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Blackmailed? [Updated Version]

Ian Paisley became a conspirator in the the Kincora cover-up. Had he wanted to expose it - and there is no reason to suppose that he did - his hands were tied behind his back because he was almost certainly being blackmailed by the Housefather at Kincora Boys' Home, William McGrath who knew Paisley had been involved in bombings in the late 1960s.

This story was updated on 6 September 2019. The original content is reproduced underneath this update.


The imminent revelation by BBC NI’s Spotlight programme that Ian Paisley financed the infamous UVF Silent Valley bombing of 1969 will come as no surprise to Village  readers. While the BBC disclosure provides another piece of the jigsaw and is of enormous historical value, it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of Paisley’s deeply disturbing partnership with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and – equally important – the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV).

In December 2017 Village published an article entitled “Blackmailed” which outlined Paisley’s links to the UVF/UPV bomb campaign of 1969 and showed how, as a result of it, he was compromised in his dealing with another of the conspirators, William McGrath, the notorious and brutal child rapist who was “Housefather” at Kincora Boys’ home in the 1970s.

William McGrath

Paisley was nearly ten years younger than McGrath. He first met the sexually insatiable and lecherous pervert McGrath when he – Paisley – was 22 or 23 in 1949 through his involvement in the Unionist Association in the Shore Road area of Belfast. Paisley had moved into the locality to study at a bible college.

McGrath perceived the Catholic Church as the instrument of the Antichrist and was determined to expunge it from the four corners of island of Ireland so that the Protestant community – which he believed was descended from the Tribe of Dan of Caanan, one of the Lost Tribes of Israel – could prevail. He perceived himself as a soldier in what he called the ‘battles of the Lord’. His self-anointed duty was to prevent the Pope ‘enslaving the people of God’, not just in NI but throughout Britain. Paisley came to share these bizarre views and took a step closer to his involvement with McGrath and others in the infamous 1969 bomb campaign. It is an indisputable fact that McGrath, Paisley and others such as John McKeague (another paedophile who was involved in the Kincora scandal) and Gusty Spence of the UVF instigated the violence that lit the sectarian firestorm that became the Troubles. The fact that Paisley financed the Silent Valley bombing demonstrates just how central he was to the entire affair.

Paisley used to visit McGrath at Kincora long after 1973 when he had been told by Valerie Shaw that McGrath was a paedophile. One of the former residents at Kincora, James Miller, who was at Kincora between 1976 and 1978, told the Hart Inquiry on 8 June, 2016, about these visits. Miller thought it “just seemed strange that he was so friendly with Mr McGrath, you know”. [Day 210 page 75.] Yet, after the eruption of the Kincora scandal in 1980, Paisley would pretend to have difficulty even remembering who McGrath was.

Readers interested in learning more about Paisley’s links to the UVF and UPV can read “Blackmailed” (see below) which first appeared in December 2017. Further details about Paisley’s support for McGrath after he was arrested by the RUC for the rape of children at Kincora can be read by visiting ‘Kincora Survivor‘ also on this website. It shows how Paisley bullied a former Kincora resident lest he might give evidence at McGrath’s trial about “Englishmen” who had abused Kincora boys. See: ‎

A question for historians now is to establish what role William McGrath played in {i} the formation of Ian Paisley’s bigoted, violent and hate-filled religious and political beliefs; {ii} what was the true nature of the Paisley-McGrath personal relationship; {iii} to what extent did Paisley wield his power and influence to cover-up McGrath’s brutal rape of children at Kincora and elsewhere; {iv} did McGrath implicitly or explicitly blackmail Paisley over the latter’s involvement in the UVF/UPV bomb campaign of 1969 {v} since McGrath worked for MI5 and MI6, what did those intelligence services know about Paisley’s financing of the UVF and why was neither man arrested?

Kincora Boys’ Home.

The source of the BBC’s forthcoming revelation about Paisley is David Hancock, a former British army officer. Hancock served as a major in NI from 1968 to 1970. He told the BBC that an RUC District Inspector in Kilkeel, Co Down, advised him that Paisley had supplied money for the bombings. Hancock is to be applauded for bringing this scandal to light. But why did the RUC not act on the information, then or later? Were MI5, MI6 and RUC Special Branch (who were all involved in running the Kincora operation ) afraid that if they acted on this information, McGrath would be exposed? McGrath, of course, was convicted in 1981. So why did no one at the Cabinet Office, NIO, MI5, MI6  or RUC – then led by Sir John Hermon –  insist that the police act on the information after his conviction? Was it because McGrath had kept his mouth shut about their collective involvement and they wanted to ensure his silence by letting sleeping dogs lie?

Is there now any good reason why the PSNI should not declassify the file it inherited from the RUC on Paisley and the Silent Valley bombing? Will Andrew Parker, the incumbent Director-General of MI5 who likes to pontificate on ethics, release his organisation’s file on the Silent Valley bombing?


The original December 2017 article about Paisley is set forth below:


As the Democratic Unionist Party rises to notoriety across the UK and EU for scuppering poor Theresa May’s first effort at a deal in Brussels, it’s timely to consider a hidden side of the party’s charismatic, and always notorious, progenitor, the Reverend, Dr Ian Paisley.

Last month, Village revealed that Ian Paisley, First Minister of Northern Ireland (NI), 2007-2008, had participated in the coverup of the rape and abuse of children at Kincora Boys Home. It may have been that he had been forced into doing this because John Dunlop McKeague, a sadistic Loyalist terrorist, and his confrere, William McGrath, knew some of his darkest secrets, and had blackmailed him into coming to their assistance as they faced odium, disgrace and imprisonment for their child-abuse crimes at Kincora.

John Dunlop McKeague

The evidence of Colin Wallace, a former British Army PSYOPS officer, has provided Village with a shrewd insight into the type of lethal information McGrath and McKeague acquired about Paisley during the 1960s.

Paisley was not a child-abuser but McGrath and McKeague were prolific offenders. Notwithstanding Paisley’s efforts to help them evade justice, McGrath would be convicted for his crimes at Kincora in 1981. McKeague would be assassinated in early 1982 shortly after an interview with the RUC about the scandal.

These three Loyalists went back a long way: McKeague had once served as Paisley’s bodyguard; McGrath was often at Paisley’s side. Paisley would be haunted by his association with them until the end of his life in 2014. To his last breath, he would maintain he had not known about the abuse at Kincora before it was finally exposed in 1980’.

Belying this, in October 1973 Valerie Shaw, a member of Paisley’s church, informed him that McGrath was abusing children at Kincora. Paisley fobbed her off with empty promises to do something about it but failed to act. She denounced him in public in 1982.

Nonetheless, through a combination of bluster and compromised inquiries, Paisley weathered the Kincora storm.

Insofar as the overall Kincora scandal is concerned, the Hart Report of 2017 concluded that the UK’s intelligence services had not been aware of the abuse at Kincora, but there is compelling evidence that they were. In addition, a number of declassified files furnished to the Hart Inquiry reveal the depth of knowledge possessed by both the British Government and Paisley about the activities of William McGrath, and the inner workings of his paramilitary organisation, Tara.

The current relationship between the Tories and the DUP is fraught with distrust and tension. This is not something new: Paisley was always suspicious about the existence of dirty-trick operations directed against him and the DUP from London. A particular low point was a report which appeared in the Guardian newspaper on 28 April 1987 which stated that MI5 – an organ of the British Government – had contemplated murdering him.


Catholics who “breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin”

Paisley had bounded onto the political stage in the 1950s eager to launch a broadside at any Protestant who dared offer the hand of friendship to the Catholic Church. In 1958 when the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret visited Pope John, he accused them of “committing spiritual fornication and adultery with the Anti-Christ”.

On another occasion he spoke of how Catholics were prone to “breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin”.


A rolling maul of Loyalist organisations

Throughout his career Paisley was involved with a bewildering array of Loyalist organisations. The names of the groups matter little. However, the paramilitaries in them – who were also in Paisley’s orbit – are significant. They included:

• William McGrath, paedophile, member of Orange Order, Tara, UCDC; British agent and Housefather at Kincora;

• John Dunlop McKeague, paedophile, sadistic torturer, serial killer, member of UCDC, UPA, UVF and Red Hand Commandos;

• Gusty Spence, Leader of the UVF; imprisoned in 1966 for the murder of Peter Ward, a Catholic barman in 1966. Forged an alliance with McKeague’s Red Hand Commandos in the 1970s;

• Billy and Eddie Spence (brothers of Gusty Spence);

• Noel Doherty, member of Orange Order, UPA, UVF, Orange Defence Committee and editor of Paisley’s Protestant Telegraph. He used to refer to Paisley as “our Moses”;

Billy Mitchell

• Billy Mitchell, UPV, Tara and UVF.

Paisley and Noel Doherty

In 1966 Paisley and Noel Doherty instigated the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC). Concealed inside it, they organised a paramilitary branch, the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) which included former B Specials, McKeague, McGrath and Mitchell.

Noel Doherty

Doherty became leader of the UPV. Under Paisley’s instructions, he was charged with setting up “cells” throughout the Province, and acquiring arms.

A printer by trade, Doherty also oversaw the establishment of Paisley’s Puritan Printing Press, which produced Paisley’s literature, including his newspaper, the Protestant Telegraph.


Paisley’s plot against bridgebuilding NI Prime Minister Terence O’Neill

In 1968 the Prime Minister (PM) of NI, Terence O’Neill, tried to persuade his fellow Unionists that if Catholics were given houses, jobs, cars and televisions, they might accept Stormont, and Partition would become permanent. “He is a bridge builder, he tells us. A traitor and a bridge are very much alike for they both go over to the other side”, Paisley thundered in response.

From left, William McGrath, John McKeague, Ian Paisley

The animosity between Paisley and PM O’Neill dated back to the start of O’Neill’s premiership in 1963. He had sinned grievously in his eyes by seeking a rapprochement with the Republic. Paisley, Noel Doherty, the Spence brothers, McGrath and McKeague would become the protagonists in a clandestine plot to topple him.


Paisley, the UPV and UVF

The long-defunct UVF had also reformed to help oust O’Neill.

On 21 April 1966 Paisley took Doherty and Billy Mitchell to meet a Loughgall farmer, James Murdock. It was later alleged that Paisley left that meeting to attend another one in Armagh and that during his absence the three others discussed the supply of arms and explosives to the UPV.

In 1968 Noel Doherty was tried on bombing charges, convicted and sentenced to two years. On the day of his imprisonment, Paisley made a speech outside the prison in which he denied all knowledge of Doherty’s offences before announcing that he was forthwith expelled from the UPV and the UCDC.

The UVF also publicly denied that Doherty was one of its members.


Paisley and the explosives at Lurgan

Contrary to Paisley’s posturing at the time, there are grounds to suspect he had been involved in the anti-O’Neill bomb campaign.

Before his imprisonment, Doherty and Billy Mitchell had been introduced to James Marshall, and a supply of explosives from quarries in Lurgan had been secured. The explosives would be used to cause explosions at a Castlereagh electricity station, Silent Valley Reservoir and another electricity station at Ballyshannon in County Donegal. The most intense period of UVF/UPV violence took place between 30 March and 23 April 1969. McKeague was deeply involved.

The objective of the bombing campaign was to make it look as if the IRA was responsible for it and thereby undermine O’Neill’s authority. The bomb plotters wanted the public to believe that the IRA had smelt blood in the weakness of O’Neill’s moderation. O’Neill resigned on 1 May, 1969. “Either we live in peace or we have no life worth living”, he told his party. These were prophetic words.


McGrath and Paisley meet the new PM

An indication of McGrath’s importance to Paisley at the close of the 1960s can be demonstrated by the fact he was at Paisley’s side during the early hours of 14 August, 1969, after the eruption of the Battle of the Bogside in Derry that in turn begat the Troubles. Paisley led a delegation to see the new PM of NI, Major James ChichesterClark, who was monitoring events at the RUC’S HQ at Knock in Belfast. One of the delegation, Roy Garland, commented in 1982 that it was surprising that “at the height of this violence McGrath, Paisley, myself and a man called Black from Armagh were talking to the Prime Minister, Major James Chichester-Clark about it…We were demanding that the B Specials be mobilised and a ‘People’s Militia’ be formed”. The PM, however, was not interested.

Roy Garland who was in Tara but bravely blew the whistle on McGrath over Kincora. Ian Cameron of MI5 made sure the information was not acted upon.


Meanwhile, McKeague was leading rioters, arsonists and looters in a hate-filled rampage against Catholic homes in Belfast.


Paisley’s hushed whisper

Paisley, McKeague and McGrath continued to cooperate after the eruption of the Troubles.

On 10 November 1969, John McKeague, Samuel Stevenson and others were charged with a bomb attack at Dunadry on 24 April 1969. Stevenson confessed and was charged with the unlawful possession of gelignite.

McKeague’s trial took place before a jury in Belfast in February 1970. Stevenson, who had already been sentenced, was called as a Crown witness. He told the court that when he had been in the police station, Paisley had visited him and whispered: “Did you talk?”.

Meanwhile McGrath had circulated a document about the affair which the trial judge had to instruct the McKeague jury to ignore.

McKeague and his co-defendants were acquitted.

At some stage after this, the paths of McKeague, McGrath and Paisley began to diverge.


Colin Wallace, Paisley and the UVF

Colin Wallace was the Senior Information Officer in the Army’s Information Policy Unit (IPU), a psychological operations department of Army Intelligence, based at Thiepval Barrack in Lisburn. While working there, he learnt that Paisley and Desmond Boal had been “closely involved in the reformation of UVF in mid 1960s with Gusty Spence”. Paisley and Boal later went on to form the DUP.

Terence O´Neill and Colin Wallace

Intelligence also emerged that Paisley had been present when Doherty and Billy Mitchell had collected explosives in Lurgan.

Unfortunately for Paisley, McGrath knew about the events at Lurgan, something that undoubtedly enabled him to blackmail Paisley in later years when he desperately needed help after the eruption of the Kincora scandal.


The reasons for the UVF split with Tara

McGrath ran his own Loyalist paramilitary organisation called Tara. Roy Garland served as his deputy. Tara flourished for a while but it fell into decline after McGrath refused to deploy his troops during the August 1969 riots. Tara had enjoyed strong links with the UVF whose members then began to lose faith in McGrath. Additional doubts were raised because McGrath was given to boasting about having links to British Intelligence.

UVF inquiries led them to conclude McGrath was indeed connected to one of Britain’s intelligence services. McGrath’s homosexual relationship with a British diplomat in Dublin in the 1950s may have served as his introduction to MI6 and kickstarted an arrangement wherein McGrath may have helped MI6 convey anti-Communist propaganda pamphlets behind the Iron Curtain.

The UVF decided to undermine McGrath by highlighting his homosexuality instead of denouncing him as a British agent. He was challenged by the UVF leader, Samuel ‘Bo’ McClelland, at a Tara gathering in 1971. According to Chris Moore, author of the ‘Kincora Scandal’: “McClelland’s questions were aimed at pressing McGrath into revealing whether or not he was homosexual. McGrath became embarrassed and responded by calling for McClelland to be ‘drummed out’. The UVF leader stood up and called for his men to leave. They left, never to return”.

Tara took a battering but struggled on. A declassified British file dated 13 February 1976, which was furnished to the Hart Inquiry, revealed that a ‘source’ had alleged that Tara:

“Had been destroyed in 1972 by a smear campaign. They had then been 300 strong and included a number of UVF members. Now they were much smaller and of a higher calibre and were UVF’s main rivals… 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”.


Paedophile spies in the orange camp

In 1971 McGrath, a man with a well-deserved reputation as a sleazy sexual predator, secured a job at Kincora. Moreover, he did so without any type of welfare training or experience. His only qualification was as hairdresser.

McKeague, who had become an Army informant in the early 1970s, was almost certainly blackmailed into becoming a full-blown agent of MI5 in 1976. (See Village November 2017). There is a significant difference between an informer and an agent. An informer is someone who maintains a lot of control over what he does, whereas an agent normally acts in accordance with commands from above.

As the 1970s dragged on, McGrath and McKeague would become increasingly sharp thorns in Paisley’s side because of their links to MI5/6 and their addiction to abusing children.

Gusty Spence (with dark glasses)

It was obvious McGrath might pass on the information about Paisley’s involvement in the collection of the Lurgan explosives to the British. It certainly somehow came to the attention of military intelligence.


MI6: “We ran at least one agent who was aware of sexual malpractice at the home”

Both MI6 (attached to the Foreign Office) and MI5 (attached to the Home Office) ran sexual blackmail operations in NI including the paedophile ‘honeytrap’ operation at Kincora.

One MI6 file that slipped out of the usually airtight archives in London was furnished to the Hart Inquiry. It addressed “various allegations surrounding the Kincora Boys’ Home” and stated that: “We certainly ran at least one agent who was aware of sexual malpractice at the home and who may have mentioned this to his SIS (i.e. MI6) or Security Service [i.e. MI5) case officer”. This is damning.


The IPU’s wary interest in Tara

Whatever about MI5 and MI6 – which are both civilian organisations – McGrath was certainly not a British military intelligence asset. Indeed, he would become a target of British Army psychological operations designed to destabilise Tara.

Colin Wallace

Colin Wallace believes he “first became aware of Tara in 1971…From a military perspective, Tara posed no real threat to the Security Forces at that time. My initial interest in Tara was that some former members of the Ulster Protestant Volunteers were allegedly attending its meetings”.


Wallace is told to ignore Kincora because it was already the subject of consideration by “other people”.

Wallace believes he first learnt that McGrath was a child molester in early 1972 after he met a social worker who told him ‘that she had a young boy in her charge who had claimed that he had been “sexually assaulted” at Kincora. She went on to say that:

“There had been other similar claims involving other inmates and that, although the matter had been reported to the police, no action had been taken. She asked if I could, through Army channels, get the police to investigate. She appeared to be very distressed about the situation and asked that her identity should not be disclosed. I was given to believe that she was particularly worried because key members of the welfare department” which ran Kincora were involved and “might take reprisals against her”. She also explained that one of the staff at Kincora “was a prominent figure in Ulster politics. This man she identified as William McGrath”.

Wallace reported the conversation to one of the Intelligence staff at Lisburn after he returned to his office. He asked “if the matter could be raised with the RUC through our liaison channels. Some days later the officer to whom I had given the information came to my office and said that I should leave the matter alone because it was already the subject of consideration by ‘other people’. I did not regard this as unusual because similar situations arose quite frequently when interest by one intelligence group could quite easily damage an operation which was already in progress. Also, at that time the information was of more significance to the police than it was to the Army”.


Valerie Shaw tells Paisley about Kincora

Valerie Shaw

In October 1973 Valerie Shaw, a member of Paisley’s church, informed him that McGrath was abusing children at Kincora. Paisley fobbed her off with empty promises to do something about it.

There were probably others who alerted him but it was all to no avail. From this point on – if not long before – Paisley had to live with the fact that a witness – if not a congregation of them – existed who could reveal that he knew about Kincora.


Army briefs against McGrath

Meanwhile, during the summer of 1973 Wallace had been instructed “to brief the press unattributably about McGrath’s sexual preferences, his use of blackmail to force young people into homosexual practices, and the fact that he “runs a home for children on the Upper Newtownards Road”.


A Loyalist spider and his web of intrigue

Wallace adds that by 1973: “The PSYOPS unit had acquired a significant amount of additional information about Tara”. They were “aware that a number of prominent Tara members were closely linked with the Rev Ian Paisley”. These included James Heyburn, Secretary of Paisley’s church; Hubert Nesbitt, who provided the land on which Paisley’s church was built; and David Brown, Deputy Editor of Paisley’s Protestant Telegraph. “We also had information alleging that serving members of the RUC not only attended Tara meetings, but also were involved in the running of the organisation. There were indications that McGrath was obtaining Intelligence information from the RUC on Republicans and there were even claims that RUC stations in East Belfast had supplied Tara with firearms which had been surrendered to the police by members of the public. I do not know how reliable the latter information was, but it was sufficient to make the Army very wary of the RUC when dealing with Tara-related information”.


Confirmation of Wallace’s claims

Kevin Dowling of the Sunday Mirror and David McKittrick of the Irish Times confirmed they received briefings on Tara from Wallace.

Furthermore, on 13 March 1977, the Sunday Times published an article entitled: ‘The Army’s Secret War in Northern Ireland’ by David Blundy. It reported that at a British Army briefing in 1974:

“at which a Sunday Times reporter was present attempts were made to link Paisley with the Protestant para-military group called Tara, a small, obscure and ineffective group as Ulster’s para-military organisations go. The Sunday Times has a copy of an army intelligence summary on Tara which contains accurate details about its organisation…One member, which the summary names, is called a ‘homosexual’ and has conned many people into membership by threatening them with revealing homosexual activities which he had initiated”.

The paper believed the purpose of the briefing was “to link Paisley with homosexuals and Communist sympathisers… Our sources say that the army has produced three anonymous documents on this theme which circulated in Belfast”.


The IPU attempts to strikes a blow against Paisley

Paisley during the UWC strike

According to Wallace the first IPU “planned attempt to discredit Paisley” by linking him with McGrath took place in 1974. It “was an attempt by the Army to weaken the power of the Loyalist paramilitaries” during the Ulster Workers Strike (UWC) which was aimed at toppling the Sunningdale-inspired Power Sharing Government. However, the Army “plan was not put into action during the strike because of the adverse reaction of the RUC to the Army operation which led to the arrest of quite a few figures in those paramilitary organisations”.

There were subsequent operations against McGrath and Tara. Wallace believes they “were initiated by the Army because of the threat he posed to the political process and to the discussions between Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries. I think Paisley was a target at times because he kept changing his stance on key issues”.


The anti-Paisley smears Colin Wallace refused to circulate

Wallace has also revealed that the British Army/IPU was supplied with forged share certificates and a bank account in Paisley’s name which indicated he had made a substantial purchase of shares in Canada with misappropriated funds. Wallace believes the fabrications were manufactured by Intelligence sources in London because the Army in NI had neither the knowledge nor the skills to produce them.

Unfortunately for the smearmeisters in London, Wallace was “unhappy about the political nature of the material I was being given and did not show those items – or any of the other political material – to journalists at that time. Clearly, someone else was circulating them. I did send copies to Mrs. Thatcher in 1990 in the hope that she would initiate a proper investigation”. However, no one from the Government ever contacted him as a result.

In 1990 Michael Taylor, who also worked at Lisburn, confirmed the existence of the forgeries: “I saw forged documents, for instance that the Reverend Ian Paisley had a bank account in Canada”.

An abyss of treachery

MI6 held the upper hand in the intelligence bear pit in NI until 1974 when MI5 assumed the dominant role. From this point on, there was a concerted effort to protect McGrath and the operation at Kincora from the threat posed by British Army/IPU destabilisation operations. Paisley would become entangled in the crossfire.

Dark clouds were now hanging over Lisburn. Wallace began to receive propaganda briefs from NIO Intelligence officers in 1973 and into 1974. The new targets included British MPs such as Harold Wilson. In September 1974 Wallace refused to descend into this abyss of treachery.

Shortly afterwards he was informed that his life was in danger – a blatant lie – and that it was going to be necessary to transfer him to England for his own safety. However, he was soon pushed out of the British Army altogether by means of a dirty-tricks operation mounted against him by MI5 (for which he was later compensated). It was alleged behind his back that he was working for the UVF, an atrocious slander, one of many deployed against him. Ultimately, he would be framed for killing a man in England; spending years in prison before his conviction was overturned because of the exposure of falsified evidence.

Harold Wilson with Colin Wallace in the background.

When the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, quashed Wallace’s conviction and sentence in 1996, he said that if the trial jury had relied on the forensic evidence provided by the Home Office pathologist Dr Ian West in the decision to convict Wallace, then they had been “seriously misled”. West should have been prosecuted, but he was terminally ill at that time and no action was taken.

The urgency to destroy Wallace almost certainly sprang from the fact that he was engaged in – and was personally committed to – the attempts to end the Kincora child abuse scandal by exposing McGrath. Once Wallace had received authority from his military superiors to turn the anti-McGrath propaganda tap on again, MI5 had little choice but to destroy him or watch the Kincora operation unravel. They also wanted to replace him with compliant individuals who would engage in treachery against Westminster MPs.

The moving force in the plot against Wallace was a senior MI5 officer called Ian Cameron. For example, Cameron made a formal complaint against Wallace for allegedly “breaching security by briefing the press about Tara and McGrath”, Wallace has explained. “This was based on a piece that Robert Fisk wrote for The New Statesman… Cameron knew, of course, that I had been briefing the press about McGrath since 1973 at the request of my Army superiors”. Wallace’s boss at HQ NI in 1974, Peter Broderick, is on public record saying that he initialled the briefing document about Tara that Wallace used and instructed him to disclose it. The document was also initialed by Lieutenant Colonel Peck, the then head of PSYOPS.

“Cameron”, Wallace believes, “was worried that my attempts to expose McGrath – at the behest of my superiors – was a threat to what MI5 were doing with McGrath and Tara”.

Wallace has also revealed that it “was later made clear to me by a totally reliable source that the ‘leaks’ allegations were just a means of having me removed from the Province because the NIO – particularly MI5 – wanted to take full control of the so-called information war. In effect this is what happened!”.


An MI5 plot to murder Paisley

Sir Michael Hanley, Director-General of MI5 at the time Paisley claimed MI5 had contemplated murdering him.

On 28 April 1987 the Guardian newspaper reported that MI5 had contemplated murdering Paisley in the early 1970s as part of its campaign to break up and discredit the Loyalist powerbase, “according to a former civilian intelligence operative who worked in Northern Ireland at the time”.

The Guardian also reported that the “allegation was supported yesterday by Mr Paisley who told the Guardian that he had been tipped off about the plot by an army intelligence officer”. Village is aware of who this intelligence officer was.

Wallace also spoke to the Guardian in 1987 and was able to point to a letter he had written to Thatcher in November 1984 which had included an account of how an MI5 officer had asked him to produce an analysis of the likely reaction in NI to the assassination of certain “prominent leaders in various scenarios”. While this was not particularly unusual, Wallace told the paper, this “project was, however, significant (with hindsight) in that it put forward inter alia, the hypothesis that the Rev Paisley might be killed in a Loyalist internal feud involving a homosexual vice ring and the misappropriation of Loyalists’ funds”.


The letter which described “homosexual prostitution at a children’s home in Belfast” five years before the Kincora scandal erupted

After Wallace was shunted out of Lisburn, he engaged in a correspondence with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). One letter from 1975 refers to the attempts “made by the Security Service [i.e. MI5] to discredit various Loyalist politicians, including the Rev Ian Paisley, by the use of forged documents and by linking the MPs with Loyalist paramilitary figures involved in homosexual prostitution at a children’s home in Belfast”.


Paisley meets Colin Wallace in London

In early 1976 Paisley had become convinced that the NIO – which acted as a front for MI5 and MI6 – was plotting against him.

Wallace has revealed that:

“In 1976, a member of Ian Paisley’s church contacted a member of my family and said that IRKP (i.e. Ian Kyle Richard Paisley) wanted to get in touch with me because the press had told him that the Army had been attempting to discredit him and that I had been identified as being involved in that activity. In 1976 I was living in London, having left Northern Ireland in February 1975”.

Wallace and Paisley “met briefly near Parliament”. Wallace recalls that Paisley “began by clearly referring to the material that I had given to the press in 1973/74 relating to William McGrath and Tara. I confirmed that I had briefed the press about McGrath and Tara, but that he and a few other individuals we referred to, such as the Rev Martin Smith [the Head of the Orange Order], were simply mentioned as being people whom we believed were aware of the sexual abuse allegations relating to McGrath”.

Paisley then proceeded to tell Wallace that “he had it on good authority from a source at the NIO that a Foreign Office psychological warfare team at Stormont was engaged in a project to discredit him and key members of the DUP”. Paisley then “asked me what I knew about such a Committee and I told him that I didn’t know anything because I had been away from Northern Ireland for more than a year”.

The meeting “lasted only a few minutes and I never heard from him again”, Wallace has explained.


Paisley was “very worried” about the housefather at Kincora

Wallace also says that:

“Looking back on it, I find it interesting that Paisley was clearly aware of the potential danger of his association with McGrath. He didn’t discuss the matter with me in any way, or volunteer any information, he just asked me questions about the briefings I had given to the Press about McGrath and about the [NIO] Information Coordinating Committee”.

Wallace “got the distinct feeling that Paisley was almost frightened of McGrath, or the extent to which McGrath could damage him”.

Richard Kerr raped from the age of 8, bullied as a teenage by Ian Paisley not to testify against McGrath. Kerr seen on the right as a teenager in London.

In February 1976 Paisley told the House of Commons that a smear campaign against him and other Loyalists was afoot. He specifically referred to the Jeremy Thorpe affair, a scandal which had involved an allegation that Thorpe, the Leader of the Liberal Party, had hired a hitman to kill Norman Scott, his former – and much younger – lover. This indicates that Paisley anticipated smears of a sexual nature.

His outburst must have disturbed the members of the VIP paedophile ring at Westminster which then included: Ted Heath; Peter Morrison; Cyril Smith; William van Straubenzee; Greville Janner and others Village will name in due course including one who took Richard Kerr to dine at Septembers Restaurant in London. He is still alive today and busy denying the existence of a VIP abuse network. He abused Kerr twice – once when Kerr was brought to London from Kincora aged 15 or 16, and later when he was living in London.


The DUP expels members of Tara

Paisley would pretend that he severed all links with McGrath after 1973 on account of what Valerie Shaw had told him about McGrath’s proclivities. This, however, is belied by the fact Paisley officiated at the wedding of McGrath’s daughter, Elizabeth, on 22 January 1976.

Ian Paisley marching in 1970

Irrespective of whatever charades were being played in early 1976, actual steps were taken to place a distance between Paisley’s DUP and Tara later in the year. According to a declassified NIO cable dated 7 December 1976, “the DUP had decided that members of the paramilitary organisation, Tara, who were also members of the DUP should be forced to resign from the party” and that “Peter Robinson (Secretary of the DUP) would produce a list of other [DUP] members who are members of Tara. These persons will be dismissed in due course”.

Other declassified UK files demonstrate that Paisley’s DUP was being monitored by British spies.


McGrath’s ex-lover was also an MI5 agent

One member of Tara who was expelled from the DUP had once been McGrath’s homosexual lover. According to declassified British files, this individual informed McGrath that he was an MI5 agent. It is hardly surprisingly that McGrath took no steps against him as McGrath was also an agent, not to mention the man’s former lover.

MI5 kept this second Tara agent on their books after McGrath was arrested in 1980. The mind boggles at why.


The ‘Under Secretary’ from the NIO

In 1977 McGrath sent a member of Tara called Colin Wyatt (now deceased) to Holland to procure guns for Tara. Wyatt returned home and was debriefed in McGrath’s house by someone McGrath introduced to him as an Under Secretary from the NIO. It is far more likely that the individual was an intelligence officer.


The Cumberland Hotel incident

The Cumberland Hotel

Despite all of Paisley’s efforts to distance himself from McGrath, Paisley would take an enormous risk in coming to McGrath’s aid before the Kincora trial commenced. It is inconceivable that he would have done so unless he had been subjected to severe coercive pressure.

Last month Village described how Paisley had intimidated Richard Kerr into keeping quiet about the involvement of “Englishmen” and others in the abuse at Kincora.

To recap briefly: Kerr was working as a “bell hop” at the Cumberland Hotel near the Marble Arch in London in the early 1980s. One evening Paisley turned up and instructed him that if he was questioned by the police, he was not to “mention anything about Englishmen at Kincora” or about other events in NI.

There is no reason to suspect that Richard Kerr was the only resident who was browbeaten by Paisley.


Sinister hush-hush briefings

By 1982 McGrath was in prison and McKeague in his grave.

If British agents had used McGrath and McKeague to strong-arm Paisley into assisting them, what did they do after they were no longer available to put the squeeze on him for them? An off-the-record press briefing which took place shortly before the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement at Hillsborough on 15 November, 1985, may provide the answer. A week before the Agreement was signed, the Lobby Correspondents in Westminster received an unattributable briefing from Thatcher’s press office to the effect that she had ordered the MoD to open a fresh inquiry into Kincora. Paisley faced the prospect of explaining under oath why he had done nothing about Kincora after Valerie Shaw had told him about it in 1973.


The Grand Old Duke of York: Paisley and Ulster Resistance

The intention of the hush-hush briefing to the Lobby Correspondents in London can only have been to cow Unionist opposition to Hillsborough.

Paisley responded to Hillsborough by helping to organise rallies and by setting up a paramilitary organisation called Ulster Resistance (UR) the following year. Yet UR proved to be little more than a lightning rod through which Paisley captured and channelled a ferocious wave of Loyalist anger before directing it into the ground. There were dramatic rallies with men in red berets waving pieces of paper – purportedly firearm licenses – but it was all flash and no bang. There would be no strike along the lines of the highly successful 1974 UWC stoppage which had torn down the Power-Sharing Government set up after Sunningdale.

Paisley at an Ulster Resistance rally

Paisley also rounded on Thatcher with dramatic but ultimately harmless words: “We hand her over to the devil that she might learn not to blaspheme. Oh God, we pray this night that Thou wouldst deal with the Prime Minister of our country. Oh God in wrath take vengeance upon this wicked, treacherous, lying woman”.

Paisley was compared to the Grand Old Duke of York for metaphorically marching the troops of UR up to the top of the hill before leading them back down again. Soon opposition to Hillsborough fizzled out.

The threatened MoD inquiry which the Lobby Correspondents had been briefed about never materialised.

There was a sinister sequel to this: UR became involved in the importation of arms from Lebanon in 1987 (and from elsewhere later). The Lebanese consignment was divided into three shares. One part was intercepted outside Portadown while the remaining two – which were intended for UR and the UVF – ended up in the hands of Loyalist paramilitaries. At the time MI5 was busy colluding with a host of Loyalist murder gangs, as the Stevens and other official UK investigations have confirmed.


Paisley’s dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus

Paisley performed the most astonishing U-turn of his career in 2007 when he became NI’s First Minister – a post created by the Good Friday 1998 Agreement which he had hitherto despised – and managed to work in perfect harmony with Martin McGuinness, a senior IRA leader, as his deputy. This pirouette would not be that astonishing if it was the case that MI5/6 had twisted his arm. A less conspiratorial interpretation is that it was nothing more than a cynical power grab. These motivations, of course, are not mutually exclusive.

Paisley died in 2014. One question which will now remain unanswered is how he managed to sleep at night in the knowledge that boys were being raped and brutalised on a daily basis all around him for a decade or more, or how he felt about the Kincora suicides.


The section below appeared as a side panel in the printed edition of this story:


The British Army destroyed the IPU’s files in 1976 after the IPU was disbanded, or at least claimed it did.

An internal MoD investigation was critical of the destruction. Some ‘policy files’, however, did survive until 1981.

Generally, the absence of files permitted the MoD to misrepresent Wallace. UK Ministers were assured by their officials that Wallace was a fantasist, a Walter Mitty-type character. Yet inside the upper reaches of the MoD there was no doubt that he was telling the truth. The Belgrano whistleblower, Clive Ponting, a former senior official in the MoD, has described meetings he attended with MI5 officers in 1983 to discuss how to prevent Wallace from making allegations about ‘dirty tricks’ in NI. Ponting has revealed that MI5 was “genuinely worried that Wallace had far worse things to say’ about dirty tricks. The Sunday Times quoted Tony Stevens, who chaired the MoD meetings, as stating that he did not dispute the fact that the MoD/MI5 meetings had taken place in 1983.

The tide turned in Wallace’s favour in 1989 when Sir Michael Quinlan, Permanent Secretary at the MoD, informed Margaret Thatcher that he had established a secret internal investigation into Wallace’s allegations because he believed that Ministers had probably been misinformed about Wallace’s role in NI. The investigation substantiated much of what Wallace had said.

The Hart Report found that there was no evidence that the Army knew anything about Kincora prior to 1980. That is hardly surprising since the IPU files were not available to it for review.

Of course, there is every possibility that some – or all – of these files were in fact preserved. A report by journalist Willie Kiely on 28 March 1982 in the Sunday Journal reported that IPU files were removed from Lisburn earlier that month. If Kiely’s sources were accurate, it means at least some files survived the alleged 1976 and 1981 purges. In turn this means that the Hart Inquiry was misled – yet again.

Clive Ponting (born 1946) did not appear at the Hart Inquiry.