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MI5 and MI6 security chiefs deny cover-up at Kincora

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 02/06/2016

Jailed: house master William McGrath
Jailed: house master William McGrath

Security chiefs at MI5 and MI6 have told a public inquiry there is no evidence they knew about or covered up child abuse at the former Kincora boys' home.

The Ministry of Defence has also rejected allegations that its staff deliberately withheld information about illegal activities at the east Belfast facility and used it as part of a propaganda operation, the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) has heard.

In a statement, a senior MI6 manager, known only as Officer A, said a review of documents had found nothing to substantiate persistent claims of state-sponsored child prostitution and blackmail.

He said: "I have seen nothing to indicate any involvement on the part of Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) officers in abuse at the Kincora boys' home or in any attempts to cover it up.

"SIS does not exploit children or vulnerable adults for operational purposes nor tolerate their abuse by the staff or those that work in their behalf or in their support, including SIS agents."

It has long been alleged that a high-ranking paedophile ring preyed on vulnerable teenage boys at Kincora during the 1970s.

It is further claimed that the UK 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.

In 1981, three senior care workers at Kincora - warden Joseph Mains, deputy warden Raymond Semple and house master William McGrath - were jailed for abusing boys.

MI5 also failed to find any papers to indicate McGrath was allowed to continue the abuse.

"There's nothing amongst them to indicate that MI5 was aware of or suspected his involvement in child sexual exploitation at Kincora or that such abuse was permitted, condoned or encouraged in order to further any MI5 plan," the statement added.

Barrister Joseph Aiken, counsel for the HIA, said the team had received full co-operation and was given unrestricted access to previously top secret files.

The inquiry continues.

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