The Labour Party’s Roy Hattersley, who was Minister of Defence in 1969, has written in The Times about signing the order to deploy the army in Northern Ireland. And here’s his recollection of when our local politicians behaved more like the capos they were. From the Times article
It was almost 20 years later [from 1974] that I first met Gerry Adams. At his insistence, I was taken by a driver of his nomination to the top floor of a deserted factory. A huge white cat, which darted across the dusty floor, added to the tension before Adams and several minders appeared from the gloom at the far end of the building.
We got on famously until he expressed his regret at the animosity that he was shown by Northern Ireland Protestants. Even when I asked him how he expected them to react to photographs of him carrying the coffin of an IRA bomber who (in a mixture of evil and incompetence) had killed two children, he calmly replied that it was his duty to pay respects to a dead volunteer. Only after I said that too many Irishmen were obsessed by death did I fear that he was going to have me shot.
Of course, things are different now..