It was 30 years ago today (15th November 1985), the Anglo-Irish agreement was signed which gave Dublin a consultative role in the affairs of Northern Ireland for the first time in over 60 years. The British Prime Minister at the time Margaret Thatcher considered it a pathway to bringing an end to violence in the province.
Signed by Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach Garrett FitzGerald at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down, it set up a framework for consultation between both governments to discuss matters pertaining to and within Northern Ireland.
The agreement was bitterly opposed by the Unionists, whose MPs all resigned their seats at Westminster as a protest. It was also rejected by the Republican faction because of its confirmation of Northern Ireland’s continuing status as part of the UK.
In the short-term it failed to bring about a relief to the political violence in the province. However over a period of time it did bring about improvements in relations between the British and Irish governments, becoming a stepping-stone to the Good Friday Agreement 13 years later.