First the Rebel County welcomed the Queen of England – now a group of Cork students want to honor the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher.

The Young Fine Gael branch at Cork’s university will this week debate a motion to bestow honorary life membership on the former British Prime Minister.

The students will decide on Wednesday on the proposal to make Conservative Party stalwart Thatcher, PM at the time of the hunger strikes, a permanent member of the society.

Young Fine Gael branch leaders have already admitted that the motion has caused controversy on and off campus in Cork.


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Branch chairman Tadhg O’Donovan told Irish website that the group ‘likes to debate divisive issues and Margaret Thatcher is certainly a divisive character’.

O’Donovan added: “Our primary focus is on debating. But every year we vote to make one person an honorary life member and we decided to roll the ballot into Wednesday’s debate.”

Prime Minister of Britain for 11 years, Thatcher could become the first person from outside Ireland to be given honorary membership of the Young Fine Gael branch at UCC but it is not a done deal yet.

“The motion might fail,” added O’Donovan. “From talking to other members, the vote will be close. Some people like her economic policies and are in agreement with her but others think she did not do well with Anglo-Irish relations.”

Now the subject of a major new movie starring Meryl Streep, Thatcher suffers from dementia, has survived a number of strokes and is rarely seen in public.