Belfast Telegraph

Kincora: Army ferried 'top MI5 officer' to two meetings at boys' home

Kincora Boys’ Home, which is at the centre of the abuse inquiry
Kincora Boys’ Home, which is at the centre of the abuse inquiry

A former intelligence officer has revealed that a senior civilian was driven by the Army to Kincora Boys' Home on visits at the height of the child sex abuse scandal there in the 1970s.

Brian Gemmell left Belfast as a captain in Military Intelligence in 1976. Last August he volunteered, through an article in the Belfast Telegraph, to help the Hart Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) or any other body investigating the Kincora scandal.

Speaking last week, Mr Gemmell told us he had not yet heard from the HIA.

He said: "One soldier who worked for me told me after I left that he drove a civilian, who he now thinks was MI5 but never identified himself, from HQNI to a meeting in Kincora. He did it a couple of times."

He went on: "My intelligence NCO (non-commissioned officer) drove him to Kincora and he was inside for half-an-hour and then he drove him back. I am prepared to give the inquiry the name of the driver." He added: "It didn't really impact him that significantly at the time sitting outside in the car.

"He still has some papers on Kincora, too, so I think he could be useful.

"It was only that when things heated up about the whole Kincora issue that it struck him as odd, but being a good intelligence man he shut up and said nothing publicly."

Mr Gemmell added: "I suspect that they won't call me because this is too hot to handle. There will be efforts by the authorities to avoid me being called."

The former officer has previously accused Ian Cameron, an MI5 veteran of Cold War Berlin who worked here, of warning him off investigating Kincora.

This allegedly happened after he passed on information from Roy Garland and others.

Mr Garland, now a commentator and historian, was then a private in the Ulster Defence Regiment as well as being second-in-command of Tara, a paramilitary group headed by William McGrath, the Kincora housefather.

He has told the Belfast Telegraph that McGrath had been abusing boys since the 1940s when he ran Faith House, a semi-residential Bible study centre and mission base, and was boasting of his intelligence contacts.

He had reputedly been recruited while smuggling Bibles into Russia. Mr Gemmell feels that senior people knew about child abuse in Kincora and elsewhere.

He suspects that sexual abuse and other scandals were used partly as a means to control and recruit agents through blackmail and corruption.


Three staff from Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast were jailed for sexual abuse of children. The abuse occurred in the 1970s and they were convicted in the early 1980s. At least one, the housefather William McGrath, was an agent/informant for MI5, which valued him because he had influential connections within both unionism and the Orange Order.

Further reading

Sex assault Tory MP visited Kincora boys' home, claim retired detectives

Operation DeathEaters: Anonymous calls for activists to help expose international paedophile networks 

Case must be included in UK probe, says lawyer

Kincora: Amnesty welcomes move not to prosecute witnesses

Kincora: Let the inquiry chairman do his job

Kincora Boy's Home: Inquiry is a betrayal of the abused

MI5 officers 'won't give evidence' in Kincora sex abuse probe

Kincora probe detectives had to ask Ian Paisley if he was gay

Kincora: MP Keith Vaz backs call for east Belfast home to be included in UK-wide inquiry

Kincora: MI5 knew about it but did nothing, that much is certain 

Full story of Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast yet to be told, says child sex abuse victim

Kincora: Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt joins calls for inquiry into abuse at boys' home

Baroness's brother 'tried to limit probe into Kincora'

Kincora: MI5 'must hand over files on abuse at east Belfast boys' home' 

Editor's viewpoint: We must know truth of Kincora

Child abuse inquiry must look at Kincora Boys' Home, says Amnesty International

MI5 'blocked exposure of Kincora sex abuse scandal'

Kincora Boy's Home scandal: South African intelligence 'secretly backed loyalist paramilitary group Tara'

Kincora Boys' Home scandal: journalist Peter McKenna dies

State papers: The perjury that allowed Kincora suspect preacher to walk

Westminster’s dark secret: abuse of children, adultery, homosexuality and sadomasochism were all seemingly lumped together

Civil servant Mark Sedwill admits Home Office ‘probably’ destroyed paedophile dossiers 

Westminster child abuse dossier: Geoffrey Dickens also gave copy of file to top prosecutor Sir Thomas Hetherington - so why did DPP fail to act on evidence of paedophile ring? 

Historic child abuse files missing

Tory peer Lord Brittan defends handling of 1980s sex abuse dossier

Abuse claims police matter - Clegg

Abuse probe 'into soul of society'

From the archives

Kincora: Sex racket at children's home (Irish Independent, 1980)

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