“we have stripped away the overgrowth of decades of ill-informed comment, half truths and deliberate misrepresentations which have all too often masqueraded as established facts.”

Given the many lurid conspiracy theories that have been constructed over the years around the abuse at the Kincora Boys’ Home in east Belfast, it’s worth highlighting the findings of the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995 on that issue in particular.

While the BBC mentioned it in a longer report, The Irish Times focused on this aspect of the Inquiry’s findings

There is no evidence to support allegations that security agencies were complicit in the abuse of children at the former Kincora Boys’ Home in east Belfast, the North’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has found.

Inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart, a former high court judge, debunked what he described as decades of “ill-informed comment, half-truths and deliberate misrepresentations masquerading as established facts”.

He said the inquiry was satisfied there is no evidence to support any allegations that prominent individuals were involved in sexual abuse of Kincora residents.

It emerged – when the 2,300-page, 10-volume report into abuse at 22 homes in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995 was published on Friday – the panel was also satisfied Kincora was not a homosexual brothel and not used by any security agencies as a “honeypot” to entrap, blackmail or otherwise exploit men. [added emphasis]

Hundreds of British government files and secret intelligence documents were examined by the inquiry panel.

From the Inquiry Chairman’s statement [284kb pdf file]

As a result of our examination of all of the material we gathered we believe that we have stripped away the overgrowth of decades of ill-informed comment, half truths and deliberate misrepresentations which have all too often masqueraded as established facts. These had been constantly repeated without critical analysis by, or real knowledge on the part of, those who have offered public comments about the nature and extent of the sexual abuse of residents in Kincora, and what state agencies did or did not know about that abuse during the 1970s and afterwards. We have established that the sources of many of the allegations were untruthful, inaccurate or mistaken in what they said had happened.

We have devoted two of the volumes of the report solely to Kincora. What we are going to say now about our conclusions has to be read in conjunction with our detailed examination of the relevant material to which we refer, and which we intend to place on our website later today. Some may find our conclusions unpalatable because their preconceptions have not been confirmed, or because we have not accepted the allegations they have repeated over the years. [added emphasis]

And from Chapter 3 of the report – Findings [269kb pdf file]

William McGrath

395 Based on our extensive examination of a very large number of files held by RUC Special Branch, by MI5, by SIS and by the Ministry of Defence, we are satisfied that McGrath was never an agent of the State, although he may have enjoyed creating an air of mystery about his activities, part of which may well have involved him hinting at, or implying in an oblique fashion, that he was an agent of the State.

396 Not only have we found no evidence to indicate that McGrath was an agent of any of the four agencies, we have found many documents and references which very strongly indicate that he was not an agent. [added emphasis]

397 William McGrath was a sexual pervert who had political and religious views of an extreme and bizarre type who managed to trick gullible young men who were interested in political matters into regarding him as an important political figure. William McGrath was never more than a minor player on the wider political stage who managed to create a spurious air of self-importance through Tara at a time of great political instability, communal violence and terrorist activity. Tara was never more than an organisation of occasional interest to the security agencies. [added emphasis]

Volume 9 − Chapter 29 − Module 15 − Conclusions about Kincora

Were prominent individuals involved in the sexual abuse of residents of Kincora

398 There have been frequent allegations that various individuals, including Sir Maurice Oldfield, a former head of the Secret Intelligent Service who was later the Security Coordinator in Northern Ireland, and a number of named and unnamed Northern Ireland Office Civil Servants, and unnamed business men and other prominent figures, resorted to Kincora for sexual purposes. We are satisfied there is no credible evidence to support any of these allegations. Kincora was a small hostel and for most of its existence had only nine or fewer residents at any one time. The great majority of all of those residents who were interviewed by the Sussex Police were very surprised at such allegations and did not believe them to be of any substance. [added emphasis]

399 There were a small number of former residents of Kincora who returned to Kincora as visitors and who engaged in consensual homosexual activity with Mains, or on a small number of occasions, with some of the residents. A number of residents engaged in consensual homosexual activity with each other, or did so with others away from Kincora in circumstances which were completely unconnected with Kincora. We are satisfied that Kincora was not a homosexual brothel, nor used by any of the security agencies as a “honey pot” to entrap, blackmail or otherwise exploit homosexuals. [added emphasis]

Allegations of a cover up

400 Both the Belfast Town Clerk and the Town Solicitor died before the Hughes Inquiry investigated the sexual abuse at Kincora. The reasons why the Town Clerk and the Town Solicitor decided not to accept the recommendation made by Mr Mason in 1971 that the complaints against Mains should be reported to the RUC were never recorded. There are a number of possible reasons why they took this step. One was that they did not agree that the information contained in Mr Mason’s report was sufficient to justify the matter being reported to the police. If that was their reason then that was a wrong decision. Another reason may have been to protect the Belfast Welfare Authority from the embarrassment that would flow from a police investigation into a boys’ hostel under its control. Another explanation may have been that either or both were determined to protect Mains from exposure as a homosexual. That would only be a possible consideration were there evidence to show that either the Town Clerk or the Town Solicitor knew that Mains was a practising homosexual. In the absence of any evidence, each of these possible reasons is no more than speculation.

401 Apart from that unexplained decision, we are satisfied that there were no attempts by the Belfast Welfare Authority or the EHSSB to engage in a “cover-up”, that is concealing from relevant individuals or authorities their knowledge of, or information about, wrongdoing by Mains, Semple or McGrath.

Allegations by Colin Wallace and others

402 We are satisfied that Mr Wallace was moved from his post in the Army Information Service at HQNI, and subsequently dismissed, solely because there was very strong circumstantial evidence that he had been engaged in, and was still engaged in, the unauthorised disclosure of classified documents to journalists. We are satisfied that whatever he claims to have known about Kincora had nothing whatever to do with his posting to Preston or his subsequent dismissal. [added emphasis]

403 We are satisfied that Mr Wallace was treated unjustly in two respects connected with the subsequent appeal he brought against his dismissal to the Civil Service Appeal Board. First of all the MoD did not reveal to the CSAB the full job description which had been prepared showing the true nature of his work. Secondly, the MoD briefed the Chairman, and then the Deputy Chairman, of the CSAB with information that was not made known to Mr Wallace, to his representative, or to the other members of the Board who sat on his appeal. That they did so, and that the gentleman concerned received the information, was thoroughly reprehensible and should never have happened.

404 These injustices were accepted by David Calcutt QC in his report to the MoD in which he recommended that Mr Wallace be paid £30,000 compensation. We understand that Mr Wallace eventually accepted this amount.

405 We do not regard Mr Wallace as truthful in his accounts of what he knew about sexual abuse in Kincora, or of what he did with that knowledge, between 1972 and 1974. In particular, for the reasons we have given, we do not accept that the critical document of 8 November 1974 was created at that date. [added emphasis]


406 During the Caskey Phase Three investigations MI5 consistently obstructed a proper line of enquiry by their refusal to allow the RUC to interview a retired MI5 officer, and by their refusal to authorise that retired officer to provide a written statement to the RUC answering 30 questions the RUC wished to ask him. We consider these questions were proper and relevant questions to the enquiry being conducted by D/Supt Caskey at that time.

Sir George Terry’s report

407 While the Sussex Police carried out a thorough re-examination of the way the RUC carried out the initial Caskey Phase One investigation into the offences committed by Mains, Semple and McGrath, Sir George Terry was not justified in stating that military sources had been “very frank with me and perfectly open”.

The NIO and the limited Terms of Reference of the Hughes Inquiry

408 The reliance by the NIO on the decision by the DPP that there should be no prosecution, and on Sir George Terry’s Report, as adequate reasons for not setting up an Inquiry with Terms of Reference that would have enabled an investigation of the issues relating to the security agencies was not justified at the time. The decision failed to properly take account of the public disquiet at the time about issues which were deliberately excluded from the Terms of Reference of the Hughes Inquiry.

The steps taken by the Ministry of Defence in 1989 and 1990 to correct incorrect statements

409 The recognition by the MoD in 1989 that incorrect answers may have been given by Ministers to the House of Commons and to others led the MoD to carry out a wide-ranging and detailed investigation to establish the correct position. When the correct position was known, the Ministry took the necessary action to place the correct facts before the House of Commons and to correct the errors that had occurred in the past. It appointed Mr Calcutt QC to consider the injustices suffered by Mr Wallace to which we have already referred. We are satisfied that once the MoD appreciated that incorrect information had been given, and that Mr Wallace had not been treated properly before the CSAB, it acted promptly and properly to establish the correct position, and to ensure that the injustices Mr Wallace suffered in the appeal process were remedied. The injustices were remedied by the payment of £30,000 to him as compensation.

Why the sexual abuse by Mains, Semple and McGrath was not stopped sooner

410 Those residents of Kincora who were sexually abused by Mains, Semple and McGrath were let down by those three individuals who abused their positions of authority and committed numerous acts of sexual abuse of the gravest kind against teenage children in their care while they were living in this hostel. When their conduct was exposed, they were prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to appropriate periods of imprisonment.

411 In our investigations into Kincora the Inquiry examined hundreds of files held by Government and by the Police, MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), the Ministry of Defence and other departments and agencies. We have also examined the police files relating to the earlier investigations that were carried out by the RUC and then by the Sussex Constabulary into what did or did not happen at Kincora. As we explained, those investigations by the RUC and the Sussex Police were extremely thorough and comprehensive. D/Supt Caskey and his officers went to great lengths to identify every possible person who may have been in possession of information that could lead to the identification and possible prosecution of anyone else who had committed a criminal offence of whatever kind relating to Kincora, whether that was sexual abuse or the suppression of evidence.

412 Those investigations did not find, and our Inquiry has not found, any credible evidence to show that there is any basis for the allegations that have been made over the years about the involvement of others in sexual abuse of residents in Kincora, or anything to show that the security agencies were complicit in any form of exploitation of sexual abuse in Kincora for any purpose.

413 The reality of the situation was that it was because of the multitude of failings by officials of the Belfast Welfare Authority, of the Eastern Health and Social Services Board, and by the RUC, that the sexual abuse of residents at Kincora was not stopped earlier, and that those responsible for perpetrating these grave crimes were not brought to justice sooner. [added emphasis]

, , , , , ,

  • Brian Walker

    So who or what what created the flood of murky allegations about Kincora which I never went into at the time? The conclusions about Colin Wallace are noted and they had quite an airing at the time of the McGrath etc trials. How do the conclusions apply to Richard Kerr who said he was trafficked to Dolphin Square, Westminster, a location of other high level abuse allegations? Alas Liam Clarke is no longer with us but Chris Ryder and David McKittrick most certainly are. I’d also like to hear Chris Moore’s reaction to the report, who wrote a book about Kincora. However the post has prompted me to take a deep breath and read the actual report…

  • Brian

    I would suggest the quoted section from the Inquiry report’s findings on William McGrath may be of significance.

    As is this from the Inquiry Chairman’s statement, immediately before the section quoted in the original post.

    The assurances we were given by the Secretary of State, including the assurance that departments and agencies would confirm all relevant documents would be provided to us, have been honoured. We have been able to examine in full every file and every document in every file disclosed to us, or which we requested. We have examined hundreds of files held by the Northern Ireland Office, by the Ministry of Defence, by the Cabinet Office, by the Home Office, by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, by the Security Services, by the Secret Intelligence Service, by the Metropolitan Police, and by the National Crime Agency which had any relevance to Kincora, however slight that relevance turned out to be. We also received full cooperation from the Police Service of Northern Ireland. We examined RUC Special Branch files, as well as the files of five major police investigations relating to Kincora, four of which were carried out by the RUC and one by the Sussex Constabulary. We have also examined the transcripts relating to evidence given in respect of Kincora in the proceedings of the Hughes Inquiry Transcripts which were not previously publicly available.

    The assistance we received from these departments and agencies was in marked contrast to the unwillingness of some individuals who have been vocal in the past about their purported knowledge of sexual abuse relating to Kincora, but when the opportunity was offered to them to assist this Inquiry refused to do so. A number of excuses were offered, including the assertion that the IICSA should carry out the investigation.

    Richard Kerr accepted the Inquiry’s invitation to be a core participant, but pulled out of the public hearings relating to Kincora hours before he was due to fly from the United States at our expense to engage with the Inquiry. His solicitors then issued a lengthy statement on his behalf, most of which rehearsed arguments rejected by the courts in the five unsuccessful judicial reviews brought by their clients against the Inquiry. Brian Gemmell and Roy Garland both refused our invitation to be core participants and provide witness statements. Roy Garland sent a submission to the inquiry in October 2016, more than three months after the public hearings finished, and in November 2016 offered to be interviewed by the Inquiry when it was much too late.

    Between 9 September 2016 and 18 December 2016 Colin Wallace sent the Inquiry 275 pages of letters, submissions and documents, again long after the public hearings had finished. Despite the amount of material he sent, the greater part of which was irrelevant and some of which was positively misleading, as he has consistently done in the past when asked to provide details of his claims about Kincora, Colin Wallace avoided answering the questions the Inquiry had asked him to address.

    Because of the nature of their allegations in the past it was essential that we examine their accounts in order to establish what did or did not occur, and despite their unwillingness to assist in this process we were able to do so because of the volume of material relating to them we were able to gather.

  • Slater

    A Leveson-type inquiry into the veracity of press and TV reporting of Kincora is necessary to ascertain the motive and purpose of the deceit and exaggeration – whether wilful or otherwise – to ensure there is no repetition.
    Without it, the reputation of so many journalists assessed in Judge Hart’s HIA report cannot be defended or protected.
    Those many who have had their reputations scarred by the decades of fake news have finally received a degree of vindication.
    There may be no apologies but the witch-hunting and vilification is surely over.

  • ted hagan

    There is no evidence of a security cover-up on Kincora. And that has to be accepted after this thorough and professional investigation of the case. Unfortunately when one sees words like ‘MI5’, ‘files’ and ‘disclosure’, you can rest assured that conspiracy theorists will never let this one die.

  • Ciaran Caughey


    Although I initially offered to give evidence to the Inquiry, I later decided not to mainly on the grounds that the Government repeatedly refused to give it the same legal powers as the corresponding Inquiry in London. I believe that both the perception and the reality of the Government’s decision is one of unfairness to the victims.

    Despite my decision, I did, however, provide the Inquiry with 265 pages of comment and supporting documents, drawing attention to false or misleading information contained in the transcripts of the public hearings. My reason for doing so was to enable the Inquiry to investigate and corroborate the accuracy of my past comments about Kincora and related matters, and to provide the Inquiry with the opportunity to correct the relevant errors in the its published transcripts.

    None of the information I provided to the Inquiry is new. Although some of it has not previously been in the public domain, it has been in the possession of the Ministry of Defence and other Government agencies for many years and should have been made available by those authorities to the Inquiry. It should also have been made available by the authorities to previous Inquiries and the Government needs to explain why that did not happen.

    Even more worrying, is the acknowledged fact that key Army Intelligence files relating to Tara and William McGrath appear to have gone missing after they were handed over by the Army to MI5 in 1989, prior to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s admission to Parliament (30 January 1990) that Ministers had “inadvertently misled” Parliament about my case. There also appears to be no record whatsoever of what became of all the ‘Clockwork Orange’ project files which I handed over to my superiors when I left Army Headquarters in Lisburn in February 1975. Some of those files related to William McGrath. To make matters worse, it is now clear from the Inquiry’s transcripts that a senior MI5 officer, Ian Cameron, falsely accused me of ‘leaking’ information to the press about William McGrath. His claim was that I did so without authority.

    The MI5 claim is bizarre because, as my Army superior at the time has confirmed in the press, I was officially instructed by my superiors in Psy Ops, at the behest of Major General Peter Leng, to brief the press about McGrath as early as 1973, in a bid to draw media attention to his activities. I have no doubts whatsoever that because General Leng wanted the press to investigate McGrath, he had very good reasons for doing so and deserves credit for what he did.

    It is also significant that MI5 officer who accused me of ‘leaking’ information about McGrath to the press later refused to be interviewed by the Terry Inquiry investigators about why he ordered Army Intelligence officer, Captain Brian Gemmell, to stop investigating William McGrath. Clearly, the Army and MI5 had very different agendas regarding McGrath and his activities.

    The astonishing claim by the authorities, including the Intelligence Services, that they knew nothing about the allegations surrounding McGrath’s sexual activities until 1980 is a total travesty. As my documents clearly show, it is simply not credible that I knew more about McGrath and his activities than the combined Intelligence community did in 1973/74. One must conclude, therefore, that the Intelligence Services did not tell the Inquiry all they knew about McGrath during the 1970s. Indeed, most of the information I possessed about McGrath in 1973/74 came from within the Intelligence community and was quite substantial. Moreover, my 1973 press briefing document clearly contains more information about McGrath than the Intelligence Services have claimed to the Inquiry that they possessed at that time! Finally, to suggest that because I gave the press the exact postal address (including the street number of the property) and telephone number of the Kincora home, but did not actually include the name, ‘Kincora’, somehow invalidates my evidence, is an unacceptable attempt to avoid facing up to what I have been saying over the years. That information also shows that the claim made by the Intelligence Services to the Inquiry that they were not aware until 1980 of where McGrath worked is demonstrably false.

    Overall, I believe the Inquiry has been a wasted opportunity to establish the full facts relating to this matter and I feel the victims have been let down yet again, as they were by previous Inquiries

  • J D


  • SeaanUiNeill

    It depends on who one choses to believe Ted, the sufferers and those whose evidence supports their story, Colin Wallace and Brian Gemmell, or those within the Security Services who have most to gain from the version we are presented with from the Hart enquiry. Both Wallace and Gemmell claim they were compelled to stop investigations from “higher up”, and Sir Anthony Hart does not even begin to explain just why this was so satisfactorly. As Wallace himself states “One must conclude, therefore, that the Intelligence Services did not tell the Inquiry all they knew about McGrath during the 1970s.” This is the very point on which Roy Garland refused to offer evidence, the limited powers the Hart enquirey had to compell evidence. While Hart may have stated that the Security Services and other concerned parties offered every co-operation, such co-operation was entirely on terms controlled by these bodies.

    The entire grey area around what may be have going on regarding the Security Services and the investigation of prominant people’s possible involvement in sexual abuse may have apparently exonerated names recently, but such “findings” remain most suspect for anyone who is not willing to simply credit the bare word of the security services and other agencies that they were not involved in cover up. There have clearly been quite evident instances of very, very suspect activity, such as the “loss” of Geoffery Dickens dossier, which was sent to Leon Brittan, where some of those posing challenges speak of the Security Services agressively warning them off. And regarding “evidence”, there was “no evidence” regarding the cover up of Clement Freud’s actions as an abuser, I’d note, beyond the statements of those who have actually suffered, until the acceptence by Freuds widow of the justice of the claims. Notably, after the close attention given to Saville, Cyril Smith and Rolf Harris, the few days coverage of Freud (someone very well placed in the establishment, whose son was Cameron’s PR man) is itself suspect.

    Regarding the findings of Hart, he has placing great weight on the material he has been given by the Security Services rather than on those who have suffered, and his source in this is well known for being notoriously unwilling to produce incriminating paper trails. And regarding the finality of Hart’s conclusions I would refer you to the findings of the Widgery Tribrunal into “Bloody Sunday” for the assessment of just how readily a “thorough and professional investigation of the case” may be mislead regarding “evidence” which directs them to conclusions which exonerate culpability in a situation which would have embarrassed, to say the very least, the state.

  • file

    Yeah maybe, but still should we go and read the whole report first? Or maybe think that all the rumours around Kincora were so good a story that we WANT to believe it, whether or not it is true?

  • Nevin

    To summarise, those in power protect the institutions that protect them; victims of acts of commission or omission are filed under co-lateral damage.

  • Steptoe

    From a compensation point of view, I think it woulda have been better to recommend a pension for victims, a fixed steady income that will assist in the practical reality of making ends meet whilst living as a survivor is the very least our society can do

  • Skibo

    If ever there was a reason for the UK to pull out of the European Court of Justice, this is it. How could you have an external body outside the control of the British Establishment be allowed to investigate the abuse of young children when the interests of the security of the State are in question. Sarcasm if anyone is interested!

  • Skibo

    Not only that but the disappearance of files. This should have been linked to sex rings in the UK and given the same authority if compel witnesses and evidence and be carried out in public. Only when any semblance of a whitewash be disproved could the conspiracy theorists be silenced.

  • John Collins

    Ah, but high quality sarcasm. This reeks to the high heavens of Widgery.

  • Once more then…

    Between 9 September 2016 and 18 December 2016 Colin Wallace sent the Inquiry 275 pages of letters, submissions and documents, again long after the public hearings had finished. Despite the amount of material he sent, the greater part of which was irrelevant and some of which was positively misleading, as he has consistently done in the past when asked to provide details of his claims about Kincora, Colin Wallace avoided answering the questions the Inquiry had asked him to address.

    At what point are you going to realise that Wallace is a spectacularly unreliable witness?

  • J D

    Believe well known liars when they are lying and we KNOW they are lying?

    Yeah, that you think I am *that* stupid is well, I dunno, ambitious?

  • file

    I do not think about you at all JD, never mind having an opinion on the degree of your stupidity. But I note that you have admitted you do possess some degree or other of stupidity, as do managers of mine who cheerfully declare, ‘I am not completely stupid’ and think they are defending themselves.

  • J D

    Ahhhh there ye are.

  • Nevin

    Adds: Any yarn can be spun from a careful but limited selection of the evidence/opinion available – as any historian knows.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The problem is inherent in the quandary law faces with any attempt to address charges of abuse or rape. In something which frequently comes down to one person’s word against anothers, how can any sound evidence based decision be achieved in legal terms? This has been the strongest weapon in the arsenel of any abuser, and carefully playing the defamation card has allowed Saville, Cyril Smith and many others to simply face down the people they abused until their very deaths. By definition, survivors are often people whose lives have been wrecked by their experiences and are readily cast by able solicitors as poor, quite unreilable witnesses. Despite the fact that at first the investagators of our recent public reaction to the incomprehensible fact that Saville clearly acted with apparent impunity were asked to presuppose veracity in those survivors who finally came forward, the balance of perception has again shifted against the survivors. The old problem of putting a successful, confidant person with “connections” up against someone who may have had earlier vulnerabilities much exacerbated by abuse has ensured that “unreliable” survivors has again become the trope, and the recognition of the potential damage to the careers or reputations of important and successful people is again the weighty factor. I am myself certain that some of those over the water recently “exonerated” are actually considered so on evidence which at best suggests “nonproven” rather than any genuine sense of innocense, but this is enough to ensure their security against the recognition of culpability, as it usually was before the Saville revelations temporarily shifted the balance.

    In the case of Kincora, I am concerned that this underlying trend in changing public perceptions which has accompanied the apparent discrediting of the Dolphin Square revelations and other similar accusations is being employed to suggest that as the Security Services have “given every co-operation”, and accordingly Hart must now be in possession of all the reliable information on the matter. While I can unquestionably understand his response to the evidence trails he has been provided with, and the manner in which such evidence discloses the patterns of particular threads of investigation into the activities of Mains, Semple and McGrath, one comes away from his comments in the Chairman’s Statement with the impression of such a confusion of cross investigation that the activities of other sections of the security services may very well have been going on alongside these more overt investigations, but unremarked. With the number of lost or destroyed files which have been mentioned at various times across the entire period of other elite abuse investigations, I’d believe anyone to be either myopic or naïve who accepts Harts conclusions as anything more than a precis of what the security services have provided him with, rather than a definitive account of absolutely everything which occured. With the impossibility of genuinely getting to the heart of matters publically on any national security issue, for me the jury is inevitably still out.

  • Nevin

    Seaan, this isn’t a topic I’ve looked into. However, in relation to other issues of governance, it’s been clear to me that some in authority will blatantly lie and agencies at state, regional and local level will spend whatever it takes of our money to cover-up their failings.

  • Granni Trixie

    I so agree,

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While we may occasionally disagree on particular details, we seem to be very much on the same page on this. A refusal to simply swallow those stories we are offered without full examination is the finest part of that dissenter tradition we have both inherited here.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I am very familiar with the situation in England through many media friends who are survivors of elite targeting in political and media circles, and particularly throught one family member targeted when a Young Liberal by the odious Cyril Smith. As a nice boy who was clearly “haute bourgeoisie” with family contacts, he felt empowered enough to complain to the party itself, only to find himself expelled, with warnings of private defamation actions and some considerable pressure put on his family to shut him up by the very contacts he had thought might support him.

  • Nevin

    Seaan, sadly it cuts two ways. “I’m not inclined to believe you” is a response I got from quite a well known member of the Unionist family when I provided some simple outline details of the actions of two Irish civil servants based in Belfast. It didn’t fit the narrative so was rejected out-of-hand!

  • Granni Trixie

    I think the case you refer to is one I read about. Though I’m not Lib Dem fan myself I remember being quite shocked at the party’s apparent lack of appropriate procedures or action.

    You may be interested to google the name Morris Fraser, a doctor connected to cases in Belfast,London and elsewhere. The psni invoked “national security” as the reason for not answering an FOI request concerning what they knew of him.

    For some reason he continued with molesting for years and is one of the people referred to by the victim/survivor now living in the states and to whom the Judge refers in relation to Kincora.

    Victims and survivors seem happy enough with how the Hart Enquiry has been conducted but until I know more as far as I’m concerned the jury is still out as regards Kincora.
    You may also be interested to know that the children’s home in which I spent many years (with a sibling in the laundry next door) has but a handful of accusations against it in the report. I expected this as although ofcourse it was not a place one would have chosen there was not the culture of cruelty in my experience which seems to have been the case in other institutions. So all orders of nuns are not the same!

  • Slater

    A fair number of the stories Kerr told about Fraser are demolished in the report. And none are confirmed. Why the medical authorities were so lenient on Fraser (30-odd years ago) is another matter outwith Hart. But as I recall, he ended up in court three times so the authorities were not entirely on his side.
    (Have you a reference for the PSNI refusing the FOI request?)
    Leon Brittan and others accused of murdering children in Dolphin Square by the media have just had their reputations retrieved by the Met, sadly in his case posthumously.
    You say the “jury is still out as regards Kincora” despite expenditure of £15m. in Northern Ireland.
    Judge Hart has severely criticised a host of people in authority who failed to do their job properly. But the era of fake Kincora news is hopefully ending.
    It would be best if those without evidence of anything criminal hung up their boots. There is no more can, or needs to, be done.

  • Granni Trixie

    Worth looking at a piece by Liam Clarke (may he rest in peace) in Bel Tel 6/8/2014. He makes reference to someone whom I rate v highly, Roy Garland. Yes,when in Tara he was close to McGrath but he saw the error of his ways,big time. In the article LC reports that Garland and two others passed on info about abuse to Brian Gemmel which was to be passed on to senior MI5 officer. Authorities refused to investigate.
    LC also refers to the Terry and Hughes government enquiries to point out that they reached conclusions without interviewing some people they ought to have interviewed.

    The Independent 11/July/2015 reported that the psni would not confirm nor deny that it held information on MF. Alongside privacy and prejudicial disclosure issues it cited section 23(s) – info supplied by or concerning national security.

    Technically I cannot transfer links but I’m sure this is sufficient for you to follow up should you wish. I think it wise to hold fire in further discussion until I manage to see more of the Hart report. However at this point and after following this story for many years I think it is fair enough to say that the jury is still out. …for me.

  • John Collins

    72 Derry.

  • Granni

    Sceptical, not cynical.

    You’re on the wrong side of that line at the minute.

    Seaan’s on the outer reaches of reality on this topic.

    Read the report first. Not what some journalists may have reported someone else saying some time ago.

  • Once more then…

    Between 9 September 2016 and 18 December 2016 Colin Wallace sent the Inquiry 275 pages of letters, submissions and documents, again long after the public hearings had finished. Despite the amount of material he sent, the greater part of which was irrelevant and some of which was positively misleading, as he has consistently done in the past when asked to provide details of his claims about Kincora, Colin Wallace avoided answering the questions the Inquiry had asked him to address.

    At what point are you going to realise that Wallace is a spectacularly unreliable witness?

  • Sceptical not cynical, Granni.

  • Lex.Butler

    Having met McGrath, the description fits my memories. He joined myself and a friend (who knew him) in a Belfast bar and went on at length about his friendship with Big Ian and how he could take on the security forces (blah blah blah). Coming from a communist background I was not impressed but did invite us to a party. I asked him how many girls where going and answer was their none…

  • Granni Trixie

    Yes, I thought that too. I can only imagine Hart arrived at this recommendation after listening to survivors wish list and costings.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Pete, I’ve already read Hunt’s comments on this and have come to my own conclusions. I’m very much coming from a genuine personal experience of the still unfolding attempt to unravel a deeply ingrained and very widespread culture of abuse over the water, and the cynical expliotation of any knowledge of such abuse through networks where favours are traded by those not directly involved. While working in media in Britain I met many others, quite a few of them survivors of abuse, who would similarly have been considered as utterly “unreliable witnesses”, and whose genuine attempts to draw attention to Saville, Smith and many others was rejected when their lack of personal credibility was fully exploited to supress genuine concerns. The activities of media and elite paedophiles was just as well known across the Soho media world as the involvement of the security services in the Kincora scandal has been here, with the inevitable slurs of “conspiricy theory” and “witness unreliability” deployed to scare respectable and level headed people away from even entertaining the possibility that well known people in the public eye could engege in such activities. The incredibility of such alligations set alongside the unreliability of witnesses was drearily an inevitable trope of any abuse situation and something which is perennially going to be played to the hilt by those wishing to keep such things under wraps, for whatever reason.

    The main point I’d make is that what Hunt says about the co-operation of “all involved bodies” in this situation does not in any way preclude more covert activity by the security services, which entirely chimes with the demand both Wallace and to end investigative activity. It’s not as if the security services are actually going to offer an investigation without teeth real access to any genuinely incriminating files, is it? As an historical researcher I’m well aware of the problems perfectly credible fellow historians such as Angus Mitchell have encountered in attempting to examine what actually occured even a century ago with the Security Service’s disclosure of Sir Roger Casement’s “Black Diaries”, in situations his research conflicts with that consensus agreed after the cursory examination of one or two pages covered with pink preservative fluid as described in the Giles Report. ‘As late as July 2015 the UK National Archives ambiguously described the Black Diaries as “attributed to Roger Casement”.’

    For me, the actual nature of what went on at Kincora is still very open to further examination. I take it you have yourself read and asssessed Wallace, and are not simply taking Hunt’s word regarding his credibility? I know I have.

  • John Collins

    Come on Ted. Files go missing in a contentious case like this and people are supposed to blissfully ignore it.

  • John Collins

    How can an apparently intelligent man accept this report hook, line and sinker, when part of the relevant files have so conveniently disappeared?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Granni. I have heard of other “warnings off” also conducted under the suggestion that some national security issue was at stake. I’d certainly agrere, from waht I’ve read, that Hunt has done a fine job for most of what he has examined, but Kincora was alawys going to be a hot potatoe and the documentary evidence of a number of investigations acrried out by particular agencise simply does not look like a total summation of all that was going on to me. There are simply too many loose ends such as the one you mention.

    The fact that institutions function normally in most respects and that abuse is sometimes going on alongside such normality quite privately offers perfect cover for the abusers who can point to the evident normality of their general situation. Anyone familiar with the manner in which such things develop knows this, and to my mind the activities of the security services usually seem to follow similar patterns of covert behaviour, a pattern encoded by the requirements of absolute secrecy pervading both activities.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Slater, Leon Brittan clearly supressed the Geoffery Dickens dossier, something the late Barbara Cartland was very claer about, and his apparent role in supressing any investigation into elite abuse must stink to high heaven to anyone fully appraised of the situation. Absolute proof regarding the accusations about Brittan himself was always going to be quite impossible, and the harm which the revelations could do to the memory of other important people politically involved with him was always going to be a serious problem for many others. What has occured is in fact a “nonproven” situation, where Brittan has not actually been cleared in any meaningful sense, but the accusations have been deemed “legally unsafe”.

    I know the media simplify and generalise such things, but for any person who has taken the trouble to genuinely examine what has been going on, Brittan has not had his “reputation retrieved”. What actually occured was that:

    “Hogan-Howe met Diana Brittan to apologise for the delay in telling her that her husband would not have been charged with rape, had he still been alive.”

    He was appologising for the delay in informing the family that the standard of evidence available could not come up to prosecution standards, a very, very common situation where abuse or rape cases are being investigated, and one which challenged abusers will always exploit to the hilt in attempting to affirm their innocence.

    “It would be best if those without evidence of anything criminal hung up their boots.” This mendacious trope is what abusers such as Saville and Smith have been facing down their victims with over decades, using a legal culture which is demanding very high standards of proof to hide behind. The struggle to re-balance such enquiries in order to address the particular problems which abuse and rape issues pose for our legal system is still ungoing, for such things are very far from the simplistic black and white situation your comment suggests.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Read the report first. Not what some journalists may have reported someone else saying some time ago.”

    Yes, Pete, read the report, but critically and analytically, and don’t simply “see” those parts which support the Hart conclusions. Above all look for what is being apparently evaded.

    “Seaan’s on the outer reaches of reality on this topic.”

    That might require rather more unpacking, as the bald affirmation hardly “answers” anything meaningfully. With thirty years and more socially mixing with a number of silenced survivors who were also on the “outer reaches” for those electing to believe their abusers narratives, Pete, I’m well aware that I’m probably just as “far out” as those people attempting to out Saville, and others before the revelations actually broke. As William S. Burroughs said in 1970 “A paranoid man is a man who knows a little about what’s going on.”

    A close reading of the report on my part is raising far, far more questions than Hart’s comments even begin to answer. There appears to be a lot more still buried, perhaps perminently. Time will tell, perhaps.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As I’m finding with Pete Baker’s responses to my comments.

    But remmeber I’d added the cavaet “full examination” to my dissenter scepticism, I’d not count simple blanket rejection “sight unseen” in this.

  • Nevin

    Seaan, it’s a foolish man or woman who swallows a government sponsored ‘independent’ report whole! Lesser mortals and whistle-blowers can expect to be bad-mouthed and minor state agents and decommissioned agencies scapegoated.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Slater, the mess of partial and even superficial investigations which the files passed to Hart reveal are hardly grounds for pillorying a press reportage for taking the Kincora survivors accounts more seriously than Hart and the investigation appears to have done.

    As I have pointed out once before, an absence of strong evidence is a characteristic of abuse enquiries, something which was finally recognised in the wake of teh Saville disclosures, when the police were rqeuested to pre-suppose belief of the survivors stories. Such “evidence” while genuine and sound was never going to stand the rigerous testing of current guidelines on the requirements of a successful prosecution, and you appear to be simply reverting to the tropes of another section of the media with your employment of partisan terms such as “witch-hunting and vilification”, such terms flagging the recognised first line of defense of perpetrators across some decades now.

    We need a continuing serious debate on issues of abuse and rape which does not revert, as your final comments do, to the crude vilification of those couragious people who have now come forward after having already been long silenced by a culture which has championed the “side” of those successful and publically lauded people who have unscrupuliously employed the contacts accessable through their prominant positions to stop any meaningful challenge by those they may have abused. It is of note that police apologies you are relying on here are usually about a failure to reach a standard of strong evidence, and are not in any meaningful sense an exoneration of those accused. To my mind, the Kincora evidence offered to Hart for the HIA inquiry simply suggests that old trope of an authority perhaps making available “safe” documents.

    You may access the full report on line, with a single link to those chapters on Kincora itself:


    I am still reading through the material, but as yet find nothing to convince me, despite the immense amount of detail, that this is somehow a final and definitive picture.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Indeed Brian, and even regarding Wallace, the full report has instances of the intreguing fact that his credit only appears to have been called into question after he began to speak more openly with journalists. He is described by Peter Brodrick, head of the Army Information Service in the early 1970s so:

    “Though on the staff of public relations, he was used by Information Policy as their outlet to the press He also had knowledge of the Irish situation which was totally unique in the Headquarters and surpassed that even of most of the Intelligence Branch As time progressed, he was not only the main briefer of the press, but also the advisor on Irish matters to the whole Headquarters and – because of his personal talents – contributed much creative thought to the Information Policy Unit In order to do his job he had constant and free access to information of high classification and extreme sensitivity.” [Report/Vol.9″Kincora Boys Home” Pt 2/Section 321].

    It is most intereseting that such positive apprasalsare then spun to suggset hsi unreliability through the very involvement in Black Ops which alerted him as to hao information was being manipulated.

    I’m finding Pete’s failure to answer any points with his own appreciation of material, and his steady reliance on the words of the Inquiry Chairman’s Statement frustratingly evasive. Of course he has every right to credit the Inquiry conclusions, but I would be happier if there was any evidence he was critically assessing the full report and recognised some of the questions which it still leavse unanswered rather than simply parroting generalsied points from the statement.