Innocent Victims United spokesman Kenny Donaldson has paid tribute to former Northern Ireland Secretary of State Roy Mason.
The former Labour MP Lord Mason – who served as Northern Ireland secretary at the height of the Troubles – died aged 91 on Sunday.
A former miner, his time in office in the Province was marked by a toughening of the security response to the issue of IRA terrorism.
Mr Donaldson said: “IVU salutes the life and contribution of former NI Secretary of State, the fearless Roy Mason, who faced terrorism head-on over his tenure in Northern Ireland from 1976-1979.
“As someone who went to Leeds University, I studied journalism and politics at Barnsley College. The main college building where I was based was less than 20 yards away from where Mr Mason lived and I passed his home each day.
“Up to the end of his life Mr Mason had armed guards outside his home such was the Provos’ disdain for him. Roy Mason was a man who worked his way up in life having been a miner. He was a conviction politician, he was admired by many from across the political spectrum and will be sadly missed.”
Earlier this week, Dan Jarvis, Labour candidate for Barnsley Central where Lord Mason was MP for 34 years, paid tribute.
Mr Jarvis said: “Roy was a formidable man, a pillar of our community and a giant of the Labour movement. He began his working life going down a mine at the age of just 14.
“His incredible journey and the courage and conviction with which he served the public are testament to the values that Roy fought for all his life – fairness, social justice and opportunity for all.”