John Major

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A lot of Fine Gaelers have placed their faith in a repeat of the 2007 election, when a late swing re-elected for a third term an unloved, but grudgingly respected Fianna Fáil government led by Bertie Ahern. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

No votes are yet cast in the 2020 general election, but, with just over two weeks to go until polling day, a change of government is at this point the(...)

Starving peasants in 1846 clamour at the gates of a workhouse during the Irish potato famine. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty

Former British prime minister John Major stepped in to stop plans for a service commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine in 1996 amid f(...)

Then Labour MP Ken Livingstone invited members of Sinn Féin to the House of Commons in 1996. Photograph Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Concerns were raised at a cabinet meeting of the British government after people with connections to the IRA were invited into the House of Commons an(...)

Bill Clinton at Mackie’s factory, Belfast, in 1995. He was the first sitting US president to visit  Northern Ireland. File photograph: Eric Luke

Civil servants were opposed to John Major taking part in US president Bill Clinton’s historic visit to Northern Ireland in case it resulted in the pri(...)

Police surround Drumcree Church as hundreds of Protestant Orange Order members fill the hillside on July 10th, 1996. The Orange Order were protesting over the refusal of police to allow the order to march through a predominantly Catholic area. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/ Reuters

The disastrous effect of a decision to permit an Orange march through the nationalist Garvaghy Road to Drumcree Parish Church in Portadown in July 199(...)

In May 1996 Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the party would sign up to the Mitchell Principles on non-violence. Photograph: Reuters/Marcel Bieri/Swiss-Images

The IRA ceasefire broke down in 1996, plunging the peace process into turmoil. The year opened with the RUC chief constable, Sir Hugh Annesley, sayin(...)

 US president Bill Clinton (left) with British prime minister Tony Blair  at a 1997 summit in Denver, Colorado. Photograph: Doug Collier/AFP via Getty Images

In a time of perpetual crisis, the feeling of longing for an idealised past in which nothing much happened can exert a powerful pull. The tempting cou(...)

British prime minister Margaret Thatcher with taoiseach Charles Haughey on the steps of 10 Downing Street, London, in May 1980. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images

It was not a high-profile year in Anglo-Irish relations. Everything seemed becalmed in 1989. Yet Charles Haughey was constantly being asked questions (...)

Ashford Castle: The original castle dates back to 1228, when it was built as a stronghold for the Anglo Norman de Burgo family.

A number of years ago I had an American boyfriend who was keen to see Cong, home of the 1952 film The Quiet Man, and Ashford Castle. Americans tend to(...)

Former Conservative attorney general Dominic Grieve campaigning in Beaconsfield: “He is reckless, he is egocentric and he is, I’m afraid, a pathological liar,” he said of Boris Johnson. Photograph: Enda O’Dowd

“There’s that stupid man,” says the woman to her friend, after she passes former Conservative attorney general Dominic Grieve on Marlow’s main street (...)

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