Thatcher become the country's first woman Prime Minister. She was inclined to take a tough line on Northern Ireland - and that was reinforced with the murder of Lord Mountbatten in Mullaghmore, County Sligo, in August 1979. The secret documents show the pressure put on Taoiseach Jack Lynch by the British to secure more security co-operation.

One of the concessions Lynch agreed to was to allow British helicopters to fly over the Border in pursuit of terrorists - and that concession was used by his enemies within Fianna Fáil to undermine his leadership.

1979 was also the year of the Papal visit - the newly released documents show how the British Government headed off suggestions that Pope John Paul II might cross the Border into Northern Ireland during his visit.

The year ended with Charles Haughey taking over as Taoiseach - and with concern in London about what that might mean for Anglo-Irish relations."


Audio/Video:


Morning Ireland 30 Dec 2009Watch clip

David McCullagh and Deaglán de Bréadún, Irish Times, discusses the state papers from 1979




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