Albert Reynolds's 'heart was in the right place' on Northern Ireland
ALBERT Reynolds's "heart was in the right place" on Northern Ireland, according to an assessment of his first 100 days as taoiseach.
In a report, the British ambassador in Dublin felt the new taoiseach showed "some acceptance of the Unionist position".
Mr Reynolds had replaced Charles Haughey on February 11, 1992.
In his report to the Northern Ireland Secretary, Sir Patrick Mayhew and NIO ministers, dated May 20, 1992, David Blatherwick said that Mr Reynolds's first hundred days had been overshadowed by the abortion issue which distracted his government from economic problems and the Northern Ireland political talks.
"The abortion issue, which hit the government the day after it took office, immediately knocked them off course. It has rekindled deep passions which everyone had hoped had died down. Economic issues have had to take a back seat," he wrote.
- 1993: The main events of the year
- Ban on 'junior wing of UDA' considered by NIO
- Gardaí 'told RUC just enough to prevent RUC lives from being lost'
- Martin McGuinness 'sent personal letters to leading Tories and asked to meet them'
- Bill Clinton's peace envoy idea caused 'deep concern' in British government
- British government approved of Pope John Paul II's condemnation of violence
- West Belfast priest's appeal to British Government rebuffed
- Officials' concerns over anti-paramilitary group's Workers' Party links
Turning to the north, the diplomat felt that Mr Reynolds's heart was in the right place.
"His public statements have been generally helpful and have shown some acceptance of the unionist position."
However, his knowledge of the issue was cursory. This applied also to the new minister for foreign affairs, David Andrews. Of the latter, Mr Blatherwick wrote: "Andrews himself, a nervous man with a short fuse, has been unimpressive in meetings with the British ministers."
On security cooperation, he felt there had been "a welcome change from the ambiguities of Haughey. Overall, the new taoiseach appeared as a "sensible and decent man" while the contrast with Mr Haughey continued to help him.