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Documents prove the RUC were told about Kincora. What does the former PSNI-MI5 liaison officer Drew Harris, now Garda Commissioner, have to say?

By Joseph de Burca.

1. Moloney and Kinchin-White

When the Kincora Boys’ Home child abuse scandal first broke, Ed Moloney was one of a number of journalists who reported details about it in the press. Now, Moloney and James Kinchin-White have teamed up to shine a light on the role of the RUC in the scandal. Details and copies of a number of RUC documents which expose their knowledge of the scandal can be found in an article on Moloney’s blog via this link:

Leo Varadkar and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

Moloney and Kinchin-White prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the RUC were told about Kincora in the 1970s, long before the scandal broke in January 1980 in the Irish Independent in the Republic.

Moloney and Kinchin-White prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the RUC were told about Kincora in the 1970s, long before he scandal broke in January 1980 in the Irish Independent in the Republic.

2. The RUC and Roy Garland

The RUC documents highlighted by Moloney and Kinchin-White include a summary of a report submitted by Roy Garland to the force. Garland was a former associate of William McGrath, one of the Kincora offenders. Garland was horrified at what he discovered McGrath was doing at Kincora and elsewhere. He wanted to end the abuse at the home and quite literally risked his life to help the abuse victims. One of the Kincora abusers, William McGrath, asked Davey Payne of the UDA to assassinate him. McGrath was the leader of a Loyalist paramilitary group called Tara, and knew many of the key players in the UDA including Payne.

Davey Payne, sadist and UDA serial killer. He was asked to kill Roy Garland. The man who made the request was William McGrath, the ‘housefather’ at Kincora.

Ed Moloney is all too familiar with the name Davey Payne. In 1982 the Official IRA tried to get Payne to murder Moloney. Their motive was to conceal building site protection rackets they were running in the North from the public. The Official IRA and the UDA had entered into a secret pact to exploit building sites in different parts of Belfast. Payne was one of the links between the two organisations. His role was to ensure the arrangement ran smoothly. Moloney had written an expose about the rackets for the Irish Times. Someone working for the Irish Times spiked the article and then delivered it to the Official IRA who were alarmed and enraged. See The Official IRA planned the murders of journalists Ed Moloney and Vincent Browne.

Roy Garland, a brave man who risked his life to help the residents at Kincora. The RUC failed to act on the information he gave them.

3. Drew Harris

It will be fascinating to see if Garda Commissioner Drew Harris comments on the RUC documents (posted on Moloney’s blog). Harris worked closely with MI5 while he was in the RUC. The vice ring which preyed on the unfortunate residents at Kincora was monitored by MI5. Harris had nothing to do with any of this – it happened long before his time – but he may have heard something about what is in the files especially as the Hart Inquiry interviewed former RUC officers and looked at the RUC files on the Kincora scandal. The issue must have been of intense interest to the force and those concerned about its reputation. Hart published his report in 2017.

Incredibly, despite possession of these files, the Hart Inquiry concluded that the only people involved in the scandal were the three staff members who were convicted of child abuse in 1981: William McGrath, Joe Mains and Raymond Semple.

It has been rumoured for decades that RUC officers with knowledge of the vice ring which swirled around Kincora kept a file on it lest MI5, the Northern Ireland Office and/or anyone in Whitehall or Westminster ever attempt to throw them to the wolves for colluding with Loyalist terrorists or any of the other crimes committed by the RUC. Aside from monitoring the members of the vice ring – such as James Molyneaux, the Leader of the Official Unionist Party – top civil servants such as Peter England at the NIO abused boys trapped in the vice ring. The scandal is a scab that London is still deeply fearful of scratching. Many reputations will be destroyed when the full facts about it finally emerge. They will include (a) those involved in the abuse of the children (b) those who monitored and blackmailed the perpetrators and (c) the police, politicians and civil servants who have covered it up for decades. The latter group includes an array of senior NIO and MI5 officials, many of whom are still alive.

4. Crimes Committed in the Republic

All of this is of interest to the Republic because Kincora boys were brought across the border in the 1960s and 1970s to Sligo, Birr Castle and Glenveagh in County Donegal for abuse. The 1984 Hughes Inquiry into Kincora also reported on the case of a boy trafficked to a cinema in Dublin. See also: The Anglo-Irish Vice Ring. Chapters 1 – 3.

The issue of RUC files has become a running sore between Dublin, London and Belfast. The most septic wound relates to RUC agents in the UDA who were involved in the – still unsolved – murder of 33 people during the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in May of 1974.

After he was appointed as Garda Commissioner, Harris denied having information that could shed new light on the bombings, stating that he would be ‘duty-bound’ to report it if he did. ‘The general point is, if we had information which suggested wrongdoing, that would have been required by the [North’s] Police Ombudsman,’ he told Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio 1. He added: ‘The overarching duty to prevent and detect crime also remained. If we had information which pertained to atrocities or crimes here in the rest of Ireland, then we are also bound to share that.’

Drew Harris

No doubt Commissioner Harris, who worked closely with MI5 while he was serving with the RUC and later, PSNI, would denounce and castigate any of his former colleagues with knowledge of a cover-up of the Kincora scandal, not to mention collusion with the UDA; especially, the RUC agents involved in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. By any yardstick, any of them with such knowledge who yet continue to conceal it, are a disgrace to their uniforms. Hence, it will be interesting to see if Harris comments on the materials now published on the Broken Elbow website. Specifically, will he let us known what he thinks of the RUC’s failure to protect the boys caught up in the vice ring that surrounded Kincora based on what he reads in the RUC’s own documents?

5. The Cars Logged by the Gardai at Classiebawn

Meanwhile, the Gardai continue to keep secret the logs they made of visitors to Lord Louis Mountbatten at Classiebawn Castle. They are being sought by Mountbatten’s biographer, Andrew Lownie. He has asked for the registration numbers of the cars which visited the castle in August 1977. He wants to see if Joseph Mains was among them. (Everyone knows he was – Lownie just wants the proof from the Gardai as the logs would finally force the British Establishment to admit the truth.) Mains was the Warden of Kincora. He has been accused of trafficking boys to Mountbatten. The excuse the Gardai have given for the retention of the logs makes no sense. They say that the records sought by Lownie are part of an ongoing murder inquiry. Yet, Lownie merely seeks the records for August 1977. Mountbatten was not murdered until 1979. The attack on his boat was perpetrated by the Provisional IRA. The Gardai cannot seriously expect us to believe that anyone Mountbatten welcomed to Classiebawn Castle had links to the Provos who went on to blow up his boat a full two years later. See: SECOND UPDATE: Kincora boy abused by Mountbatten committed suicide months later

6. Richard Kerr’s High Court action

Meanwhile, the Kincora scandal refuses to go away. Richard Kerr, a former resident at the home, will be bringing his case before the High Court in Belfast later this year.

Richard Kerr

7. The Broken Elbow Blog

Village readers interested in the Troubles should note that Moloney and Kinchin-White have teamed up with each other before, most notably in a series of reports about Brigadier Frank Kitson’s Mobile Reaction Force (MRF). Those articles can also be found on the Broken Elbow blog along with a wealth of material on the Dirty War in Ireland during the Troubles.

Moloney has also written a series of highly regarded books on the Troubles.