Thatcher intensified - and helped to end - the troubles in Northern Ireland

Margaret Thatcher meets members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1990. Credit: PA

Margaret Thatcher did a huge amount for the Northern Irish Peace Process - in the end.

Her signing of the the Anglo Irish Agreement at Hillsborough Castle on a frosty November morning laid the groundwork for the Good Friday Agreement.

But before that, her antagonism towards those she saw as terrorists - and theirs towards her - fuelled the intensity conflict.

Today the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams began his comments with the words: "I don't want to say anything too hard about someone who has just died..."

He went on to detail all that she had done wrong. For Irish Republicans one of her worst crimes was standing firm against the H block Hunger Strikes - "a shameful role," said Adams today (although his own role in the Hunger Strike has recently come in for criticism).

The IRA retaliated with an assassination attempt against Mrs Thatcher. Five people were killed in the Brighton bombing, which she only just escaped.

In public she resolutely declared the Conservative Party Conference would continue although privately she was said to have been terrified.

Mrs Thatcher's hardline approach probably intensified the Northern Irish troubles in the early 1980s.

Her decision - over the heads of the Northern Irish people - to sign the Anglo Irish Agreement probably helped end the troubles.