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Mikhail Gorbachev Visited Ireland

On 2nd April 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev met then Taoiseach and Tánaiste, Charles Haughey and Brian Lenihan, at a stop-over at Shannon airport en route to Cuba.

Irish Socialist, newspaper of the Communist Party of Ireland, reported on the event:

Gorbachev Hits the Right Note, by Margaret Bruton

It was a great, if hectic, week for the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, beginning with his short visit to Ireland and his talks with the taoiseach, Charles Haughey, then a three-day visit to Cuba, where Soviet-Cuban relations were strengthened. and his visit to Britain.

Gorbachev stated that his visit to Ireland was not a "stop-over" but a "milestone".

And the historic visit showed that glasnost is penetrating through to Ireland: there was significantly no protest, as there might have been some years ago.
This was in stark contrast to Ronald Reagan’s visit to Ireland, where he met some of the most massive demonstrations ever seen in Ireland, in protest against his warmongering attitudes and his foreign policies, particularly in relation to Latin America.


It was not surprising that the subject of peace was high on the agenda, with the Soviet leader strongly emphasising the importance of an expansion of positive trends and a lessening of confrontation, especially military confrontation.

It is also not surprising, given the diplomatic aspect, that Gorbachev stated an relation to Northern Ireland that the Soviet Union was "sympathetic to the efforts to solve that problem consistent with the feelings of the people of Northern Ireland", but the two leaders had "no practical discussion of the problem itself, only the humane aspects.”

These “humane aspects” were followed on Gorbachev's visit to Britain.

As Charles Haughey said, the Soviet leader is well briefed on the circumstances of such issues as the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six.

Central Committee member and deputy head of the International Relations Department Andrei Grachev at i press conference said: “The issue of human rights has become two-way traffic, a two-way street.


"It has o firm place on the political agenda in the east-west discussions and it has been there for some time.”

No  longer can Margaret Thatcher vet away with her hypocritical stance on the question of human rights, with her own house in such disorder.

And the Birmingham Six organiser Paddy McIlkenny met a Soviet delegation in London to
seck support for the men’s release.

The historic, if brief, visit of the Soviet leader to Ireland will be followed by a visit by members of
the Government for further discussions.

This could provide a unique opportunity to strengthen the ties between Ireland and the
Soviet Union, cultural, political, and commercial. 

This opportunity must be grasped firmly.
An article from Irish Socialist, No. 310, on the 1989 visit of Mikhail Gorbachev to Ireland.