Irish government against meeting in London as it was ‘old imperial capital’

Note from 1986 refers to sensitivity Dublin felt about appearing to ‘pay homage’ to UK

The Irish government sought to avoid having an Anglo-Irish meeting held in London because it perceived the city as “the old imperial capital”, a British official wrote in documents released today.

A special meeting in July 1986 was sought by minister for foreign affairs Peter Barry following the decision by the RUC to allow an Orange march along the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

In a note to Northern secretary Tom King on July 23rd, Mark Elliott of the Northern Ireland Office reported that, in response to an invitation from King to a dinner in London, Barry had indicated that "as to the location, he preferred Dublin with Belfast as second best".

Elliott reported a conversation with Michael Lillis of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, who had made it clear that Barry’s objection to a meeting in London was “extremely firm”. His reasons, Elliott told King, “relate to the Irish perception of London as the old ‘imperial’ capital; the sensitivity which they feel about coming, as it were, to pay homage to the British government”. In the event, the meeting was held in London.

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