Roy Greenslade today sparked further outrage by attempting to defend his comments about his secret long-standing support of the IRA while working as a journalist.
The erstwhile Guardian columnist today claimed he did ‘nothing more than scores of journalists who keep political views to themselves’ in sympathising with atrocities committed by paramilitary forces.
It comes after the former Daily Mirror editor resigned as an honorary visiting professor of journalism at City, University of London, yesterday following a backlash from much of the industry and the families of victims of the IRA.
But his attempts to defend his remarks today sparked further fury from industry chiefs, who described them as ‘totally reprehensible’.
Toby Granville, the editorial director of local news publisher Newsquest, said Mr Greenslade’s comments were ‘totally reprehensible’.
In a post on Twitter, he said: ‘Roy Greenslade’s claims that ‘scores of journalists’ secretly support terrorism just like him is totally reprehensible and a slight on our industry.’
Roy Greenslade previous articles must now be ‘treated with suspicion’ and viewed through the lens of his long-standing support for the IRA, critics urged today
The erstwhile Guardian columnist today claimed he ‘did nothing more than scores of journalists who keep political views to themselves’ in sympathising with atrocities committed by paramilitary forces. Pictured: The scene of an IRA bombing in Downing Street in 1991
Mr Graville’s comments were made on social media and were in reference to an article by the Press Gazette.
The journalism industry news website spoke to Mr Greenslade after he revealed his support for the IRA in the British Journalism Review.
Asked whether his views on terrorism disqualified him from teaching ethics, Greenslade said: ‘The furore underlines the main point of my article: to have come clean in the 1970s with my beliefs would have rendered me unemployable.
‘I did nothing more than the scores of journalists who keep their political views to themselves.
‘My opinions did not affect my journalistic work, nor did they affect my university teaching.’
It comes as the father of a 12-year-old victim of an IRA bombing also slammed Mr Greenslade over his remarks.
Colin Parry’s son was killed in the 1993 Warrington bombing, when the IRA planted bombs inside high street bins. Tim and three-year-old Johnathan Ball died as a result.
Mr Parry, who later launched a peace foundation in the two children’s names, and who was awarded an OBE for his work, today condemned Mr Greenslade’s comments.
Colin Parry’s son Tim was killed in the 1993 Warrington bombing, when the IRA planted bombs inside high street bins. Tim and three-year-old Johnathan Ball died as a result
In a post on Twitter, he said: ‘Supporting Irish Republicanism is a political choice but his support for the IRA’s campaign of violence leading to the murder of many non combatants like my 12 yr old son Tim. I find it inexcusable and contemptible.’
It comes as today critics urged that the journalist’s articles must now be ‘treated with suspicion’ and viewed through the lens of his long-standing support for the IRA.
Today Northern Ireland veterans condemned Mr Greenslade’s comments.
Colonel Richard Kemp, who was deployed to the province eight times under Operation Banner between 1979 and 2001, told MailOnline: ‘Anything he wrote now needs to be treated with suspicion because he was effectively leading a double life.
‘His credibility and everything he’s ever written has been undermined.’
Until March last year Mr Greenslade was a media commentator for the Guardian and regularly used his column to tear strips off the British press, which was largely united in its opposition to Irish Republicanism.
He says he has now ‘come out of hiding’ to make public his ‘complete agreement about the right of the Irish people to engage in armed struggle’.
But Colonel Kemp said: ‘There are lots of people who supported IRA terrorism, including of course Jeremy Corbyn, but when it’s a respectable newspaper editor who does it secretly, it’s like getting a stab in the back.’
He added that Mr Greenslade had ‘blood on his hands’ by supporting the IRA, who the ex-soldier said would be buoyed by the backing of a British establishment figure.
‘People like Greenslade, whose identity was known to people in the Republican movement, encouraged their violence,’ he said.
Fellow Northern Ireland veteran Lord Benyon branded Mr Greenslade a ‘useful idiot’ to the IRA.
The ex-minister turned Tory peer, who served in the Royal Green Jackets, lost seven members of his regiment in the 1982 Hyde Park bombing by the IRA.
Today the Guardian told website the News Letter that its independent reader’s editor would be ‘investigating’ Mr Greenslade’s work for the paper following a complaint.
A spokesperson said: ‘The readers’ editor will also be reviewing other historical Roy Greenslade articles concerning Northern Ireland, to ensure that they meet the Guardian’s editorial standards and are sufficiently transparent.’
Colonel Richard Kemp, who was deployed to the province eight times under Operation Banner between 1979 and 2001, said anything Mr Greenslade wrote ‘now needs to be treated with suspicion’
Fellow Northern Ireland veteran Lord Benyon branded Mr Greenslade a ‘useful idiot’ to the IRA
In his British Journalism Review article, Mr Greenslade confirmed he had provided bail surety for IRA member John Downey (pictured), who was accused of involvement
The aftermath of the 1982 Hyde Park bombing carried out by the IRA
In his British Journalism Review article, Mr Greenslade confirmed he had provided bail surety for IRA member John Downey, who was accused of involvement.
Lord Benyon today told MailOnline he was pleased Mr Greenslade was no longer an ethics lecturer at City University, saying ‘it would have been an irony too hard to bear’.
He added: ‘I can’t say I have been a greater student of Roy Greenslade’s writings. But it feels it is part of a wider campaign of historical revisionism.
‘There has been a definite campaign by IRA supporters to say it was a war, which it wasn’t.’
He added: ‘I worry that young people who have no memory of those times and the families that bear the scars will think that it was understandable – it wasn’t. It was a terrible, terrible time.’
Roy Greenslade with his famous actress step-daughter Natascha Mcelhone (centre) and wife Noreen Taylor
Boris Johnson also weighed in on the row. His official spokesman said: ‘All I can say is the simple fact that the PM outright condemns his comments, as I have said specifically those about the killing of civilians.’
The former Guardian columnist retired from a full-time post at City University, where he lectured in ethics, in 2018, but he has ‘occasionally’ returned as a guest speaker.
In the article Mr Greenslade, 74, who is now a member of Sinn Fein, said he had first become involved in republican causes shortly after Bloody Sunday in 1972, when paratroopers shot dead 13 demonstrators.
He went on to hold senior roles at The Sun and the Sunday Times, as well as the editorship of the Daily Mirror in 1990 and 1991, but ‘regularly’ contributed to An Phoblacht, using the pen name George King, contradicting his newspapers which denounced the IRA’s campaigns.
Jeremy Corbyn has previously denied support of the IRA. When he was Labour leader a spokeswoman rejected the claims and said he had ‘always worked for peace and respect for human rights’.