Death of former trade union & social activist Noel Harris

Just received this from a friend, and wanted to pass on:

Noel Harris spent his adult life as an active trade unionist and trade union
official in Belfast, Dublin and London. In Belfast he was a member of
DATA, the Draftsmens Union, and then became National Secretary of ASTMS in
Dublin. He was on the Executive of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for a
period. After leaving Ireland he became head of the Social and Economic
Department of the World Federation of Trade Unions in Prague. When he and
Rhona moved to London he necame national organiser for years of the
Cinematograph Workers Union (ACTT). He was a close friend of the late Ken
Gill, one of Britain’s leading labour leaders in the 1970s-1980s.

Noel Harris came to politics as a young man through the Northern Ireland
Communist Party. Although of non-Catholic background he was active in the
early and middle 1960s in bringing the issue of anti-Catholic
discrimination to the fore through his trade union DATA. His union in
turn raised the civil rights issues through the Belfast Trades Council.
In January 1967 he was on the founding committee of the Northern Ireland
Civil Rights Association and was one of those who walked in the first civil
rights marches.

It was the coming together of trade unionists of Protestant and non-Catholic
background with Catholics of Republican background which led to the
formation of the NICRA and the wider Civil Rights Movement which followed
from that, which in turn shattered Ulster Unionist political hegemony for
ever.

In Dublin he was an active member of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement,
was its general secretary for a period and was a close friend of the late
Kader Asmal.

During his years in England Noel became General Secretary of CODIR, the
Committee for Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights. This was established
in 1981 by a group of British labour and trade union activists in
collaboration with Iranian democrats living in exile in the UK. It published
a quarterly journal, Iran Today, which encouraged solidarity between the
British and Iranian peoples. It worked closely with the Stop the War
Coalition at the time of the Iraq war and campaigned against foreign
intervention in Iran.

Noel was a genial companion, a determined campaigner for good and
progressive causes, a person of wide reading and culture and altogether a
splendid human being who will be missed by all who knew him.

Please disseminate the news of Noel’s death to others whom you think should
be told about it, together with the information in this note as you see
fit.

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