Lord Robert Armstrong, cabinet secretary under Mrs Thatcher and one of  key negotiators of the  agreement,  at an event marking the agreement’s 30th anniversary in  Trinity College Dublin last November. Photograph: Eric Luke

During the framing of the historic Anglo-Irish Agreement of November 1985, Garret FitzGerald took the opportunity of a joint meeting in Lisbon to comp(...)

Garret FitzGerald shakes hands with  Margaret Thatcher during talks in November 1985. Photograph: Pat Langan

Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet secretary, Sir Robert Armstrong, confided to the Irish ambassador Noel Dorr that before the 1983 election, she had “very m(...)

Lord Gowrie (centre) speaks in Dublin at the National Museum, alongside Charles  Haughey and  Dr Pat Wallace

Irish diplomats were warned by a member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet about blanket eavesdropping on their communications with Dublin during the talk(...)

 Peter Barry, then minister for foreign affairs,  in his office at Iveagh House in 1985. Photograph: Jack McManus

Garret FitzGerald deserves more credit than anybody else for the Anglo-Irish Agreement, according to Peter Barry, who himself played an important role(...)

Fianna Fáil leader Charles Haughey signs copies of the New Ireland Forum’s report in May 1984. Haughey initially opposed the subsequent Anglo-Irish Agreement. Photograph: Peter Thursfield

Every major political breakthrough requires significant imagination and courage. The Anglo-Irish Agreement was Margaret Thatcher’s Nixon to China mome(...)

 Margaret Thatcher, flanked by Sir Geoffrey Howe and Tom King, waving goodbye after the signing of the agreement. Photograph: Pat Langan

I have a vivid recollection of what it felt like that day as I watched the prime minister and the taoiseach put their signatures to an agreement betwe(...)

Former Northern Ireland secretary of state Peter Brooke MP, right, chats with fellow MP Peter Temple-Morris in  Killarney at the 22nd British-Irish Inter Parliamentary conference which is taking place in 2001. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

This book is about events in the life of a politician. It is not an an autobiography but a selection of events of interest to a reader, ranging fro(...)

File photograph of Sir Geoffrey Howe speaking at the House of Commons in London. Photograph: PA

British prime minister David Cameron has led tributes to former chancellor Geoffrey Howe, who has died aged 88. The Tory grandee was Margaret Thatcher(...)

Garret Fitzgerald and Margaret Thatcher with  ministers Peter Barry, Dick Spring,  Geoffrey Howe, and Tom King at the the signing of the Anglo Irish Agreement at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down, in November 1985. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh

The scene: Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland. The time: the morning of Friday, November 15th, 1985. The atmosphere: “nervous cheerfulness.” Noises(...)

Laugh out loud: Imelda Staunton has a girls’ night in Pride

One terrific scene among many terrific scenes in the consistently terrific Pride finds a political activist entering a record label’s offices to reque(...)