A description is given. We discussed this when looking at the RUC Special Branch material. The photographs to try and identify were — resulted from the RUC Special Branch Headquarters asking their
Dungannon officer to get updated photographs. This is before that happens. So they’ve got photographs of REDACTED.
They’ve been given to MI5. They have been shown to the individual, who is being asked, “is this the person?”, and you can see — I don’t want to read too much into paragraph 3, but you may consider one reading of it is they are already working on the basis that the McGrath is and they are just trying to make sure they identify the right one, because you can see the phrase is: “Was that the the commanding officer of the Tara Brigade?”
Of course, you know, Members of the Panel, we should be talking about William McGrath, but MI5, as with the RUC Special Branch, appears from the material not to have worked that out yet. You can see this report, if we scroll down, please, is also going over to the RUC Special Branch. It perhaps indicates the type of world we were living in that this document is being brought by an individual travelling. So it is not e-mail communication the way we might do today.
The context of this is a very serious security situation taking place in the country. The next day, if we look at 105173, please, on 5th August 1971 we have another MI5 report about the identification of
in charge of Tara and the continued suggestion this might be the same man as in the photos.
Then if we look at 105176, please, on 24th September, so another six weeks later, a letter from the RUC arrives making reference to the reports of 4th an 5th September. That would appear to relate to the reports of 4th and 5th August. It may be whether the date is a mistake or deliberately changed to try and avoid if communications fall into the wrong hands them being identified, but we have just looked at them.
Here the RUC are providing MI5 with two recent photographs of which they have obtained from their officer in Dungannon for MI5’s source to look at. Then if we look at 105177, please, we have another MI5 report of 2nd November 1971, which records that: “The recent photos received from the RUC have been shown to MI5 source, who confirmed that while they were similar to the McGrath who was the head of Tara, they were not the same person.”
You can see if we scroll down, that this information, this conclusion, was communicated to the head of the RUC Special Branch as well as to the Director and Coordinator of Intelligence. Now if we look, please, at 105180, some two weeks later on 17th November 1971 we have an MI5 report on the Tara Brigade and on the source’s belief as to its strength and structure. If we scroll down just a little bit, please, we can see: “May be of help to the RUC. I have passed the chart together with the additional details to head of Special Branch and to the Director of Intelligence by letter. Your source is gradually producing a picture of the organisation and one hopes that he will be able to fill in the details over a period of time.”
The chart that was attached has at the top of the organisation as they endeavour to work out who is in it. If we look, please, at 105181, on 15th March 1972 in an MI5 report its source is recorded as reporting that: “The Tara Brigade is now fully disbanded.” You can see the source is saying that: “Tara’s leader …” Again you can see it is still a surname only: “… surname McGrath, who had not been seen since the first two weeks of December 1971.” You can see that: “Source has reported that McGrath is said to be a civil servant, who was said to be last working on the problems of drug addiction. He also holds an MBE.” You can see at the bottom that the information was going to be passed, if we scroll down, please, to the RUC Special Branch and you will recall then seeing that language in an RUC Special Branch document.
CHAIRMAN: I think if we just pause at this point, it is perhaps relevant to remember when these inquiries are being made in August 1971 apparently trying to find out who is this man McGrath, in August 1971 we have internment and all the political community turmoil that took place at that time, and on 15th March 1972, when the source reports that Tara is now finally disbanded, this is less than two weeks before the imposition of Direct Rule and, of course, up until the imposition of Direct Rule the RUC Special Branch was responsible to the Northern Ireland devolved government, not to Her Majesty’s Government in London, although there was clearly an element of cooperation, as we have seen from these documents.
MR AIKEN: Yes. It’s also the case that William McGrath is already working in Kincora. He began in June 1971.
CHAIRMAN: So nine months have gone by and all they have found out about a man called McGrath is that he hasn’t been seen since December. He is not of Dungannon and he is supposed to be somebody who holds the MBE and has been working on drugs matters. Those two things have never so far as I am aware ever been attributed to Mr McGrath.
MR AIKEN: No.
CHAIRMAN: They don’t seem to know very much about him.
MR AIKEN: No. I have said on a number of occasions and I make the point again, because it is important to bear in mind, we are looking at a very focused particular point, and as the Panel is aware, there was a huge amount of violence, civil unrest going on, which will be attracting the attention of the very same people who are writing these reports, and therefore the reporting — as you can see, Tara is described as a defensive action.
It is said it never have fired a shot in anger in Northern Ireland. It is obviously something of interest, but you may well consider that it is likely to be very well down the pecking order of matters that are concerning the RUC and the intelligence agencies in 1971 and 1972.
Now MI5 have produced to the Inquiry a letter received from James Millar, a name you will be familiar with from your work in preparation for these public hearings.
If we look, please, at 105005, this letter is of 7th April 1982, and what we are making available is the part that relates to William McGrath that the Inquiry is interested in: “Have been told by an individual that the Tara CO”, Commanding Officer, “McGrath had been accused of assaulting small boys and that he could not account for any cash that had been handed to him over a period of 12 months.”
Now something the Inquiry is aware of, which perhap James Millar writing the letter may not have been aware of, in 1971 there was the break with Roy Garland and that ended up with a judgment for money and there was clear financial issues when we look at Roy Garland’s description of events between him and William McGrath. So the Panel may be less surprised at a reference to money in this form at this time, but you can see that this individual, who is still to James Millar Ta McGrath, had been accused of assaulting small boys.
That allegation about the man named McGrath, the Officer Commanding of Tara, would be carried forward, if we look at 105007, please, in an 11th April 1972 MI5 report on “Extreme Protestants”. You can see: “It is reported that the former Commanding Officer of the Tara Brigade — McGrath — had been accused of assaulting small boys and could not account for any cash that had been handed to him over a period of a year.” Now if we just scroll down, please, you can see: “This information obtained through unconscious sub-source whose reliability open to doubt.” You can see then: “Passed to Director of Intelligence Northern Ireland for …” I think that’s …
CHAIRMAN: “… for …”
MR AIKEN: It is probably: “… disclosure as … consider … will be able to…”
CHAIRMAN: Yes. Unfortunately some of these documents which we have seen do not photograph terribly well.
MR AIKEN: No, they don’t. We will see if we can get to the bottom of that. I am pretty sure I can get to the bottom of that. I want to pause just at that point to show you what MI5 have said.
CHAIRMAN: Can we just look at what we can make out? “Any information pointing to [something] …”
MR LANE: “… interaction …”
CHAIRMAN: “… interaction [something] characters in Ulster Vanguard.”
That’s another political movement that was growing rapidly at that stage.
MR AIKEN: Yes, and obviously we have — there’s material on this “Extreme Protestants” report that’s not related to William McGrath and Tara. You can see what has attracted the interest of the intelligence officer who is writing this part.
As you know, there is an issue over claims that James Millar would make to journalists in 1987 and, which will be unknown until now, his subsequent recanting of what he said to the journalists in 1987 in the aftermath of the article, and we will come back and look at that at another time, but I want to pause just now to show you what — because of the importance of that document, which refers to the assaulting of small boys, albeit we are talking about the McGrath person unknown, no connection yet made to Kincora and no first name.
If we can look at paragraph 4074, please, the MI5 officer has endeavoured to explain what’s going on. You can see we’ve got the same extract on the screen. You can see just above — if we just scroll up, please — sorry — to paragraph above, 91. Scroll up to the next paragraph up, please. Yes “We located a letter written by Mr Millar dated 7th April 1972 in which he reported having been told by an associate that the Tara Commanding officer, whose name was given as McGrath, ‘had been accused of assaulting small boys’.
However, Mr Millar did not provide McGrath’s first name. “If we scroll down, please: “He did not indicate anything about McGrath’ sexuality or employment, and he did not expand on what was meant by ‘assaulting’.” If I can just pause there, obviously we know lots more information, but what the officer is asking the inquiry to do is to — what was known at the point this is being said, and there’s not in the records we looked at reference yet to him being a homosexual and not yet a reference to him working in Kincora. What’s being said here, there is nothing described as to what is meant by “assaulting”.
“Part of Mr Millar’s letter was reproduced almost verbatim in an MI5 report about ‘Extreme Protestants’. The author of the MI5 document included the comment that reliability of the person who told Millar about the accusation was ‘open to doubt’.”
So again this is intelligence information and doubt is being cast on the provenance of what has been then written by James Millar in respect of what he has been told. Then the Deputy Director explains: “We believe the MI5 officer would have taken into account a number of factors when assessing the information in Mr Millar’s letter at the time. These would probably have included, for example: when had the accusations been made; by whom were the accusations made (by victims, police or others).”
Scroll down, please: “Against whom were the allegations made (the leader of Tara, Mr McGrath, was not yet fully identified); when had the alleged assaults taken place (recently or in thepast); and what kind of assault had been carried out: physical (eg slapping/punching) or sexual (or even verbal) and at this point there has been no allegation about Mr McGrath’s homosexuality.
At the time that Mr Millar’s letter was passed to MI5 in April 1972 the service was still uncertain about the identity of Mr McGrath who was the Commanding Officer of Tara. Even his forename was in doubt. It was an RUC letter of 22nd November 1973 …” So that’s almost eighteen months later: “… that provided McGrath’s full name, date of birth and gave his occupation as ‘social worker’ at Kincora Hostel.
Also we ought not to assume that ‘assault’ would have been interpreted at the time by the MI5 officer who read Mr Millar’s letter or by anyone who read it as being of a sexual type. McGrath was after all running a paramilitary organisation, and physical abuse or rough handling of young recruits might have been anticipated. For example …”, and he gives an example of: “… an MI5 source reporting about the UDA prior to 8th July 1972 stated that there was ‘a very bullying attitude by the leadership toward the rank and file’, which was not well received. In this context we should also bear in mind that Loyalist paramilitaries, like their Republican counterparts, used youngsters in their cause.
The MI5 officer who drafted the April 1972 report did not give their reason for assessing the sub-source’s reliability as ‘open to doubt’.” If we scroll down, please: “It may be that the officer based his judgment on information obtained from elsewhere, including discussions with others (eg, Army intelligence and RUC Special Branch officers).
However, we do know that in October 1971 MI5 had reporting that there was some ‘discord’ within Tara, some of whose members appear to have been defaming or insulting each other and McGrath. We should note too that the MI5 officer’s focus in Northern Ireland at that time would have been to obtain strategic intelligence on paramilitary capabilities, activities and intentions.
The accusations against an as yet unidentified McGrath as reported in the 1972 letter would not have been passed to the police not just due to the factors we referred to above, but also because it could be judged to fall below the intelligence threshold. It was a generalised assertion and insufficiently robust.
The MI5 judgment on Mr Millar’s letter would have been made at a particularly challenging time for the security forces. Terrorists had killed 180 people during 1971 and in 1972 up to the date of this letter”, which is April 1972, “they had already killed some 50 people.
Therefore an accusation of dubious provenance about an unidentified person and ambiguous interpretation may well have been considered simply not to meet the threshold for dissemination.
MI5 did pass some of its reports, in whole or in part, to RUC Head of Special Branch. However, this was discretionary and it is not possible to tell from the MI5’s ‘Extreme Protestants’ report whether or not the RUC Head of Special Branch was told about the accusation against McGrath. Nor can we tell whether or not the RUC had received a copy of Mr Millar’s letter.”
Well, we as an Inquiry are able to see that that’s not — that didn’t happen: “So while the accusation made against the McGrath cited in Mr Millar’s letter may be judged to be of some significance in hindsight, we are satisfied that it was not actionable” at the time.
Then the Deputy Director goes on to look at the issue over what James Millar had to say in 1987, which we will come back to. So I wanted to show you, because that will be the first time that document has ever been seen, and the report that flowed from it. Without understanding the context one could easily go away, given what everyone knows now about William McGrath, and attribute to it something that it doesn’t bear based on the state of knowledge at the time the document was written and considered.
Now on — that’s April 1972. On 26th June 1972, by which William McGrath had been working in Kincora for one year, MI5 received a report from the Metropolitan Police in London on information about the UDA.
I will just show you the first page, please. KIN105183. You can see it is from the Metropolitan Police. It is based on a Special Branch report concerning someone involved in the Ulster Defence Association. Now the document runs from 105183 to 105191. So it’s nine pages and, of course, it contains all sorts of terribly interesting material, but none of which is relevant to the Inquiry.
The part that is relevant to the Inquiry, if we can look, please, at 105187, at paragraph 17 of the document, you can see that the person who is being spoken to: “… continually made reference to the Tara Brigade as being a trained armed force which posed much more of a threat than the UDA.”
Now based on the other material we were looking at yesterday in the RUC Special Branch file again you can see the difficulty with taking as fact or taking as read the accuracy of the information that has been provided by anyone at any given time. You can then see further down: “Other men actively concerned with the Tara Brigade in Ulster were Billy McGrath, Holywood Road, Belfast.”
So added to the knowledge by this date in June 1972 is in connection with Tara, although not being said to be the Officer Commanding Tara, is a man called Billy McGrath, but who lives on the Holywood Road.
As you know, William McGrath never had an address on the Holywood Road that the Inquiry is aware of. Then you have — if we could move through to 105190, please, you have an annex to the report and on the second page of the annex you can see it begins: “Persons and organisations mentioned in report.”
So someone is setting out a list of those who come up in this lengthy document. If we move through to the second page, please, we will see that you have got: “Billy McGrath. May be identical with man of same name, an Orange official mentioned in Irish News on 6th October 1969.”
So the Metropolitan police officer who authors this document has obviously looked at a newspaper article. I am not clear what’s in that. It may be it is the same. William McGrath and he is suggesting that they are one and the same person, but you can see then, if we scroll further down, that in respect of Tara it is being said by the Metropolitan Police: “No trace.”
Now if we look at 105192, please, in an MI5 note for file of 16th August 1972 you can see that the MI5 officer had a conversation at RUC Headquarters with an Army police liaison officer who was responsible for extreme Protestants, and he had information on a man who had an MBE but whose name he did not know “He was, however, known to be a fairly important individual in the extreme Protestant milieu.”
Then he says: “On 14th August I rang him to say that I had recently come across a reference to someone with an MBE”, and he quoted the reports which had been passed on for onward transmission: “I added that, of course, we did not know whether they had, in fact, been passed on, but that these might give him a lead.”
So you can see what’s going on as they are trying to work out who this is, because we looked at the material that suggested he was a civil servant, working with drugs and had an MBE. That appears to be that this officer who is writing the note — if we look at 105181, please, you can see that he appears to have found the report — 105181 — thank you — he seems to have found the report of 15th March 1972, which we looked at.
You can see in the first paragraph the reference to the MBE. Now if we look, please, at 105193, on 9th November 1972 in a report held by MI5 you can see what’s being said about Tara: “Tara Brigade has been completely disbanded. Its members either joined with others in forming The Orange Volunteers or joined the UVF. The Tara Brigade was said to be the extreme wing of the UVF.”
If we scroll down, please, we can see reference to: “East Belfast, Tara Brigade organisation. Arms and equipment were stored in a particular location.” He refers back to other documents. If we move on to the next page, please — just scroll down a little further — yes, you can see page 2. In fact, we have moved on to another document. So that’s what was being said about Tara in November 1972, that it had disbanded. I think that sits with the document we looked at to explain that McGrath had not been …
CHAIRMAN: Not been seen since December, December of ’71.
MR AIKEN: Yes, or maybe it doesn’t sit entirely with that then, because that’s a year earlier. It is now being said again that it’s disbanded and —
CHAIRMAN: Well, March ’72 it was reported that it was finally disbanded and McGrath had not been seen since the first two weeks in December. That was 105181 you told us about.
MR AIKEN: Yes. So that’s November ’72. If we look at 3557, please, and this is a Secret Intelligence Service record of the 18th April 1973. There was a reference found to it on the card we were looking at. You can see: “New Protestant organisation: Tara (daily intelligence summary). (10th April 1973).” So there’s been reporting of it’s disbanded.
There has been this break with people going off into other organisations, which, as you know, sits with what Roy Garland was saying happened in, in fact, 1971. Now you have “New Protestant organisation: Tara. Source has provided further information on Tara, the new Protestant organisation about which there has been recent press reports.
According to the source”, and they quote someone from the UDA — if we scroll down, please — “Tara originated in 1968 from within the Orange Debating Society. In its refurbished form the leader is William McGrath, a Paisleyite, and his son Worthington is secretary. Another prominent member is Clifford Smyth, a leading member of Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party. It seems likely from this latter
information that our guess about an individual’s involvement was probably wrong.
I think it is unlikely that Tara has or will develop much influence. It seems clear from the indications we have had there are fears in UDA circles about its posing a possible threat that its existence will add further to the divisions and jealousies among extremist Protestants.” Now that is an SIS record of 18th April ’73, but what I want us to do, if we go back, please, to 55021, to a document we looked at yesterday, so you can see this is the daily intelligence summary, 10th April 1973. If we scroll down, please, on to I think the next page, you can see that we are looking at the same information that we were looking at yesterday. It’s collated in a different form, but it’s obviously information that has been shared. Now on 11th July 1973, if we look at 105194, please —
CHAIRMAN: I am sorry. Just so we are clear about this, so, in other words, the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, appear to have sent this to Special Branch. Is that the way you interpret it or the other way round?
MR AIKEN: Probably the other way round, that the Director and Coordinator of Intelligence in Northern Ireland doing his intelligence summary has provided information to the RUC, but it’s also been passed to The Secret Intelligence Service as well as MI5 in London. It just so happens The Secret Intelligence Service hold the record we were looking at.
CHAIRMAN: But that would seem, therefore, to indicate that if you look at RUC Special Branch, MI5 and MI6 at that point in time, that represents a common understanding, pooling their various sources of information, of what McGrath’s position was.
MR AIKEN: Yes. If we scroll up, we will see this document we have been looking at — I think it — if we scroll up a little bit more, we can maybe see the — yes. It’s the same date. Scroll down a little further. You can probably see — I think somebody has written in hand on it “18th April ’73”, but it’s the same date as the SIS record we were looking at. In fact, it has a 19th April stamp along the bottom.
So it’s a document that the information seems to be collated and then sent in a number of different directions. If we can look at 105194, please, this is a report of 11th July 1973. It’s a similar document in the sense it’s a daily intelligence summary document that’s held by MI5 and records information provided by a source. If we scroll down just a little bit, please, you can see: “Daily intelligence summary (11th July 1973).” You can see that: “Source reports that William McGrath, leader of Tara, has approached another individual with a request for a meeting to consider Tara’s position and discuss the whole defence.”
Then you can see this: “Although there has been one report in May 1973 of the Tara Brigade being resuscitated in a particular area, we see the present report as confirmation of our earlier view that this is unlikely to develop into an influential …” I think it is meant to be “entity”. It could be “party”.
CHAIRMAN: Well, there seem to be only three letters. Hard to make out what they are.
MR AIKEN: Yes. On 13th November — so that we are looking at is 11th July. On 13th November, if we look at 3558, please, this is another Secret Intelligence Service record and it records the receipt of information about Tara that arose from an interrogation report. So you can see: “We attach copies of an interrogation report on a member of Vanguard Service Corps carried out at a police station. We attach a set of comments on personalities mentioned which has been compiled by our research section.”
Now the — if we move on to the next page, please, we will see the relevant part of the interrogation section that relates to Tara and William McGrath: “Subject then stated that he had knowledge of another organisation called Tara. Subject explained that Tara is a splinter group formed from UVF. Subject stated that Tara is run by McGrath …” and someone has written in “William”: “… from his house on the Holywood Road.
Subject explained that McGrath got them young and preached religion to them. Subject appeared to mean that McGrath preached bigotry and anti-Catholic sermons. Subject stated that Tara were responsible for the wrecking of the chapel on the Cregagh Road and further stated that he had been told that this organisation had 500 Thompson machine guns.
Subject stated that Tara was very secret and was not generally talked about or known to exist. Subject went on to say that he thought McGrath may also be part of UFF. Subject was sure that McGrath associate REDACTED was also a member. Subject stated that he was given this information and told that he had been told that UFF always take a souvenir from their victims.”
So again I stress the point just because someone has provided this information does not mean that it’s accurate, because, as you know, Members of the Panel, from looking at all of the Tara material that’s available, there doesn’t seem to be any suggestion that they had 500 Thompson machine guns or indeed that William McGrath was ever involved with the UFF.
Now what you may consider to be interesting, just carrying on from the point we made over the last document, if we look, please, at 55098, we looked at this document which is on the RUC Special Branch file yesterday, and you can see in the top corner that — we looked at the date. It is 17th October ’73. So it’s the same information that you are seeing in the middle of the page, and it’s again obviously been transferred, but not necessarily — it’s taken about four weeks for it to get on to an SIS record that has been provided to the Inquiry, but again you can see the evidence of — and in fairness in the SIS officer’s statement he explains that the documents you can see are being sent from intelligence officers in Belfast to London, copied to SIS, copied to MI5 and that’s generally what appears to have been happening.
Now on 22nd November 1973, if we can look at 105195, please — and we looked at this letter yesterday — on 22nd November the RUC write to MI5 making them aware that they had received information that William McGrath was to travel to Amsterdam.
You can see it confirms McGrath is a social worker and works in Kincora. I stand corrected. This appears to be the first time that MI5 have a record telling them that William McGrath is someone who is working in Kincora Hostel. It is coming from the RUC.
We looked at it yesterday from the perspective of the RUC making the intelligence service aware where someone is going to be travelling abroad and is connected in this way with a potential paramilitary organisation.
But you can see the analysis of the RUC Special Branch in respect of Tara. You can see: “Intelligence on this group, which is believed to have close links with the UVF and the Orange Order, show that it was dormant for some time prior to 11th April 1973 when it made a public announcement in the press of its reformation. Little threat is offered by this group at present, and while it has claimed a large membership throughout Northern Ireland, it is, in fact, a small group of people operating in Belfast with a very small membership.”
You can also see that — the personal confidential info is just the national insurance number. The Panel is aware. You have the unredacted document. It does not appear to make reference to McGrath’s sexuality in the document. Now if we look, please, at 105008, the — you can see there is a document, the second one down, of 29th November ’73 which obviously references William McGrath as being: “… a contact of foreign card, believed to be involved in shipping arms to Ireland.”
In keeping with other documents referenced on the card we have seen and will see, the card summarises the information about the individual in the larger record. The intelligence officers or the intelligence agents have not been able as yet to find the record from which the information on the card was extracted. However, other than the fact of the information it does not appear to bear any relevance to the matters of interest to the Inquiry.
The same index card, as you can see, if we — at 105008, records an entry of 28th February. If we can scroll down just so we can see. Yes. No. Just go up so we can — that’s it. Up more line more. There.
Thank you. We can get both parts of this on the screen. You can see that there is a reference — an entry of 28th February 1975. So the last of it is on the front and the rest — the first of it is on the front and the rest of it is on the rear, and it describes William McGrath as being: “The warden at Kincora. Reported to be homosexual”, and then the reference to a sexual relationship with REDACTED and REDACTED is said to be living with McGrath.”
We have not been able to date — the organisations have not been able to trace that record from which the information on the card was extracted, but you can see that it’s recording he is reported to be a homosexual. Then if we can look, please, at 105196, on 31st March 1975, and you can see the date in the top of the page, and if we scroll down, please, it refers back to a note of 11th March. This is about the Democratic Unionist Party: “As you are aware, we are at present seeking means of gathering intelligence on the Democratic Unionist Party. In this context MI5 have been passed a copy of the attached letter from LINCO/CONCO Army officers in East Belfast working in the intelligence section of 39 Brigade concerning the possibility of recruitment of the Reverend Ian Paisley’s secretary, Miss Valerie Shaw.
“Prior to exploring ways and means by which we might exploit the situation set out in the attached letter, we consulted the DCI”, so the Director and Coordinator of Intelligence, “on whether clearance for the formal recruitment of the secretary would be likely to be forthcoming. It was the Director and Coordinator of Intelligence’s firm view that clearance would not be granted as, for example, Paisley’s position with regard to the Protestant paramilitary forces was quite different to that of another individual. We are therefore taking no further steps in this case and we’ll be advising the Army to beware of becoming actively involved in the case.”
Now we have made clear we are not investigating Ian Paisley and attempts to recruit people who could report on him. We have left that available and we are looking at it because it relates to Valerie Shaw, who played a role in respect of Roy Garland and trying to make people aware of William McGrath.
So this document is saying, “See the letter that’s attached”, and we are going to look at that letter. If we look, please, at 105011, on — so the letter of 31st March referred back — attaches this letter of 22nd March 1975. You can see it is one of two copies and it is given to an officer from 39 Infantry Brigade and it is described as: “Talent spotting — Democratic Unionist Party. Over the past six months a sergeant and a corporal in 39 Brigade have developed a good personal relationship with a constable in the RUC Special …”
CHAIRMAN: “… Special Patrol Group …”
MR AIKEN: “… Patrol Group and as a result of this relationship he has passed over useful information. Since November 1974 the corporal has been working on a project concerning the organisation known as Tara.”
So you can see that the Army are interested in Tara: “… have been given background information on Tara. The police officer’s source for this information is one Miss Valerie Shaw, who is employed as PA to the Reverend Ian Paisley. The following is a summary of information that was passed by Miss Shaw on Tara and personalities so far.”
Now if I can just pause there before we look at this. This is obviously important, because you have Valerie Shaw’s recollections in 1980 and 1982 and 1985 as to what she was told and what she did with the information, and we know that in June 1974 she spoke to Superintendent Graham. This is recording information that she seems to have passed to a police officer, who is then passing it on to these Army officers. You can see: “William McGrath:”
So it’s got the address, his home address, correct: “Warden of Kincora Boys’ Hostel”, which, as you know was at 236, not 188. It says: “He used to live in Faith House, 25 Orpen Park, Finaghy. This was the house he lived in before the scandal broke.” Unfortunately he moves from Orpen Park in 1960. It is not clear what is being referred to here that is then recorded in the document: “He then moved to…”
That’s not quite right, as you know. It was: “… where REDACTED stayed with him until got married. There was a Scottish matron type that worked in Faith House who became disenchanted with McGrath’s habits and packed up and went home. Source said she would know a lot about his earlier activities.
He is the Master of the Ireland Heritage Lodge, which meets in the John Knox Memorial Hall, Cliftonpark Avenue, of which there is a suggestion that Paisley had some sort of control of. It was over the use of this hall that McGrath an Paisley had a disagreement. McGrath wanted to use the hall for a meeting, to which Paisley agreed.
Source on hearing of this went to Paisley with a set of letters papers …” You will recall we’ve looked at those: “… written to one Roy Garland by McGrath when they were having an affair, to show Paisley what sort of man he was dealing with. Paisley then tried to prevent McGrath using the hall, to which McGrath replied by threatening to publicise Paisley’s ‘undemocratic usage of Orange Halls’ and to organise a protest march using the members of his lodge outside Paisley’s church.
In the late ’60’s, early ’70s McGrath was collecting funds, reason not known. Garland had donated £4,000 in good heart. Somewhere along the line McGrath went crooked, used the money for his own ends. Garland found out and demanded his money back. When McGrath refused, Garland sued him, the outcome of which McGrath had to sell Faith House to pay off the debt.” Of course, that’s not quite right, because he sold REDACTED to pay off the debt: “Roy Garland: He owns his own business, something to do with chemicals. He is the man who was in source’s words influenced by McGrath and who kept the letters and papers exchanged between themselves whilst the affair lasted.”
As I repeat again, this is information that’s being conveyed from one individual to another and then to two more and it’s the fact it is being said, not that it is necessarily accurate. Then you have: “For the last convention the DUP party machinery was geared to support REDACTED.”
That gets in to do with politics between — if we scroll further down, please, you can see then that it is being said: “He was asked if he was a homosexual in any way connected with McGrath. He denied this, and as nobody gave evidence against him, he was given the benefit of the doubt.”
You can see: “Reverend Martin Smyth: He was trying to do something about “, as in — I think that should be something about McGrath: “He was involved in some action in Scotland to discredit Smyth.” Maybe this is McGrath was doing this against Reverend Smyth, but anyway: “He also knows about McGrath.”
If we scroll down, please: “Miss Shaw has a grievance to settle with McGrath, whom she dislikes intently for moral reasons. To this end she is prepared to pass information and hopefully Tara to the police officer. For his part he is prepared to pass on the information to the military through the sergeant and the corporal. It is doubtful if he will object to passing information direct to HQNI providing a suitable handler is found. He is adamant, however, that he does not want the RUC or Special Branch involved.”
So you can see what’s going on here. Then: “At present the following background is known on Miss Shaw: deeply religious person, a member of a particular mission, generally involved with missionary work. Employed as PA to the Reverend Paisley.” If we scroll down, I think that’s the end of the letter. It is.
So that’s the information in March 1975, and what you may consider to be important, Members of the Panel, is in addition to what’s in the letter as to what they have been told, what’s not in the letter, which is then being conveyed across to MI5.
SIS also held a copy of 22nd March 1975 talent spotting letter — I will just give you the reference for that: it is at 3561 through to 3563 — which they had received under cover of a communication of 31st March 1975, which is at 3560. In May 1975, so two months later, if we look at 105014, please, Merseyside Special Branch, so the police, Merseyside Police, provide MI5 with a report which it is likely to relate to McGrath and which refers to him as a homosexual. We saw some information like this but recorded in a different document when we were looking at the RUC Special Branch documents, but you can see they are not entirely clear who this person is that had come over in 1970 to begin this organisation, but you can see that the person is said to be: “Apparently quite affluent. Living in a large house. Strongly suspected of being a homosexual.”
Then it seems two men from the UVF came over to reorganise the Tara company as a UVF brigade. Now if we look at 3564, please, we saw on the card we were looking at that The Secret Intelligence Service — if we can rotate that round, please — we saw on the card a record of a reference to a Hibernia article of 3rd October 1975. It is the third column, halfway down. So if you can increase the size of that third column as large as possible. So this has come to attention. It has been recorded on the card, but you can see: “It is oddly named Tara. It quite seriously advocates driving all Catholics from the North and eventually hopes to see a takeover of the South and the eradication of the Catholic religion from the island. Tara prides itself on its secrecy and names of its members very rarely appear in print. Its leader until a recent illness was William McGrath of East Belfast. Its administrative officer is REDACTED of Bangor. Its intelligence officer is REDACTED, and REDACTED is in its ranks.”
So the article and the fact of it, what it had to say, is being recorded on the card relating to William McGrath. If we can look, please, at 105197, this is an extract from the Director and Coordinator of Intelligence daily intelligence summary of 17th January 1976. If we — you can see the section that is on this particular extract relates to the: “UVF/Tara cooperation in arms buying.” If we scroll down, please, you can see: “William McGrath was reported in March 1975 to be warden of the Kincora Boys’ Hostel. He has previous Tara traces and is said to be a homosexual. Another regular and reliable source has recently indicated that the UDA and William Craig may be aware of this Tara/UVF activity in the arms field.”
Now that reference to the March ’75 trace in all likelihood is to the letter of 22nd March 1975 that we were looking at where it talked about McGrath as the warden of Kincora Boys’ Hostel. There is another version of this, just to show you how this material is disseminated. If we look at 105016, you will see another slightly different version that has the wrong date on it. You will see it has 17th January ’76 and then 20th January ’77. I hope it didn’t take a year and three days to travel, but you can — if you scroll down, you can see it’s the same information.
So there’s information sharing going on about what is known about William McGrath.
The Secret Intelligence Service had a record of a similar communication from MI5 in London sent to Belfast but also copied to the Secret Intelligence Service of 20th January 1976. You will find that at 3565.
If we just look at that, please, it contains a summary being shared with MI6. So MI5 is sharing with The Secret Intelligence Service a summary of what it knows about William McGrath.
You can see there’s reference to 16th January ’76: “We have the following, which are probably identical with first name unknown McGrath.” So having got that information, I think this is The
Secret Intelligence Service recognising what they know: “McGrath first came to notice as organiser of the Christian Fellowship Centre and Irish Emancipation Crusade at 15 Wellington Park, Belfast. The philosophy of this group is ‘Ulster has been attacked in order that Ireland may become the base for operations against England’. At this time McGrath was employed as a social worker at Kincora Boys’ Hostel.”
You can see: “1968” — if we scroll down, please — “Tara Brigade formed from within the Orange Debating Society …” You will recognise those words from an earlier report: “… and its founder and Commanding Officer was William McGrath.
1970 — McGrath probably identical with the man who set up a Tara Brigade in Liverpool …” We looked at that document: “… the forerunner of the UVF there. Travelled over from Belfast. On his return to Belfast this man was investigated by Loyalists, who decided that he constituted a security risk because of his homosexual tendencies.
Liverpool Tara Brigade was then transformed into a UVF group. 1975 — reported to be the secretary of an Orange Lodge with Gaelic …” I think that’s McGrath’s son that’s being referred to there: “The McGraths are apparently regarded as somewhat eccentric and unstable. There is no trace of William McGrath being a senior Northern Ireland civil servant.”
Then we move on to a record which we are about to look at. So you can see that I think that is an MI5 summary that’s sent to the Secret Intelligence Service, but you can see what’s being shared between them as to what they know, and at 3566, which is what we are at now, we have the — a reply from The Secret Intelligence Service of 2nd February. I think if we scroll up just to make sure I’m looking at the right — yes — a reply of 2nd February. You can see this is a reply to MI5: “Your paragraph 1 and source comment McGrath, first name unknown, of is William McGrath, born 1916, warden of Kincora Boys’ Hostel at that address. He is well documented as a homosexual and leading light in Tara.”
Then you can see: “Inquiries with the RUC show the following recent information.” You’ve got: “6th June 1975. Red Hand Commando — Red Hand Commando has a contract out on McGrath, which resulted
in a warning bomb being placed, as subject strongly anti-Communist and has accused the Red Hand Commando of having Communist tendencies.”
So you will see this language and then, of course, you have seen Army documents which said, “Well, McGrath was a Communist”. So you can see the language being traded, and then you can see reference to the entry to do with the Gaelic teacher for the lodge. “15th January ’76. … published in The Newsletter attacking the IRA and the Southern Government.”
You can see: “There is no evidence that McGrath is or ever was a civil servant.” Now if we can look — there’s then an entry of 13th February 1976, and I want us just to bring up 3569, please, and if we scroll — just scroll down, please, for me. So we’re seeing — keep going so we only see paragraph 9. Just scroll back up a little so we can see paragraph — stop there. Thank you.
This is on 13th February 1976. The Secret Intelligence Service as well as MI5 receive a telegram from intelligence staff in Northern Ireland containing information provided to them. While no doubt the entirety of the document is terribly interesting, because it begins at 3567, the part that’s relevant for this Inquiry’s purposes is that at paragraph 9, and you can see that the information that’s being provided is that: “McGrath makes a practice of exploiting other people’s sexual deviations.”
So: “Source explained that Tara had been destroyed in 1972 by a smear campaign. They had been 300 strong and included a number of UVF members. Now they were much smaller and of higher calibre and were UVF’s main rivals. Roy Garland, who was formerly in Tara but now UVF, is a bisexual, who once had an affair with William McGrath, the Tara leader. McGrath (according to source) has long made a practice of exploiting other people’s sexual deviations and Tara is vulnerable on this account. Paisley has expressed strong animosity towards McGrath.”
So I stress again just because that’s what’s being said doesn’t mean that is a fact. It is information that’s being conveyed. For the Inquiry’s purposes, as the Panel will be very aware, it’s what’s not being said, given the allegations that are made, that will be of considerable importance to the Inquiry. I note the time, Chairman. It’s a detailed examination that I’ve been doing and I am not going to complete it before lunch.
CHAIRMAN: No. Well, I think it is probably a convenient point at which to interrupt and we will resume again at 2 o’clock.
(2.00 pm)10 MR AIKEN: Chairman, Members of the Panel, if possible, if we took a short break and we could resume and carry on for a period of time looking at the material.
CHAIRMAN: Yes. We will rise for a few minutes.
Material relating to intelligence agencies dealt with by COUNSEL TO THE INQUIRY (cont.)
CHAIRMAN: I think we are reduced to a few faithful attenders.
MR AIKEN: Yes. There is additional Brownie points for Mr McGuinness today!
The next — we’d looked at a document from 13th February 1976. I shouldn’t leave out Mr Murray, who is also present.
CHAIRMAN: I did say in the plural.
MR AIKEN: Yes.
CHAIRMAN: I could see Mr Murray, even if you couldn’t.
MR AIKEN: The next document we are going to look at is of 15th October 1976, and this begins a sequence of documents that are likely to be highly relevant to your consideration, Members of the Panel. These are documents that arise from Brian Gemmell, who was, as you know, a captain in the Army, meeting two SIS officers in London. Now it appears he believed them to be MI5 officers, and it shows the difficulty with the Irish Joint Section, but he provided them with the material that’s summarised in a Secret Intelligence Service record.
If we can bring up 3508, please, of 19th October 1976. Now we will be able to go to better quality copies of these documents shortly, but what I want to do is just immediately identify the significance of this, because you will recall it’s in 1975 in March, April, May and June that there’s engagement between Brian Gemmell and Ian Cameron in respect of Roy Garland and also someone else.
There’s an issue, as you know, about conflation between different individuals occurring, but that being said, on 19th October 1976 you have got this record, which is the first of a sequence, and what it is saying is: “We spoke about the above. I attach a copy of a letter written by HQ 3 Infantry Brigade, Lurgan about that above.”
Now just to be clear, what that is is the Halford-MacLeod letter of 28th January 1976. The SIS officer is saying, “Here you are. I have got this” and he is sending it to MI5. “As our copy of this letter was obtained unofficially, please ensure that neither — you guys don’t take any action on this without reference to us.”
Now if we just scroll down on to the next page, please, we then have a further document of 19th October and this is an internal document within The Secret Intelligence Service and it is saying: “Tara. We attach copies of papers handed to the SIS individual by Gemmell on 15th October, which he obtained from his Army files. He made the following comments on these papers.”
Then you can see what’s referred: “(a) Tara — note to file.” It is given “3350/18 Volume II”. That’s an Army reference: “This paper was written by Gemmell and is based on the contents of his file on Tara.”
Then the second document: “(b) Notes on interview with Roy Garland. These were made by Gemmell and his NCO after a ‘one-off’ debrief sanctioned by Ian Cameron.”
Now you can immediately see if that’s accurate, then some of the subsequent statements about the sequence of events may be being conflated and misremembered, because as opposed to being told not to speak to, you can see that this is notes of an interview that have taken place after permission was given to speak to, and then the third document is a Tara proclamation.
Now I want us to look at the two key documents that were handed over by Brian Gemmell to The Secret Intelligence Service officers he met. It is irrelevant for Inquiry purposes whether Brian Gemmell — it may be irrelevant for Inquiry purposes whether Brian Gemmell was entitled to or should have as an Army officer handed over the documents to The Secret Intelligence Service.
The fact is according to the record made by The Secret Intelligence Service officer that is what he did. The note to file that’s referred to here is dated 14th October 1976. So it is a document that is dated one day before the meeting that is recorded in these records, which is said to have taken place, as you can see in the second line of paragraph 1, on 15th October.
Now there is a better copy of it. There’s a copy at 3509, but there’s a better copy at 105030, please. Just if we scroll down, please, it allows you to — it is easier for you to read that document. So you can see exactly what was being recorded in the note. We can now look at the note to file. You will find a copy at 3532, 3533 and 3534, but there’s better copy I want to show you at 105027.
Now I want just to — you can see the reference in the top left, the note to file. So it’s matching the reference in the memo that we looked at indicating the note to file, and you can see in the top right it’s dated 14th October 1976. You have the SIS officer telling his colleague in the SIS, “Brian Gemmell told us he wrote this and we met him on 15th October 1976”.
So you can see then there is a record of Tara first coming to notice and the development of it you can see. In paragraph 2 the organisation and its roots, its recent coming to public notice with the issue to the press of an unsigned proclamation of intent in January 1972. You can see: “It was about this time that William McGrath formed Tara on its present day lines.”
You can see he is noting the strangeness of the name in the context of the organisation, but then you can see the section that begins “Members of Tara”: “Sources indicate that the Tara membership is small, possibly 300 Province-wide and about 70 activists in Belfast.”
Now, as I said to you, it is not about whether it’s accurate or not. It’s about the information that he has and he’s then recording in a report and providing. “There is evidence that a number of the members are sexually deviant.”
Just pause. It is going to be difficult, but this is not written in 2016. This is written in 1976. Therefore what that phrase might mean today is perhaps different from it would have been intended to mean in 1976.
You can see he goes on to describe what he means: “William McGrath, the past OC, almost certainly is bisexual and there are homosexuals in his immediate circle of Tara associates.”
Then you can see he goes on to explain about the nature of the organisation, and then in paragraph 5 h is recording an individual as reporting that the numbers are falling and they had gone public to create a myth about their size.”A senior member of Tara recently claimed that, although not a large operation, it was able to operate through pulling strings. This is believed to be factual.”
Then you can see: “In 1975 it was reported that many of the older members of the UDA were anxious to join Tara. Some had been in Tara.”
So intelligence around Tara. Then you can see the “Conditions of entry”, paragraph 7, the qualifications that allowed you to join Tara.1 If we scroll down a little further, please, you can then see “Role and aims”, and you can see it sets out the different references to what Tara intended to do and its contrast with other organisations, and it was described as: “… the hard core of Protestant resistance, defence and planning organisation for use only in a Doomsday situation.
Its current active role is that of intelligence gathering. They are known to operate contacts in the Loyalist political parties.” Then you have got reference to “Weapons” and then “Structures”.
You can see the reference in paragraph 15 to the platoons and then you can see “Major 25 personalities”: “OC — William McGrath, REDACTED.”
So again you’ve got the same reference to 5, which is incorrect: “May be stood down due to ill health.” You have got the other individuals whose names you know in any event ascribed to those positions.
Now he then summarises the raison d’etre. If we just scroll down, you can see there is no other information on the page. So that’s the note for file, 310 of 3 pages.
Now what will be immediately apparent, Members of the Panel, is that this document written on 14th October 1976 is said to be a summary of what is known about Tara and it principal members, and if we go back up, please, to the first page, paragraph 4, you can see what is said about William McGrath, that: “… [he] is almost certainly bisexual and there are homosexuals in his immediate circle of Tara associates.”
There is no reference to Kincora. There is no reference to allegations of abuse taking place in Kincora on anyone in his care. The allegation is he is bisexual and there are others around him in Tara who are homosexual. Now the Army wasn’t in a position or is not yet in a position to produce this document to the Inquiry.
That is because it has not yet been possible to find the Army HQNI Tara file, which definitely did exist, or the 39 Brigade Tara file, which may be the one that Brian Gemmell had and which this document may well have been found on.
Those files, according to Mr Rucker, who you are aware did the report examining much wider issues, but including looking at matters relating to Kincora and the Army, according to Mr Rucker, they appear to have last been with The Security Service in that he sent them to The Security Service for them to reconsider matters in them that he was looking at, but The Security Service hasn’t as yet been able to trace them in order to know do they still have them, did they send them back to the Army or have they been destroyed. Getting to the bottom of that is going to be difficult, but it’s the case that Mr Rucker reviewed those two files in 1989/’90 when writing his report, and we will be able to look at what he says about that.
Then it is also the case that Major Saunders had access to them in 1982 and produced some of their contents to Detective Chief Superintendent Caskey during the secret part of the RUC Phase Two investigation or Phase Three, as I have called it, the investigation into military intelligence. We know from Major Saunders’ witness statement that he had access to those files and from them he carved a number of documents that he considered relevant, and this was not one of them, if it was to be found on either of the files.
Going back to the note, the second document that’s referred to in the memo from the SIS officer of 19th October 1976 which was also said to have been handed over on the same date by Brian Gemmell was his interview notes that he and/or his NCO had with Brian — with Roy Garland. Now those are exhibited to the — the interview notes are exhibited to the SIS statement at 3532 through to 3534.
If we just look at 3532, please. Sorry. If we just scroll down on to the next page in case I’ve got the reference wrong. Yes. Sorry. 3533 and 3534. So you can see someone has written along the top: “Notes of an interview with Roy Garland, ex-Tara member, left 1972.”
I don’t know whether you can read into the — on the left-hand side beneath “Notes” whether that is a start of a 9 that has been cut of and then a 7 and a 5, indicating we are missing a 1 on the left-hand side and the side — the left-hand side of the 9 or whether it is something else, but you can see: “Garland introduced to McGrath when he was 15
25 (20 years ago). McGrath at the time Christian/evangelical crusader. Held meetings at McGrath’s, attended also by “REDACTED, REDACTED, “and REDACTED.
McGrath proposed they should form a group as these youngsters all had makings of becoming Prime Ministers, etc. They first formed a group called Cell. However, McGrath thought this sounded rather red and they decided on Tara (this was about 1965-’66).
They held meetings between themselves and McGrath would single them out after meetings. McGrath attempted to seduce them by claiming to show them emotional freedom. To this end he made them feel guilty by admitting to masturbation, therefore showing up their guilt complex. This is important to emphasise, as it is the very beginning of McGrath’s hold on them.” Then the information goes on to look at various individuals associated with Tara. I am not going to spend time going through that now, because it doesn’t contain any more information of the type the Inquiry is interested in other than you can see Roy Garland never saw any weapons.
“Many [something] became disillusioned after joining either with McGrath’s unsavoury reputation or with all the talk and no action. The Christian overtones did not go down well with a percentage of recruits.”
So if we just scroll a little further down, please, you can see then various individuals are discussed. You have got REDACTED, REDACTED. You can see this allegation is recorded: “Roy Garland claims that McGrath was responsible for spreading rumours of KIN63’s homosexual activities, having posters posted around Belfast ‘Nice boy KIN63’.”
You will find that in documents we come back to look at: “According to Roy Garland, KIN63 knows that McGrath was responsible for this.” You can see: “Roy Garland believes although Ian Paisley knows of McGrath’s nefarious activities, he would be better to take action, because the exposé would also affect REDACTED, therefore doing DUP no good.”
I think that sentence is missing a word.
CHAIRMAN: One might logically think there should be a “not” after “better”.
MR AIKEN: Yes. If we scroll down on to the next page, please, there’s a short paragraph to finish it off. Now what you will immediately note, perhaps consistent with Brian Gemmell’s interest, and, in fact, when we come to look at a note, a direction that this one-off debrief with Roy Garland was to be what he could tell us about Tara, there is nothing in it, as you can see, about Kincora or McGrath committing homosexual offences on boys living in Kincora.
So it is a record of perhaps where the Army officers’ interests lay on one view, and you will recall that Brian Gemmell told Detective Chief Superintendent Caskey in 1982 — the reference — I am not going to bring up, but it is at 30146 in the middle of the page — of having written a four-page MISOR, a military intelligence source report, following — it is on the screen.
We will see the reference to the MISOR if we scroll down just a little. He — you will want to look very closely at whether, in fact, he had a second meeting with Roy Garland, and/or if he did, or was involved in the writing up of his Corporal — Corporal Q we are going to call him for now — Corporal Q’s meeting with Roy Garland, whether the record we are now looking at is more likely to be the record Brian Gemmell is referring to.
So either — there’s the notes for interview and whether or not that has been conflated with a MISOR, or whether by the time he’s speaking in 1982 he is remembering his 14th October ’76 document, which albeit was a year after he met Roy Garland, that he says he wrote, or when we look at the sequence of events, unfortunately the complexity is in understanding his belief that it was after he met Roy Garland that he wrote this MISOR and was told then to break off contact with him, when, in fact, the sequence of events in the document seems to suggest that he had interviewed Jim McCormick and then before meeting Roy Garland was given the instruction that getting into matters of homosexuality was not the interest of the Army but there could be a one-off debrief about Roy Garland’s knowledge of Tara. So what exactly was said to be on the MISOR and the correct sequence of events may be conflated and confused in this document, but in any event no-one has been able to find a MISOR that arose on foot of the Roy Garland meeting that Brian Gemmell had.
What we do have are the interview notes that Brian Gemmell provided to The Secret Intelligence Service along with his note to file on Tara and you may ask in reflecting on these matters if there had been a MISOR on Tara or on William McGrath or anything to do with Kincora, when he is handing these documents over to the Secret Intelligence Service, given they are not — shouldn’t be receiving any of them, why not include the MISOR, a copy of which would presumably be on the same file that he’s gone to to get the document that he has produced?
Now on 19th October, as we saw, if we go back to 3508, please, the Secret Intelligence Service write to MI5 and provide the Halford-MacLeod letter, and the clean copy of that is at 30297 to 30302, and the author is explaining, as you saw, that the communication — in this communication to MI5 that the Halford-MacLeod letter was obtained unofficially. We looked at the index card earlier. If we just go back to 105009, please, and if we look at the entry of 19th October 1976, you will see: “See reference for write-up on subject and the Tara Brigade, 19th October 1976.”
So whether this is the note that is referred to there based on the documents that are attached to the 19th October ’76 memo that we have seen, or if there was some other report, it hasn’t been possible as yet for The Secret Intelligence Service to find that. So it may be that that, the document we have just been looking at of 19th October ’76, is what this entry refers to.
Then on an MI5 telegram of 21st January 1977, if we look, please, at 105202 — so these documents have been sent across to MI5. If we scroll down, please, you can see the date, 21st January 1977. Titled: “William McGrath and Tara. Reference …”, and you can see to the document of 19th October 1976 that we have just looked at.
“The attachment to your above-referenced letter has raised several questions. As the source was said to be retaskable, please would you enquire whether further information can be sought For your own information only … has been identified, who has had a contact in London and is probably identical in 19… The questions are as follows.”
So what’s being read here is the Halford-MacLeod letter. You will remember it contains all sorts of names and information, and questions are then being asked about the contacts that are identified in the Halford-MacLeod letter and being set out as questions that MI5 would like consideration to be given to getting answers.
If we scroll down on to the next page, you can see at paragraph 4(c), for instance, they are saying MI5 did not have any information on the revolutionaries conference that McGrath was said to have attended in the 1960s. Further questions were asked about that to see can they find out any other information about it.
Now if we scroll down a little further, please, on 31st January, so ten days later, if we go to 105032, please, the SIS have produced a copy of this as well. It is easier to read here. You can see “Dated:
“The attachment to your above-referenced letter has raised several questions. As the source was said to be retaskable, please would you enquire whether further information can be sought. For your own information only … has been identified, who has had a contact in London and is probably identical in 19… The questions are as follows.”
So what’s being read here is the Halford-MacLeod letter. You will remember it contains all sorts of names and information, and questions are then being asked about the contacts that are identified in the Halford-MacLeod letter and being set out as questions that MI5 would like consideration to be given to getting answers.
If we scroll down on to the next page, you can see at paragraph 4(c), for instance, they are saying MI5 did not have any information on the revolutionaries conference that McGrath was said to have attended in the 1960s. Further questions were asked about that to see can they find out any other information about it.
Now if we scroll down a little further, please, on 31st January, so ten days later, if we go to 105032, please, the SIS have produced a copy of this as well. It is easier to read here. You can see “Dated 31st January, Received: 1st February”. This is a UK-based Secret Intelligence Service officer sending a telegram to intelligence staff in Northern Ireland, and copying it to MI5 in London and to SIS, and it refers to having given a copy of the Halford-MacLeod letter to MI5, and they are asking if the source can re… — can be retasked. So they are referring back to the document we have just looked at, saying, “This is what has been asked”.
If we scroll down on to the next page, I think we will see: “We have spoken to Gemmell, who has confirmed that there would be no objection to one of the MI5 or SIS officers discussing this letter with the Army.” On 2nd February, the next day, if we look at 105204, please, MI5 in Belfast reply expressing their reluctance to ask about the Halford-MacLeod letter, given that they had received it when they should not have, and Belfast asks to see the letter, including because they did not know the source for it.
Then on 4th February, so two days later, at 105205 a note attached a report investigating the potential involvement of you will see RIS, the Russian Intelligence Service, with Protestant extremists in Northern Ireland. In the report if we scroll down, please, to 105206, you can see that paragraph 2(b) does contain a reference to William McGrath. So it’s looking at a whole list of individuals who are not relevant to the Inquiry, but if we scroll down to 2(b), please, you can see: “Reverend William McGrath …” So we have moved from an MBE to a minister of religion: “… leader of Tara, attended a conference of revolutionaries in the mid-1960s.”
Some other representatives were also present: “McGrath is said to have some hold over Paisley.” Then on 11th February 1977, if we can look at 3570, please, MI5 and SIS in London receive a telegram from intelligence staff in Northern Ireland providing information about Tara. You can see that William McGrath features in paragraph 3. If we scroll down a little bit, you can see “Talking about arms, the commander said that William McGrath, another prominent figure in Tara, had promised the East Belfast group a consignment of Thompson machine guns as long ago as 1969.”
So you can see the reference back to — there were said to be 500 of them: “This consignment had never materialised. He added that he knew that McGrath still owed £2,000 for the purchase of weapons now in the possession of the commander.”
You can see: “In the past there have been few indications of the Tara quote orbat unquote semicolon the existence of a commander in East Belfast is, in itself, of interest.”
On 15th February 1977, if we can look, please, at 3511, an SIS officer in London sent a telegram to intelligence staff in Belfast and also to MI5. There is an MI5 copy, which might be easier to read, if we look at 105208, please. If we just scroll down, please. Yes. So one officer is giving the other officer congratulations for having — flushing out information on Tara via his source, and then: “We look forward to learning more about the orbat and finances of this organisation. When we have such information we may be able to put Tara in its proper perspective.
Two points raised immediately by your telegram.” Then they are looking to discover various pieces of information. You can see in (B): “Would the Tara recruiting campaign”, that’s postulated, “offer a loophole to penetrate Tara if considered — if we considered it a worthwhile target?”
You may consider, Members of the Panel, whether this is a rather strange document if Tara was a construct of or controlled by the intelligence services and the leader was one of their agents. This is February 1977. McGrath has been working in Kincora since June 1971 and has already sexually abused most of the boys who would make allegations against him, including all of the boys who claimed he engaged in homosexual sex with them. On 16th February 1977, if we look at 105209, please, MI5 in London confirmed, if we scroll down, please, that Tara was a worthwhile target and supported recruitment to penetrate. Now you can obviously — the implication of supporting an attempt to recruit to penetrate the organisation carries an implication as to the position at the point in time when consideration is being given to recruit to penetrate.
The following day, 17th February 1977, if we look at 3512, please, this is an SIS record. It’s article 6. Intelligence staff in Northern Ireland respond to the suggested penetration. You can see it is on the screen at article 5, but if we scroll down, it is said: “Beyond knowing that there is a recruiting campaign in Tara, we know little about it. So we are not sure whether we are yet in a position to discover a loophole that could be exploited by the Irish Joint Section. We do not know, for instance, where Tara seek its recruits apart from quote other organisations unquote. Certainly considers Tara to be a worthwhile target. Both the two individuals have been briefed to find traces of this elusive organisation.”
On 30th May, if we look at 3513, please, MI5 wrote to The Secret Intelligence Service requesting details of the subscriber to an international telephone number who was believed to be a contact of William McGrath but of whom they had no trace.
Now MI5 have then produced to the Inquiry the internal direction, if we look at 105158, please, that we have looked at already, to produce a file in the name of William McGrath, and you can see the reason given for the opening of a file. You may consider the date of this occurrence to be of considerable significance to your work, Members of the Panel.
On 15th June 1977, if we can look at 105210, please, an MI5 report of a discussion with a source did include a section on Tara and you can see that it is recording historical information that the individual provided as to the nature of the organisation.
A record of 6th August 1979, if we can look, please, at 105211, and we look at the bottom of the page and then on to the next page, this records a conversation between MI5 officers on 31st July 1979 about what’s described as “minor Protestants”. You can see that Tara gets a mention and you can see what’s said about it. Then on the next page you can see that it’s described as “microscopic”: “Eventually most Tara members left or joined the more defensively minded UVF and Tara withered to its present ‘microscopic’ size.”
You can see: “It’s a group of thinkers rather than doers.” On the — you can see they are said to have a friend close to the centre of the Southern Government. On 27th October 1979, if we look at 105213, please, MI5 received an extract from an RUC intelligence report which recorded someone other than William McGrath then being the OC of Tara and confirming that very little had been heard of Tara in recent years.
Now then if we look at 3520, please, so right up to this point the Kincora scandal has not appeared in the news, in the documents that we have been looking at up to this point, and this document is dated 13th February 1980.
So it’s after the Kincora scandal has broken, and intelligence staff in Northern Ireland are writing to the Secret Intelligence Service in London. You may consider it’s not surprising that the intelligence officers got out their material they have on William McGrath. You can see: “The above report named first name unknown McGrath as leader of Tara and alleged to be involved in the alleged scandal of homosexual activity in a Belfast boys’ home. A number of demands are being made for a public inquiry and you may be interested in the following details. McGrath is William McGrath.” Gives his date of birth: “In 1976 he was reported to be warden of the Kincora Boys’ Hostel,where he still lives.”
That’s not accurate, as you know: “He is (or was) leader of Tara. Our records suggest he is or may have been known to an agency based here or in London. McGrath is reported to be a very active homosexual.”
You can see his conquests are said to include a particular individual and a number of different individuals named as having been involved with him. You can see then: “Some contact … said to have been responsible for posters reading ‘Nice boy KIN63’ which appeared all over Belfast.” If we scroll down, please, you can say — this is recorded: “[For] London only. In view of the possibility of a public inquiry possibly lifting the curtain on this fascinating scene you may like to consider whether any of this needs to be passed to …” a particular section within the organisation.
So it only took us thirty-six years, but there we are. The curtain on the fascinating scene is being lifted. So the phrase that’s up above about being known to the — if we scroll up, please: “Our records suggest he is or may have been known to an agency based here or in London”, it is not clear what that is a reference to.
Obviously the person is drawing on information in Northern Ireland. So we saw in the 1989 document that was internal between MI5 officers that they had access to the card, and it may be the same or a different card than the one that was held centrally by MI5. But we’ve gone through the material based on the Inquiry examinating — examining a vast swathe of intelligence records, and what we have — what I have endeavoured to set out for you publicly are those documents that disclose what intelligence officers in either MI5 or the Secret Intelligence Service were on notice of in respect of William McGrath.
As you know, there’s much further post-1980 analysi material that has been made available to the Inquiry by the intelligence agencies where they are looking back at what they knew, and we will touch on that material in due course.
CHAIRMAN: Well, I think we have reached a natural break in the proceedings. We will adjourn now and resume hopefully as close to 9.30 tomorrow as possible.
(Inquiry adjourned until 9.30 tomorrow morning)