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Margaret Thatcher's family hail from the Sheen Valley in County Kerry, should keep bringing it up? Photo by: Tim Graham

Locals debate whether to feature Margaret Thatcher’s Kerry roots in travel guide

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Margaret Thatcher's family hail from the Sheen Valley in County Kerry, should keep bringing it up? Photo by: Tim Graham

County Kerry locals are debating whether to include the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher’s great grandmother in their new local guidebook for the Sheen Valley area.

Bonane Community Council chairman Stephen O’Sullivan commented that the connection was part of local heritage and the community may wish to celebrate it. He said the council will discuss including the site at a public meeting this Friday.

Commenters do not seem enthusiastic about the addition. One comment responding to a Belfast Telegraph article on the subject said, “I wouldn’t boast about it.” A similar comment to an Independent article said, “How embarrassing to be related to her.”

Thatcher’s great grandmother Catherine Sullivan was born in Drominassig in Bonane, Co Kerry in 1811. The ruins of her home in Drominassig sit between Bonane and Kenmare.

Sullivan emigrated to England and married Thomas Smith, a farm laborer. Their daughter Ellen married shoemaker Benjamin Ebenezer Roberts. Their son Alfred was Thatcher’s father.

Thatcher is a largely unpopular figure in Ireland. She refused to give concessions to the hunger strikers or recognize them as political prisoners in 1981. During the hunger strikes, violence increased in Northern Ireland. Thatcher showed no regret for the death of Bobby Sands or the other nine hunger strikers who died. She evaded an assassination attempt by the IRA on October 12, 1984 at the Brighton Hotel. Five people were killed in the attack.

On November 15, 1988, Thatcher and Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, in which the British government gave the government of the Republic of Ireland an advisory role in Northern Irish affairs for the first time.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that Thatcher’s funeral will take place next Wednesday, April 17. Her funeral service will be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and she will receive full military honors. The 87 year old former Prime Minister died of a stroke at the Ritz Hotel in London on April 8.

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