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Former NUJ boss Harry Conroy dies aged 67

The former general secretary of the National Union of Journalists Harry Conroy has died aged 67 after a long illness.

A leading figure in Scottish journalism, Mr Conroy ran the union for five years at a time of huge turmoil in the industry.

Within days of becoming leader in 1985 he had to tackle the bitter dispute at Wapping between newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch and the print unions.

But he was beaten when standing for re-election in 1990 after his policy of seeking mergers with other media unions came under heavy fire from members.

Mr Conroy rose from a copy boy on the old Daily Express to become a leading expert in Scottish business and crime.

Before becoming NUJ general secretary he was group father of chapel at the Daily Record and Sunday Mail in Glasgow, and went back to journalism as editor of the Catholic Observer after losing the union post.

Current general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “Our thoughts are with Harry’s beloved wife Margaret and their family at this sad time. He will be greatly missed by a wide circle in journalism, politics and beyond who valued his integrity, his wisdom, and also his generous friendship.

“Harry will be remembered by generations of journalists as a powerful advocate for improved pay and conditions and media freedom.”


Bill Goodwin (26/04/2010 11:04:51)
Harry will be greatly missed. He was a great general secretary and a great guy. I owe him a personal debt of gratitude for the tremendous personal support he gave me duing my court battle over journalist’s sources. He will be greatly missed. A great man.

stewart perkins (26/04/2010 11:39:02)
Harry did a tremendous job in trying circumstances. He was a friendly, unassuming, humorous guy who put himself out to help with the Wolverhampton branch’s successful campaign to challenge photographer Som Raj’s deportation. You always wanted him on your side in a dispute: he was just a great trades unionist.

Matt Lynch (27/04/2010 13:40:25)
I will always remember Harry as a person who went out of his way to help his fellow man. I first came across the bold boy as a fellow pupil at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Glasgow. He was two years older than me and, even then, he took an interest in the welfare and education of us wee ones. I joined the Daily Express just as Harry left the paper to become a reporter with the Daily Record, my former employer. Although I later resigned from the NUJ over a number of disagreements, Harry politely informed that I couldn’t quit the union. I said I could and I did. Despite all that I really enjoyed Harry’s company, and although we argued on some things in the big picture we agreed on most things. I helped him out for a brief period on the Catholic Observer. He was professional and fun to work with. The highlight of that period is when he gave me a signed copy of his book “Off the Record,” a must read for all you up-and-coming journalists. Harry will be missed on this earth, but, perhaps and hopefully, we will meet up again when it’s my turn to go “home”. Say one for me Harry.

Carol Leach (28/04/2010 12:42:46)
They say the good die young and that’s certainly the case with Harry. He was a down-to-earth yet inspirational trades union leader and I’m glad to have known him.