Hugh Mooney

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Person.png Hugh Mooney PowerbaseRdf-icon.png
(propagandist)
Hugh Mooney.jpg
Pictured in the Lobster Magazine[1]
BornHugh Peter Mooney
1936
Died12 December 2017 (Age 81)

Hugh Mooney was a member of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Information Research Department (IRD).[2] He has also worked as a journalist, including as a sub-editor on the Irish Times.[3] Hugh Mooney died in Cambridgeshire on 12 December 2017, aged 81.[4]

Hugh Who?

Three months after Mooney's death, Robin Ramsay published an article in the Lobster Magazine entitled "Hugh Who?". Here is an extract from Hugh Mooney’s CV:

1. My name is Hugh Mooney. I am a journalist by profession I have worked as sub-editor on the Irish Times. As a Reuters correspondent in the Middle East I spent six months in Aden in 1966 and in 1967 reported the Arab/Israeli war.
2. In 1969, I left the BBC External Services to take a job as a specialist writer in the Information Research Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. IRD had been set up at the onset of the Cold War to counter Soviet Communist Bloc propaganda, by monitoring, conducting research and providing unattributable briefings to journalists and others.
3. By the time I joined, IRD’s terms of reference had widened to include responsibility for monitoring and countering hostile propaganda from any source. For example I spent some weeks in Bermuda advising on countering black-power propaganda and during 1971, I started to visit Northern Ireland, where the Government of the Irish Republic had financed pro-republican propaganda.
4. My first visit (in March/April 1971) was at the request of the United Kingdom Government Representative, Ronnie Burroughs. When my terms of reference were agreed by all departments later that year, the UKREP was Howard Smith. My brief was to assist the Army, the RUC and the Northern Ireland Government Information Service to counter hostile propaganda and improve their public relations activity. I was a member of the UKREP’s staff and was not seconded to the Army.
5. The Army’s Public Relations branch at HQNI was headed by a retired army officer, Tony Staughton, and had been beefed up by the appointment of a deputy, Lieutenant-Colonel Tony Yarnold. The public relations disaster of internment in August 1971 had led to the formation of the lnformation Policy Branch, headed by Colonel Maurice Tugwell, whose deputy was Lieutenant-Colonel INQ 1873. I shared INQ 1873 office at HQNI. IPB’s brief was to fight the propaganda war and it guided and supplemented PR branch’s work.[5]

Middle East

As a Reuters Correspondent in the Middle East, Mooney spent six months in Aden in 1966, and reported on the Arab-Israeli War of 1967.[6]

Information Research Department

Mooney left BBC External Services in 1969 to join the IRD. By this time the Department's remit had been widened from fighting communism to countering all hostile propaganda.[7]

Mooney told the Bloody Sunday Inquiry:

For example I spent some weeks in Bermuda advising on countering black-power propaganda and during 1971, I started to visit Northern Ireland, where the Government of the Irish Republic had financed pro-republican propaganda.[8]

Northern Ireland

Mooney first visited Northern Ireland in March/April 1971 at the request of the UK Government Representative, Ronnie Buroughs.[9]

Mooney was seconded to the Home Office for the purpose of an appointment in Northern Ireland which he took up in June 1971.[10]

He told the Bloody Sunday Inquiry:

My brief was to assist the Army, the RUC and the Northern Ireland Government Information Service to counter hostile propaganda and improve their public relations activity.[11]

Mooney continued to work with the Army PR and Information Policy teams until the end of 1973.[12]

Bloody Sunday

Mooney spent the day of Bloody Sunday manning phones at HQNI. Following the shootings, David Gilliland called from Stormont and urged him to get out an Army statement as soon as possible:

By this time it was too late to get anything into the first editions of the London newspapers which would be read in Ireland. The best the Army could do was to put its side of events on the early morning radio bulletins. I decided to offer the local BBC correspondent, Chris Drake, an interview with Maurice Tugwell, who had spent the day in Londonderry with Major-General Robert Ford, Commander Land Forces. When Tugwell returned, I told him what I had done and he agreed it was in the Army's interest to do the interview. I remember him saying something like: "We had better see if Int have traces on any of these people."
I then went home but came back to sit in on the interview with Drake. Tugwell then told me that four of the victims were "wanted" or "on the wanted list". By that I took him to mean that Int had some trace of involvement with the IRA. He said as much in the interview. Drake played the tape back to Tugwell and commented that he sounded a bit mild and conciliatory, and suggested that Tugwell might do it again in a harder tone of voice. This Tugwell did. The broadcast was a last-minute, improvised, damage-limitation exercise. It became necessary because no provision had been made for a coordinated public relations response at HQNI, simply because the Bloody Sunday killings had not been foreseen.[13]

Mooney also told the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that army officer INQ 1873 told him the following day of a conversation he had with Major General Ford the day after the shootings:

"Make sure you get that on the front page", the general had said. [INQ 1873] told me he was kicking himself for not responding: "I guarantee it, General".[14]

1936|12 December 2017|


References

  1. "Hugh Who? (Hugh Mooney)"
  2. Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry - Volume IX - Chapter 178, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 15 June 2010.
  3. KM6 - Statement of Hugh Mooney, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, accessed 15 June 2010.
  4. "Hugh Peter MOONEY Obituary"
  5. "Hugh Who?"
  6. KM6 - Statement of Hugh Mooney, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, accessed 15 June 2010.
  7. KM6 - Statement of Hugh Mooney, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, accessed 15 June 2010.
  8. KM6 - Statement of Hugh Mooney, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, accessed 15 June 2010.
  9. KM6 - Statement of Hugh Mooney, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, accessed 15 June 2010.
  10. Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry - Volume IX - Chapter 178, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 15 June 2010.
  11. KM6 - Statement of Hugh Mooney, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, accessed 15 June 2010.
  12. KM6 - Statement of Hugh Mooney, p.4, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, accessed 15 June 2010.
  13. KM6 - Statement of Hugh Mooney, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, accessed 15 June 2010.
  14. KM6 - Statement of Hugh Mooney, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, accessed 15 June 2010.

[Category:Aden Emergency|Mooney, Hugh]]