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'Rust in hell': Irish nationalists can't forgive Iron Lady

forgiveness on Politics - Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher's hardline approach to IRA hunger strikers and her staunch support of Unionism means few nationalists in Northern Ireland are mourning her death.

Thatcher presided over the British province for more than a decade of strife, death and destruction as the "Troubles" raged.

The Irish Republican Army (IRA), the main paramilitary group fighting British rule, tried to kill her with a huge bomb that ripped apart the hotel she was staying in for the 1984 Conservative Party conference in the English resort of Brighton.

She survived unscathed, but her death 29 years later prompted celebrations among some nationalists, who can never forgive her for her 'the lady's not for turning' position as IRA member Bobby Sands and nine other young men starved themselves to death protesting for political prisoner status.

On the Falls Road in west Belfast, the neighbourhood most associated with Irish Catholic nationalism, a fresh piece of graffiti says: "Iron lady? Rust in hell." Another says: "Maggie rot in hell".

On the night after her death, some pubs on the street offered reduced price drinks to celebrate.

"I always remember during that particular period we had a poster in the window on our house of Margaret Thatcher and it said: 'Wanted for war crimes'," former IRA member Jim McVeigh told AFP.

McVeigh was convicted twice for explosives offences and spent 16 years in prison.

"She oversaw one of the most brutal prison regimes in Europe. She was involved in overseeing a terrible regime that was responsible for the torture of hundreds of young men and women during that period and she was directly responsible for the death of 10 hunger strikers," he said.

"My only regret is that Thatcher was never brought before a war crimes tribunal."

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