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

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

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."

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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.

Background

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.

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