The British ambassador was surprised to discover that the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland was a deeply religious man.
Leonard Figg made the remarks in a letter reporting on his visit to Armagh to meet Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich in February 1982.
"The cardinal was genial and welcoming," he said. "Contrary
to expectations, I found him a sincerely religious character who
genuinely appeared to treasure the close relationship he has formed with
his Church of Ireland and Methodist opposite numbers."
The meeting came four months after the hunger strike had ended.
to the letter, Cardinal O Fiaich suggested the strike may have been
avoided had prisoners been allowed to wear their own clothes earlier in
Mr Figg wrote: "I suggested that this might well be so but
that we would have had to face a hunger strike later on, since I did not
believe the deadly onslaught on the prison system represented by 10
deaths could have been warded off by fiddling with the details of