Former NUJ general secretary Harry Conroy dead at 67

Former National Union of Journalists general secretary Harry Conroy died on Saturday aged 67.

Conroy, who served as general secretary in times of great upheaval between 1985 and 1990, died after enduring a prolonged illness.

He is survived by his wife Margaret, two sons, Ewan and Stuart, a daughter, Lynn, and two grandchildren.

A former journalist with the Daily Record, Conroy started on journalism by working as a copyboy for the Daily Express in his native Glasgow before moving on to work for several other national newspapers.

He also wrote about business for The Herald and, after serving his term as general secretary of the NUJ, returned to journalism as the editor of Catholic Observer.

Conroy is likely to be best remembered for his involvement in the Wapping dispute. Just days after his election as general secretary, in 1985, he was dragged into the turmoil created by Rupert Murdoch’s decision to lock out traditional Fleet Street print unions as he moved his News International titles onto a single site in East London.

The dispute led to many NUJ members crossing the Wapping picket line and created a rift in the union that contributed to Conway’s eventual defeat at the 1990 general secretary election.

The National Union of Journalists paid tribute to Conroy, saying he was a revered figure in the trade union movement for his commitment to fairness and to decisive action in support of working people in struggle.

Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, 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”.

His funeral is expected to take place on Friday.

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