Tuesday 6 December 2016

Our torrid history with the Colonel

Libya has given us more political headaches than most countries over the last 40 years, writes John-Paul McCarthy

Published 28/08/2011 | 05:00

NOW that the collapsing scenery of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's long reign litters the Libyan stage, a stock-taking exercise in Hiberno-Libyan affairs seems merited.

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Libya has played a strange role in Irish life since the 1970s, and our State's need, on occasion, to cross swords with the Colonel has given policymakers some small taste of a complex Realpolitik.

Few other countries outside the immediate orbit of the Anglo-Irish imbroglio have caused us so much trouble. In backing the Provisional IRA from the early 1970s, the Colonel hitched his wagon to an organisation that was at war with Bunreacht na hEireann as surely as it was with working-class Protestants in Northern Ireland.

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