Kincora: The heart of darkness

Last night’s powerful Channel 4 news report has led to fresh calls for Kincora to be included in the Westminster paedophile inquiry.

Richard Kerr, a victim of abuse at Kincora told Channel 4 News that he was taken from the east Belfast home to London where he was molested by members of a VIP paedophile ring. Mr. Kerr alleges that he was abused by “very powerful people” at Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square – locations at the centre of the ongoing inquiry which has been mired in controversy.

Last month Home Secretary Theresa May ruled out extending the scope of a child sexual abuse inquiry to cover Northern Ireland and Scotland saying that child protection is “a devolved matter” despite Home recommendations by a Home Affairs Committee report:

Kincora extension

In the 13 minute report Richard Kerr meets former army intelligence officer Brian Gemmell who claims he put in an official report about Kincora to a senior MI5 officer but was ordered to “stop digging and forget about it”.

Brian Gemmell said he believed what happened at Kincora decades ago should be brought within the scope of the judge-led inquiry set up by Theresa May. Asked why, he said: “I think two words – Richard Kerr. I think Richard’s transporting over to the United Kingdom mainland to be abused, rather than just being abused in Northern Ireland, speaks volumes. It ties the two together.” When asked if he believed claims that efforts were still being made to cover up what happened, he said: “I do.”

Naomi Long has also called for Kincora to be included in the abuse inquiry saying:

There is still a real reluctance at Westminster to turn the full glare of scrutiny on to the national paedophile inquiry at Kincora. I have to ask myself why is that the case? Why would we not want to know what happened? Why would we not want to give the victims full closure by getting at all of the truth? I believe a new home secretary after the general election should even now include the Kincora scandal into the wider Westminster paedophile inquiry

Kincora is currently part of  the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA), examining allegations of child abuse in children’s homes and other residential institutions in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 1995, however Sir Anthony Hart, the retired judge leading the current investigation has expressed concern that he lacks the authority to get to the truth.  Amnesty International and other human rights organisations have pointed out that the Banbridge-based inquiry would not have access to confidential intelligence documents. There is a general sense that we somehow do not trust our local institutions to get to the bottom of this or indeed any matter.

Many of the recent allegations are covered comprehensively in Chris Moore‘s seminal book on Kincora (now out of print but available as a free PDF download here)

Ed Maloney goes one step further than the call for Kincora to be included in the Westminster inquiry. On his website he suggests:

If only a fraction of the claims made below by former Kincora resident Richard Kerr are true then the case for a truly independent tribunal of inquiry into the Kincora Boys Home scandal is unanswerable. And to help ensure that it is independent from attempted subversion by British intelligence, it should be chaired by an international figure from a non-Commonwealth, non-NATO country


'The Kincora Scandal' - by Chris Moore

‘The Kincora Scandal’ – by Chris Moore

As Richard Kerr says:

I want those who are responsible brought to justice. We can’t fail in this. We just can’t. If we fail on this we are allowing this to continue







UPDATE: Labour Party  announce Kincora would be included in the Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry under it’s government





, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • puffen

    The cover up, goes right to the heart of the DHSS, I have tried to interest the media, in my evidence, which might show that there was something going on among senior civil servants, in Stormont,

  • the rich get richer

    Could there be any more heinous crimes committed by people in positions of power against those least able to protect themselves.

    Yet we have politicians trying to cover up and delay ,delay , delay.

    “Justice postponed is justice denied”

    Not so important to politicians when it is the defenceless that are denied and the establishment insiders protected (postponed indefinitely)

    Only a most rotten society would protect such villains !

    Maybe this is what Thatcher meant when she said there is no society.

    No society for the defenceless ! ! !

  • the rich get richer


    Thanks for covering this most important of stories.

    Sincere thanks and lets help get the bastards ! !

  • John Collins

    Yes indeed the Catholic Church are not the only ones trying to cover up this awful problem.

  • tmitch57

    I read Chris Moore’s book back in 1998 when I was researching a book on NI. His revelations on Tara and the Red Hand Commando were fascinating. I recommend the book to anyone wanting to learn more about the background behind the outbreak of loyalist violence in the late 1960s.

  • 1498

    this has been known about for years, yet the Irish and British media only (barely) reporting on it now. The mainstream media, in general, showing a strange reluctance to report on this huge story.
    I wonder why.

  • kalista63

    Look at Mr Kerr’s fear of being punished by these powerful people. This isn’t a historical abuse but as current as the moment I type this.

    How can one can have faith in a government to investigate the whole issue when it’s leader, David Cameron called people commenting on accusations (that the Met is taking seriously and investigating) ‘conspiracy theorists’?

    Essentially, there’s only one person we trust to investigate this, his name being mentioned constantly and equally ignored by the establishment and we all know why.

  • Robin Keogh

    What was wrong with this country that such a perverted culture of child abuse managed to spread far and wide affecting hundreds of thousands of our children. It beggers belief that such horrors occurred, there needs to be a study on why it happenned, what in the human psyche was so messed up that so many people did unto children such damage? Truly shocking.

  • Thomas Barber

    This is another reminder of how politics works at Westminster, blackmail, bribery and allowing those who are corruptible and insane a free hand to carry out their sadistic practices on vulnerable children all in order to keep the status quo in the interests of the British establishment. The truth about Kincora, the murder of children and child disappearances during that period will be covered up just like the British have covered up all their nefarious activities in Ireland for centuries. Respect to the Firemen but it will take more than a blog on Slugger to expose the truth that the non inclusion of Kincora in the UK wide Historical child abuse inquiry is just another attempt to protect the British public, the British establishment and certain powerful families from being exposed to the truth about the actions and activities of some of their offspring.

  • The Firemen

    Thanks for the encouragement Thomas. It was very encouraging to see the Channel 4 report. We just felt it merited wider viewing. Sexual abuse seems to be endemic in all ‘conflict’ situations; a convenient mask for abusers to hide behind. This pattern has been repeated worldwide. Those of us who want justice for victims will keep fighting for truth.

  • The Firemen

    Serious question: who is this ‘one person’ we all trust? Feel free to drop me a PM on Twitter.

  • The Firemen

    Thank you

  • Sp12

    Yes, well done.
    “Wider viewing” of a report on one of the highest rated news programmes in the UK is apparently regurgitation on Slugger. Not to mention the provincializing of the topic by contextualising it as something that is endemic in “conflict” situations, something the locals can all get behind, relate to, and score points on.

    Stick to the Mairia Cahill stories, and leave the discussion of child sexual abuse to the people who actually devote themselves to dealing with and preventing day in, day out.

  • kalista63

    Michael Mansfield QC, of course.

  • carl marks

    so only stick to the stories you like, and leave the rest secret, these people “who actually devote themselves to dealing with and preventing day in, day out.” I think some of those didn’t do a very good job, hence the abused children, the enquires, and the general distrust of the system.

  • carl marks

    No John, terrible as the abuse was inside the Catholic Church I personally never thought that it was unique, It (as many feared it was much wider, much more common) it now seems that children were routinely trafficked to satisfy cliques of powerful paedophiles across both islands.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Christian Wolmar in his book Forgotten Children charted all this way back in the year 2000: nothing was ever done about it: the scandal was ignored by everybody.

    Forgotten Children

    The Secret Abuse Scandal in Children’s Homes

    Vision Paperbacks, October 2000

    ISBN: 1901250474

    Pages: 240 / 276

    “There isn’t a photo of me before I was 14. It’s as if I didn’t exist. Children in children’s homes are suffering from trauma, from shock… They are used to the unexpected and sexual abuse is unexpected.” ‘John’.

    “In the 1960s and 1970s, children’s departments were abolished and social workers all became generalists who had clients across the spectrum of need. As a result, thousands more children were taken into care by local authorities and many of them were put into children’s homes. Disaster ensued, with a high proportion of them being abused and mistreated by those charged with looking after them. The legacy of this disaster is still being felt; major police investigations have been launched across the country and many are ongoing.”

    “Why did it happen? Despite several official investigations, none have attempted to explain the underlying causes of institutional abuse and offered a coherent explanation of what happened. Forgotten Children is the ground-breaking first book to aim to do so.”

    “Forgotten Children charts the history of children’s homes, how they were neglected over the years and, with untrained and sometimes unsuitable staff, why they became preying grounds for paedophiles. Many institutions thought it in the best interests of the children to keep their parents at bay, forbidding letter writing and visits. So there was no one to turn to. It also shows how changes in social services provision in the 1970s helped to create the disaster.”

    “It looks, too, at the widespread abuse which took place in homes run by religious orders and gives a previously unheard voice to many of the victims. The book then also follows the children’s claims for compensation, the issues over false claims of abuse and suggests ways to prevent a reoccurrence of the scandal.”

    Author Christian Wolmar analyses the roles of the institutions which ‘allowed’ this scandal to sweep the country: local authorities and charities that let abuse go unchecked in their homes; central government, which failed to heed the warning signs; the police who initially ignored all complaints; the social workers who did not listen to the children.

    The legacy of these scandals reaches beyond their immediate victims, many of whom are too traumatised to lead functional lives or have even committed suicide; prisons are full of the former residents of children’s homes whose crimes have, in turn, created a raft of new victims.

    Forgotten Children includes interviews with victims, care workers, lawyers and police, presenting a gripping critique of children’s care in the 1970s and 1980s and shedding light on the underlying causes of institutional abuse.

    Christian Wolmar’s book is sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which publishes research into social issues. After writing Forgotten Children, Christian submitted evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Adoption and Children Bill. Whatever happened to that?

  • The Firemen

    Ah, good call

  • The Firemen

    I think you have a serious issue with ‘context’ and an even lesser grasp of audience figures. As for ‘point scoring’ if you examine our work in totality you will notice what is commonly referred to as ‘balance’.

    Enjoy the weekend.

  • The Firemen

    Thank you for sharing this. Will dig deeper.

  • the rich get richer

    I see the Labour party are promising to include Kincora in the wider inquiry.

    Well done to them and shame on any parties that are not also proposing this !

  • The Firemen

    Article updated this to reflect the Labour Party commitment. A significant development:

  • Sp12

    And I think you have offered little beyond copy pasting and waiting for the back slapping to roll in, from the (cough) wider audience on a NI politics web site.

  • Sp12

    Leaving the rest secret?
    Yes, that exactly what would happen if a headline feature on a national TV news programme pre and post reported on by everything from the BBC news website to the Daily Mail wasn’t copy/pasted on Slugger with nothing added.
    Still, for ‘balance’ we can all discuss the Firemen’s idea that this has to do with ‘conflict situations’.

  • Jay

    I’m still waiting for a caricature and a funny wee picture to go with this story firemen. Or does this rape allegation not meet the requirements to be satirised?

  • Framer

    What Christian Wolmar seems to be saying – and this blurb does not delve any deeper or reveal much else by way of causation – is that it was the progressive reforms of the 1960s and 1970s that enabled children’s care to become disastrously badly organised and carried out.
    Worthy of note, and little commented on, but children’s homes in Northern Ireland on foot of the Kincora convictions, seem to have been cleaned up and cleaned out decades earlier than in Britain or the south. Something we can be proud of.

  • terence patrick hewett

    I was asked by a member of the Irish side of the family whether I was “still in the faith.” I replied “you do not abandon a friend just because they are in trouble” I remember posting this on the Guardian website in 2003 and got cr*pped on from a great height: we hear very little from that quarter now about insitutional infant abuse: the following is verbatim:

    “Leaving aside the extreme doubts that you are, or have ever been a Catholic, your crude and superficial argument should be answered.

    Firstly: secular England has no reason to feel smug. A cursory perusal of the book Forgotten Children by Christian Wolmar reveals that the greatest abuses in this country were in secular state run children’s homes. Forgotten Children charts the history of children’s homes, how they were neglected over the years and, with untrained and sometimes unsuitable staff and why they became preying grounds for paedophiles. Many institutions kept parents at bay, forbidding letter writing and visits. The magnitude of these scandals has never really been confronted, not by the courts, the press, nor the public. And despite all the inquiries and prosecutions that have occurred over the years, children in care homes are still at risk, and covertly the abuse still goes on, children are still disbelieved, support is still patchy and prosecutions too few and far between. They have got much, much cleverer.

    Secondly: Why is it that abuse seems to be a more or less exclusively Irish Catholic phenomenon, and not replicated to anywhere near the same extent in any other predominantly Catholic country. Sadly, it is a matter concerning the history
    of Ireland and the British administration thereof. During the 19th and 20th centuries, it is not an exaggeration to say that Ireland was run exclusively by a coalition of the church and the British state; resulting in the corruption of the church by the possession of too much power. Extreme Irish poverty resulted in
    the priesthood being used as an exit from destitution, and many quite clearly
    should never have been ordained. During the 1960’s onwards the church and other institutions, as was elsewhere, targeted by paedophiles because of their access to children; the
    News of the World would have gone out of business without C of E vicars and Scoutmasters.

    Thirdly: I am afraid your own alleged robust treatment at the hands of 1960’s schoolmasters was par for the course at the time; we all got it. We didn’t pay much attention to it then; and still don’t.

    In conclusion: the Church’s enemies always use abuse as a justification for their attacks but hide the greater abuse in the secular world. Catholic priests do not come fully formed from the womb, but are drawn from society as a whole; and the more corrupt that society is the more vulnerable the church is to entryism. May I humbly suggest when you look in the mirror in the morning; you look to the mote in your own eye before attempting to remove that of others.”

    The corruption is still there: still going on and government is still denying the poor victims justice.