Roy Mason, N.Ireland Secretary 1970's, Reputation of.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by RP578, Jun 18, 2011.

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  1. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    There's a pretty dire article by Roy Greenslade in today's Guardian on the coverage of the IRA hunger strikers by the British press. One point of interest though was from one of the readers' comments:
    The IRA hunger strike and Fleet Street's graveyard of truth | Roy Greenslade | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

    The comment above and Mason's wiki entry: Roy Mason - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia seem to be a cut and paste from this Telegraph piece marking Mason's 80th birthday: A happy 80th birthday to the IRA's most deadly foe - Telegraph

    It all sounds pretty impressive, but having only been a child at the time I have never really heard much about him. Merlyn Rees, who Mason swapped Cabinet chairs with, gets more of a mention in most books on that era. Anyone here from that era recall much about him?
     
  2. Roy Masons nickname was 'Stone Mason',various epithets using that name were scrawled on walls all along the Stewartstown Road,and around the City Cemetery.

    I met him a number of times between 76,and 78,through my job,at various private locations around Ulster,one of the few politicians of the time,who looked you in the eye,and told you what he thought.

    The IRA hated him to a man,and he showed them who was running the province,he onced asked me what my politics were,I assured him they weren't Labour,he said he would let me off as I was serving soldier,he had a lot of time for the squaddies on the ground,and if he ever visited an SF base,made sure he got to talk to them out of earshot of their officers.

    One of his regrets was the fact that his BG's were Special Branch,and not Military. 8)
     
  3. I know he had protection officers outside his house as recent as 1990 whether he still has them I don't know.
     
  4. skid2

    skid2 LE Book Reviewer

    One of the more entertaining N.I. SoS's
    Mostly famous for his 'The IRA are defeated' or 'They are on the run' comments widely reported in the media. Sometime that night there was a huge bang and Belfast got a new car park. Roy was responsible for more extra parking spaces in the city than almost any one else.
    Years later somewhere nr Oxford over a pint, a familier face among others at one of the tables.

    'Jesus Christ, isn't that Roy Mason? and as everyone looked around to see who had said that, out loud and in a Northern Ireland accent. I realised it was me. Even years later neither him or his minders looked thrilled, but one of the people I was with leaned in for a quick word and I got a nod on the way out instead of a savage beating in the car park.

    Roys trouble was if someone asked him a straight question he got a straight answer. Operating in the days before spin doctors he was a shock to the political system after Merlyn Rees. Nothing softly softly about him. The security forces where there to do a job and get on with it. He's a rare politician who calls a spade a spade