THE late Margaret Thatcher described the Irish as "all liars" who were not be to trusted, according to a former British politician.
Former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson said Mrs Thatcher made the remarks to him in 1999, on the day he took up his post.
Asked why, as a member of the House of Lords, he did not attend her funeral service in London yesterday, Mr Mandelson said that he didn't feel he knew Mrs Thatcher well enough to apply for the tickets that had been offered to peers.
"Although I helped to organise the Labour Party's opposition to her policies throughout the 1980s, I only ever met her once," he said.
"It was the day I was appointed Northern Ireland secretary, and our paths crossed.
"She came up to me and she said, 'I've got one thing to say to you, my boy... you can't trust the Irish, they are all liars', she said, 'liars, and that's what you have to remember, so just don't forget it'.
"With that she waltzed off and that was my only personal exposure to her," he recalled.