MI5, MI6 get bye as Kincora abuse inquiry opens
MI5, MI6 get bye as Kincora abuse inquiry opens


Evidence of British state collusion in a paedophile ring at a notorious Belfast care home will not be examined fully by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA), currently underway in Banbridge, County Down, it has been confirmed.

The Court of Appeal in Belfast ruled last week that evidence from victims at Kincora Boys’ Home should go ahead without the security forces being required to hand over documents or testify.

As a result of the ruling, the investigation does not have the power to properly scrutinise the allegations that the 1970s abuse had been covered up to protect an intelligence-gathering operation.

Supported by other survivors, one victim had been seeking a separate, human rights-compliant probe from British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers, which would be able to compel the security services to hand over documents or testify.

There have been allegations that boys at Kincora were prostituted as part of a high ranking vice ring involving prominent people. It is further claimed the British security services knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it, instead using the information to blackmail and extract intelligence from the influential men - including senior politicians, who were the perpetrators.

This week, the limited inquiry in Banbridge under by Sir Anthony Hart went ahead. It heard detailed and graphic accounts of a litany of abuse by staff members during the 1970s. In statements, boys described how vulnerable children were sexually assaulted just weeks after arriving at the home.

House master Raymond McGrath led the shadowy Protestant paramilitary organisation Tara, is believed to have been working as an MI5 agent. He preyed on the boys as they watched television, while they were in bed and in the bathroom. For some it was a frequent occurrence, the inquiry was told. It was further claimed that after assaulting boys, McGrath would walk away laughing.

One victim, referred to as KIN49 said: “Boys warned new boys that McGrath would try to touch them.”

McGrath was jailed in 1981 along with Kincora warden Joseph Mains and deputy warden Raymond Semple after admitting abusing boys. Some boys described being scared of McGrath, while others said they were too embarrassed or disgusted to tell welfare workers.

Another victim, R12 who did not speak out until 1980, said: “I didn’t know what I was doing was wrong, but I did not like it what he was doing. I was frightened.”

The inquiry also heard allegations that a man in a police uniform sexually abused one victim, known only as KIN238. The boy ran away and did not speak out until he told his girlfriend in 1999. He went to police after 2000, it emerged.

The current inquiry is expected to hear from more than 450 witnesses during the course of the public evidence sessions, with a report to be submitted to ministers in January 2017.

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