Inquiry seeks to establish was there British state collusion in sex abuse at Kincora

Claim that children in boys’ home were abused and prostituted to facilitate security services to be investigated

The North's Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry yesterday began investigating the "extraordinary allegations" that elements of the British state colluded in the abuse of children at Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast.

The inquiry, among a number of matters, is trying to determine whether there is any truth to allegations that elements of the British secret services facilitated a paedophile ring at the boys’ home during the first decade or so of the Troubles.


It is claimed that up to 30 boys were abused at the home between the late 1950s and early 1980s. In 1981 three senior staff – William McGrath,

Raymond Semple



Joseph Mains

– were imprisoned for abusing 11 boys.

McGrath also was involved with a quasi-paramilitary loyalist organisation called Tara.

The inquiry heard yesterday that he also provided information to British military intelligence and was viewed as “devious but useful”.

The inquiry is investigating allegations that organisations such as MI5 and/or MI6 may have facilitated the abuse for blackmail purposes during the Troubles.

Junior counsel to the inquiry, Joseph Aiken, said that the inquiry would also examine allegations that the late former head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield, abused boys at Kincora.

Mr Oldfield was sent to Northern Ireland in 1970 to co-ordinate security and intelligence operations.


More generally the inquiry is investigating whether the security services exploited Kincora to blackmail politicians, business people, lawyers, senior police officers and others who allegedly abused children at Kincora.

Mr Aiken said it was important to either substantiate the “extraordinary allegations” surrounding Kincora or prove they were wrong and allay public concerns about state collusion.

Mr Aiken said the inquiry was seeking to establish if elements of the British state “deliberately” and “cynically” facilitated the “abuse of children” at Kincora.

Mr Aiken said that 26 boxes of previously “secret” police material relating to Kincora have been declassified and made available to the inquiry.

He said the scope of the inquiry was “enormous”.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times