William Mc Grath's Biography (Books)
William McGrath (11 December 1916-1992) was a loyalist from Northern Ireland who founded the far-right organisation Tara in the 1960s, having also been prominent in the Orange Order until his expulsion due to his paedophilia. A house master in Kincora Boys' Home in East Belfast, in 1981 he was jailed for four years for paedophile activities at the Home.
By the mid-1960s some of McGrath's closest followers, including Garland, had begun to meet at his 15 Wellington Park base (McGrath having shifted operations to the Malone Road in 1960) along with several senior Orangemen in a group known as the "Cell". Clifford Smyth also became part of this cell and grew close to McGrath, stating that at the time he was attracted to his strong anti-Catholic rhetoric. The cell spearheaded a campaign of speeches to Protestant audiences, more political than religious in tone than McGrath's earlier talks, encouraging unionists and loyalists to turn away from the moderate Terence O'Neill and to lend their support to his most vocal political opponent Ian Paisley. McGrath and Paisley differed over the latter's regular attacks on mainstream Protestant churches for their liberalism but McGrath admired Paisley's mobilisation of men and became involved in his Ulster Constitution Defence Committee. Despite their political collaboration, McGrath was not a member of Paisley's Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster although two of his children were married in Paisley's Martyrs Memorial Church.
According to Martin Dillon, McGrath had influence over Charles Harding Smith and encouraged him to establish the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in 1971, reasoning that the group could replace the recently disbanded Ulster Special Constabulary. A leaflet distributed amongst loyalists calling for vigilante groups such as the Shankill Defence Association and the Woodvale Defence Association to form into one "army", a document that effectively brought the UDA to life, was actually written by McGrath, according to Chris Moore. Moore further argues that McGrath's MI5 handlers had instructed him to write this document as they hoped to control loyalist counter-insurgency through the UDA. His influence in the UDA in its early years was, according to Dillon, demonstrated by the fate of Ernie Elliott, a leading figure in the early days of the UDA West Belfast Brigade who eventually was killed by another UDA member. Dillon argues that McGrath's secret service handlers implored him to launch a whispering campaign against Elliott, who had flirted with communism and had been rumoured to be seeking a rapprochement with the Official IRA, and that as a result McGrath circulated rumours about Elliott enriching himself from racketeering and illegal drinking dens, rumours that helped to bring about Elliott's downfall.
From his prison cell in January 1982, McGrath wrote to the Secretary of Ireland's Heritage Lodge (LOL 1303) tendering his resignation, but at their next meeting this was rejected and instead they passed a motion of expulsion against him. His son Worthington McGrath was present at the meeting, at which William McGrath's expulsion was passed unanimously. The Lodge was disbanded the following month, with the membership deciding that its name was too tainted by its association with McGrath to continue.
McGrath was released from prison in December 1983 after serving two years of his sentence, settling in Ballyhalbert. He attempted to regain his membership of the Orange Order but was vetoed consistently in his attempts.
McGrath died in either 1991 or 1992. He left behind three children, his sons Worthington and Harvey Andrew and a daughter Elizabeth Jean Frances.