VETERAN journalist and former Daily Mirror editor Roy Greenslade has confessed to supporting IRA terrorism during the The Troubles.
Since making the comments, Greenslade, 74, has been roundly criticised and has resigned from his post teaching journalism at City University.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, himself a former journalist, said that he "outright condemns" the remarks made by the Guardian columnist, which included saying that the murder of innocent civilians by IRA terrorists was "justifiable”.
The PM's 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."
Mr Greenslade’s sympathies drove him to provide bail surety for an IRA member accused of involvement in the 1982 Hyde Park bombing, which killed four soldiers and seven horses.
Mark Tipper, whose brother Simon was among the dead, said: “Downey spent 37 years fighting to evade and escape justice, never disavowing violence.
“While Greenslade continues to prove himself a coward and a fraud.”
Mr Greenslade also offered his pen to the cause and secretly wrote for the republican newsletter An Phoblacht during the tumultuous period.
His radical views became known several years ago, but he "came out of hiding" over the weekend to reiterate them – where he told the British Journalism Review that he was in "complete agreement about the right of the Irish people to engage in armed struggle".
Mr Greenslade said: “I came to accept the fight between the forces of the state and a group of insurgents was unequal and therefore could not be fought on conventional terms.
“In other words, I supported the use of physical force.”
He added: “However much I believed its tactics to be valid, I could not hope to convince colleagues that the killing of civilians, albeit by accident, was justifiable.”
The university lecturer also confirmed that he is a member of Sinn Fein, the former political branch of the IRA.
In an op-ed detailing the journey that led him to become a fully-fledged IRA supporter, the former Daily Mirror editor wrote:
"February 7, 1972, was the first day of my long silence.
"I knew that to own up to supporting Irish republicans would result in me losing my job."
He decided to stay silent as he "couldn't conceive of doing anything else".
However, it was during this period that he also broadened his knowledge of Irish history – as well as his links to the Irish republican cause.
While Greenslade had reservations about the IRA's bombing campaigns, which purposefully targeted innocent civilians, he accepted that an armed struggle was needed to advance the cause.
"I came to accept that the fight between the forces of the state and a group of insurgents was unequal and therefore could not be fought on conventional terms. In other words, I supported the use of physical force," he wrote. He said that becoming an assistant editor at the Sun in 1981, shortly before Bobby Sands and nine other prisoners died on hunger strike while campaigning for political prisoner status, further entrenched his republican sympathies.