Papers from 1984 have revealed that the British government considered trying to put a stop to US President Ronald Reagan's visit to Ireland in June 1984, during which he returned to his ancestral home of Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary.

Reagan later cited the Irish trip as one of the most meaningful of his presidency. His family roots in the tiny Tipperary town were first fully explored.

The Irish Times reports that Westminster feared the potential impact the trip might have on Northern Ireland local elections if Reagan yielded to pressure from the Irish American lobby and commented or if the Irish government attempted to co-opt the president in support of the recently published New Ireland Forum report.

British officials debated over the decision in December 1983, but eventually decided the move would appear as "unnecessarily defensive."

The White House pledged to discuss their preparations and briefings for the visit with the British in any case.