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Monday 22 January 2018

Government feared an all-out British boycott of Irish goods

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE Government feared an all-out boycott of Irish goods in Britain as a backlash over Dublin's stance on the Falklands crisis.

Newly released state archives reveal the depth of anger in Britain over Ireland's 1982 stance over the south Atlantic islands, with several Conservative MPs accusing Taoiseach Charles Haughey's Government of having "stabbed us in the back".

Ireland argued against continuing an economic blockade of Argentina, to the fury of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who wanted tough European Community sanctions to remain in force.

On May 5, Ireland's London embassy confirmed the depth of British reaction. "The embassy had received more letters on the Government's stand on the Falklands than we had on any other single issue for a long time," a memo read.

The embassy said the calls had come from people who were cancelling holidays in Ireland, businessmen who were cancelling or reducing their Irish contacts and members of the public who wanted nothing to do with Irish goods or services.

"A large number of calls have come from members of the Irish community in Britain. They are nearly all against the Government's policy and they state that the Government took its decision purely in an Irish context without taking into account possible reaction in this country."

In contrast, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported a mixed reaction in Argentina.

On May 19, the Argentinian Charge d'Affairs in Greece contacted the Irish embassy to express his support for Dublin's position.

People of Irish-Argentinian extraction, meanwhile, felt Dublin should have done more.

Irish Independent

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