By Joseph de Burca
The cover-up of Lord Louis Mountbatten’s sexual abuse of children has left a trail of death and destruction.
This article has been updated to include more information about John McKeague’s activities as an MI5 agent.
The British Establishment persists in covering up the crimes of an Anglo-Irish child rape network. Lord Mountbatten was its most high-profile member. Some of the other abusers are still alive. No-one in authority in the UK is interested in bringing them to book.
In recent times the cover-up has involved a clampdown on the release of MI5 and MI6 files on the vice ring. These files should have been furnished to the Hart Inquiry in Northern Ireland in 2016 and the ongoing Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in London.
The file on John McKeague, a Loyalist terrorist, has been suppressed. He was shot dead by British agents in the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in 1982 after he had threatened to reveal what he knew about the Kincora Boys’ Home child abuse scandal. He undoubtedly knew of Mountbatten’s involvement in the abuse. The murder has never been solved although the names of the two assassins are known in journalistic circles.
In addition, files emanating from Belfast’s child welfare departments are being withheld from Britain’s National Archive.
The latest phase of the cover-up is being carried out with the de facto connivance of An Garda Síochána, the police force of the Republic of Ireland. It has declined to release crucial logs of visitors and cars to Mountbatten’s castle in County Sligo in the Republic. They could help establish that Mountbatten abused three boys at it. An Garda Síochána is currently commanded by Drew Harris, a former RUC Special Branch officer. While he was in the RUC and PSNI, Harris was responsible for the suppression of incendiary files about British State collusion with Loyalist terrorists such as McKeague.
1. THE SORDID TRUTH ABOUT MOUNTBATTEN
In 2019 Andrew Lownie’s published ‘The Mountbattens: their Lives and Loves’, which drew the attention of the world to Mountbatten’s sexual abuse of teenage boys at Classiebawn, his castle at Mullaghmore, County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland.
Lownie’s research also unearthed a number of FBI files which revealed that the Royal had been gripped by “a lust for young boys”, and that his former chauffeur, Ron Perks, often drove him to “an upmarket gay brothel used by senior naval officers” called the Red House near Rabat in Malta while he was serving in the Royal Navy.
Village revealed further details: namely that Joseph Mains, the Warden of Kincora, was responsible for trafficking the boys to Mountbatten at Classiebawn.
One of Mountbatten’s victims was 16 when he was abused. He is referred to as ‘Amal’ in Andrew Lownie’s bestselling book. Amal described how he “remembers being brought to Mullaghmore during the summer of 1977”. ‘Amal’ says he met Mountbatten four times that summer on a day trip from Belfast. Each time the encounter, lasting an hour, took place in a suite at a hotel by the harbour about 15 minutes from Classiebawn. ‘Amal’ remembered:
“He was very polite, very nice. I knew he was someone important. He asked if I wanted a drink or candy. He told me he liked dark-skinned people especially Sri Lankan people as they were very friendly and very good-looking. I remember he admired my smooth skin. We gave each other oral sex in a 69 position. He was very tender and I felt comfortable about it. It seemed very natural. I know that several other boys from Kincora were brought to him on other occasions”.
2. MOUNTBATTEN’S CONNECTIONS TO PORTORA ROYAL SCHOOL AND BIRR CASTLE, COUNTY OFFALY
New information about Mountbatten’s abuse of boys in Ireland continues to emerge. Peter Montgomery, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, was also part of the network which procured boys for Mountbatten. He lured some of them from Portora Royal School in Fermanagh. Montgomery also had access to boys at Williamson House in Belfast. Eric Witchell, another member of the vice ring, was in charge of Williamson House. Witchell is alive and living in London. The boys from Williamson House were brutalised and transformed into sexual playthings for the vice ring. Anal rape commenced at the home when the boys – orphans and abandoned underprivileged children – were as young as eight. A number of these victims later committed suicide.
The boys from Williamson House were brutalised and transformed into sexual playthings for the vice ring. Anal rape commenced at the home when the boys – orphans and abandoned working class children – were as young as eight. A number of these victims later committed suicide.
It is also believed that Mountbatten’s assistant, Peter Murphy, procured boys for him from Portora. Incredible as it may seem, the FBI was interested in Murphy whom they believed was a Marxist. They were not only suspicious of him but also Mountbatten as the latter had access to NATO naval secrets. Hence, they kept the files on him which author Andrew Lownie uncovered.
Robin Bryans, the Kincora whistleblower, wrote about Murphy’s closeness to Mountbatten in his book ‘The Dust Has Never Settled’. He made no bones about the fact Murphy was a lustful paedophile, stating that he and an Irishman called Alan Price “looked for more than Portora schoolboys to lure to their beds”.
In a series of letter Bryans put into circulation in the 1980s (the then equivalent of tweeting), Bryans revealed that Alan Price was part of Mountbatten’s circle in Ireland as was Sir Anthony Blunt, the Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures (and a member of the infamous Cambridge Ring of traitors). Yet another friend was Lord Rosse who owned Birr Castle in County Offaly in the Republic of Ireland. In a letter dated 3 November 1989, Bryans gave a snap shot of the type of events that took place when Lords Mountbatten and Rosse got together with the likes of Blunt and Price. The relevant sentence read as follows: “Any of the old snapshots at Birr Castle showing the late Lord Rosse getting Alan Price to flash his codpiece for Lord Mountbatten and Anthony Blunt are unlikely to be published”.
Joseph Mains trafficked boys from Kincora to Birr Castle. They included Richard Kerr who had first been raped in the middle of the night as he clung to a toy in his bed at Williamson House.
The ongoing London Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse led by Professor Alexis Jay has so far displayed no interest in any of this.
It is now virtually impossible to get copies of Bryans’ books. Persons unknown have even gone to the trouble of removing them from libraries throughout the UK, including copywrite libraries.
3. FELONS AND WHISTLEBLOWERS
The ring of which Mountbatten was a part was shielded by MI6 (attached to the Foreign Office) and MI5 (attached to the Home Office). There were – and continue to be – a number of reasons for this.
The first is obvious: deference to a Royal who they placed above the law. With the Royal family still dealing with the Prince Andrew-Jeffrey Epstein scandal, any official acknowledgement of Mountbatten’s crimes and the fact the Establishment covered them up, could yet stretch the patience of a wary British public beyond breaking point.
A second reason is that MI5 and MI6 were able to exploit the NI branch of the Anglo-Irish ring to amass information about a cluster of Loyalist politicians and paramilitaries who were child abusers so they could discredit or blackmail them. They included James Molyneaux MP, the Leader of the Official Unionist Party who was later appointed to the House of Lords. Another target was a senior figure in the DUP who had a habit of taking his fury out on his wife by beating her up. The ‘Wife Beater’ is still alive and enjoys an influential position within the DUP.
In addition, senior Establishment figures exploited the ring for their own vile pleasure. They included Peter England, a senior official who had been transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and John Imrie of MI5 who masqueraded as a NIO civil servant in Belfast. Together they rendered the NIO the type of place where an honest visitor would have been well advised to have wiped the soles of his or her shoes on the way out of the building.
The cover-up also served the interests of intelligence mandarins such as Sir Maurice Oldfield of MI6 as he was an abuser of rent boys and – according to records furnished by MI6 to the Hart Inquiry – a friend of Joseph Mains, the Warden of Kincora. It was Mains who ferried the three Kincora boys to Mountbatten. Oldfield served as Deputy Chief of MI6, 1965-1973, and Chief, 1973-78, after which he was appointed by Margaret Thatcher as intelligence supremo to NI in 1979. He was investigated by MI5 for his sexual behaviour in 1980 and suspended from his NI post to establish if he had been compromised by the Soviets. He died the following year. Oldfield’s reputed deputy chief, Sir Peter Hayman was a convicted sex offender. The man who appointed Oldfield as MI6 Chief was PM Ted Heath, another paedophile.
The abuse of the children in care in Northern Ireland might have continued for decades – perhaps even to this day were it not for the press in the Republic of Ireland. What finally put an end to the abuse at Kincora was the intervention of two courageous female social workers at the end of the 1970s who blew the whistle on what was going on. They were responsible for the care of Richard Kerr, a resident of Kincora. They leaked the sordid truth to the Irish Independent.
Sadly, the Jeffrey Epstein-Prince Andrew scandal demonstrates that transatlantic child trafficking took place over the next few Royal participation.
There were also a number of people inside the intelligence community who were sickened by what was taking place and helped the media unravel further details. They included Colin Wallace, a PYSOPS officer stationed at British Army HQ NI at Lisburn. He knew that William McGrath, the Housefather at Kincora, was a child rapist and that children were being exploited by the vice ring across NI. Captain Brian Gemmell (military intelligence) and General Peter Leng (British Army) also tried to put a halt to McGrath’s activities. They were all thwarted by a gang of shadowy felons in MI5 and MI6. The gang included Sir Michael Hanley, Director-General of MI5, 1972 – 1978, and his assistant Peter Wright. Another ogre was Sir Howard Smith, who had served as the UK Representative to the NI Government 1971-1972 (i.e. London’s political and intelligence supremo in NI) when the Kincora operation was in its early phase. Smith became D-G of MI5, 1979-1981. Smith’s deputy, Sir Jack Jones, was also complicit in this abyss of degredation. He served as D-G, 1981-85. Significantly, Jones was in charge when John McKeague was murdered in suspicious circumstances which will be described later.
Sir Howard Smith was a morally homeless individual. Official UK records have long since revealed his willingness to engage in political murder, namely the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Congo. When Smith reached the top of the blood soaked MI5 intelligence pole, he came to pass the dirty work to his subordinates. What could have been more unpalatable to a man who had advocated the murder of a moderate democrat such as Lumumba? The manipulation of a paedophile network which was being used to direct Loyalist murder gangs (such as McKeague’s Red Hand Commando) to murder innocent Catholics in NI would certainly fit the bill. Christopher Andrew, the rather dignified official historian of MI5, has described how Smith was perceived inside MI5 as someone who had a “distaste’ for some of the operations that were carried out while he was D-G. One of Smith’s senior officers resented the manner in which “he kept far away from A Branch and left it all” to his deputy John Jones, who was a former Director of A Branch (surveillance and blackmail). According to Andrew’s source, Smith regarded “it all as dirty work”. What is clear from this is that Jones was little more than a thug in a suit and Smith knew full well what was going on yet did nothing to stop it.
4. ANOTHER SMOKING GUN DOCUMENT: THE CAMERON-MI5 MEMO OF 22 APRIL 1976
Ian Cameron, a senior MI5 officer based at MI5’s station at Lisburn, was in overall charge of running the Kincora operation at ground level in the mid-1970s. Cameron, if he ever had a decent bone in his body, had it surgically removed after he joined MI5. He was also responsible for destroying the career of Colin Wallace because he had tried to halt the abuse of the boys at Kincora by drawing press attention to the home. Cameron furnished a report to MI5 in London on 22 April 1976 accusing Wallace of a breach of security for having briefed the press about TARA, a Loyalist paramilitary group. What was significant about TARA was that it was commanded by William McGrath, the Housefather at Kincora.
Cameron’s report is reproduced below albeit his name is redacted. The reference to ‘Box 500’ is to MI5. Beneath it is an extract from a New Statesman article by the highly regarded journalist Robert Fisk. It was published on 19 March 1976 and quoted from what Fisk described as the ‘army’s account of their [i.e. TARA’s] activities collated by an intelligence officer at Lisburn’. The officer was Wallace. Cameron refers to Fisk’s article in his report. The combination of these two documents corroborates Wallace’s claim that he tried to draw the attention of the press to TARA and that MI5 was concerned about it.
There are other documents which corroborate Wallace’s efforts to interest the press in McGrath and TARA. Village has reported on them in detail in previous articles. The Cameron-New Statesman sequence is merely another piece of an impressive paper trail that reveals MI5 knew about Kincora long before the abuse of the residents at it was exposed in 1980.
Ian Cameron’s report to London concerning the story about TARA which Wallace gave to Robert Fisk
Robert Fisk’s New Statesman article
How could people like Cameron and his superiors have behaved in such an abhorrent manner? Anthony Cavendish, who served in both MI5 and MI6, and was a close friend of Sir Maurice Oldfield, has provided an insight into the corrosive nature of their work. He described in his memoirs, Inside Intelligence, how as “the years go by, the lies take over from the truth and morality accepts the other demands which are made on an [intelligence] officer to get the job done” and that “theft, deception, lies, mutilation and even murder are considered if and when necessary”.
5. THE COVER-UP STRATEGY
The involvement of Mountbatten and other VIPs in abuse on both sides of the Irish Sea had the potential to shake the British Establishment to its foundation. In more recent times, Prince Andrew has been stripped of his duties and exposed to public opprobrium for the exploitation of a 17 year old teenage girl. To gauge the threat Mountbatten’s sexual excesses posed to the Establishment, one only has to envisage what the reaction would be if the allegations against Prince Andrew were of the rape of a large number of boys and and teenagers, some as young as 8 years of age, with at least one of them committing suicide. Had Mountbatten been exposed, whether before or after his death in 1979, Prime Minister Edward Heath – another paedophile – might have been exposed and the abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Saville, Sir Peter Morrison MP, Sir Cyril Smith MP and others might have been halted. Instead the abusers flourished like fungi in the dankest recesses of society.
To plug the leaking Kincora dam, a cover-up was designed by the NIO, MI5, MI6 and the RUC to hoodwink the public into believing that the boys at the home were only abused by the staff who worked there and never fed out to a wider ring. The darkest secret to conceal was that Mountbatten was a member of the wider ring.
To plug the leaking Kincora dam, a cover-up was designed by the NIO, MI5, MI6 and the RUC to hoodwink the public into believing that the boys at the home were only abused by the staff who worked there and never fed out to a wider ring.
The contention that the abuse was confined to Kincora was a barefaced misrepresentation. James Miller, a former Kincora resident, has described how Joe Mains trafficked him and other residents to a hotel in Bangor. As a child he had to wait in the van outside the hotel while one after another the boys returned to it. He recalls they were sobbing after their ordeal inside the building. On this occasion, Miller was lucky not to be sent inside. His evidence was presented to the Hart Inquiry in 2016. No one doubted he was telling the truth, nor challenged his credibility. Hence, Miller presented a serious problem for Hart as he undermined the narrative Hart had latched onto at an early stage i.e. that the abuse at Kincora went no further than the home itself. Since there was no way to undermine Miller’s credibility, Hart’s solution was to simply to ignore him.
The late Clint Massey, a Kincora survivor recalled a lot of “suits” arriving at the home, often in the evening. “In those days, there were loads of people over from London. I have always assumed they were senior figures from Whitehall. I certainly heard English accents,” he once revealed. The voices he heard may have included if not Oldfield, England, Imrie, perhaps some of their colleagues.
6. THE CABINET SECRETARY SPIDER AT THE CENTER OF THE WEB
The spider at the center of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring cover-up web was almost certainly Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robert Armstrong. He certainly had a history of covering up VIP sex abuse.
On 4 November, 1986, while the Kincora scandal was still a live issue in the UK, Sir Antony Duff, Director-General of MI5, wrote to Armstrong after allegations of child abuse had been made by separate sources against Peter Morrison, the then Conservative MP for Chester and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. Morrison had been accused (entirely accurately as it transpired) of child abuse. Duff opined that Morrison was only a minor “security danger”. Allegedly, Morrison did not have access to valuable government secrets. Yet by this stage, he had served Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Minister of State for Employment, and Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury. Nonetheless, Duff concluded: “At present stage […] the risk of political embarrassment to the Government is rather greater than the security danger”. There was no consideration of the ongoing risk posed by Morrison to children.
After the Morrison memo came to light in July of 2015, Armstrong (famed for his use of the phrase “being economical with the truth”), defended his inaction thus: “Clearly I was aware of it […] but I was not concerned with the personal aspect of it, whether he should or should not be pursued. That was something for the police to consider. My concern was implications of national security and international relations.” (BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme)
Yet, Morrison was never reported to the police by MI5. Clearly, MI5 did not believe his denials because they rated him as a risk. Had they believed he was innocent, he would not have been susceptible to blackmail and hence could not have been perceived as a “security danger”, of any significance. Morrison went on to become Thatcher’s private secretary and would receive a knighthood. He had been one of one of the first backbench MPs to support her bid for the leadership of the Tories in 1975.
Morrison’s successful upward career trajectory could not have been sustained without the sanction of MI5 who vet all high-level political appointments. Had something been done about him, the abuse victims at Bryn Estate care home in Wrexham, North Wales, might have been spared his deprecations. He, and another high-profile Conservative politician, were visitors to that house of horrors.
Grotesque as it may seem, the fact that MI5 knew all about his proclivities probably made him an attractive candidate for promotion in their eyes: he was someone they could control. Morrison might have become a cabinet minister had Thatcher not fallen in 1992.
Norman Tebbit, a former Chairman of the Tory Party, has revealed that “rumours had got to my ears” that Morrison was a paedophile more than a decade before the truth was exposed. Morrison died from a heart attack on 13 July 1995, aged 51.
A central file on the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring must have come into existence at some stage shortly after 1980. The British government has to have access to the full unexpurgated truth in case it might ever become a live issue This could happen if, e.g. a foreign intelligence service such as Russia with access to MI5/6 secrets exposed more details about the scandal, decided to brief the media. Alternatively, a whistle blower inside RUC Special Branch might leak a key document or give an interview. Britain’s darkest secrets are held in a massive safe in the office of the Cabinet Secretary.
7. SELECTING ONLY ABUSE VICTIMS WITH A PARTIAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE SCANDAL
After the scandal erupted in 1980, the RUC Special Branch and at least one member of the RUC’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID), were assigned active parts in the cover-up. A highly successful tactic was to take statements from boys who had only been abused by the staff members at Kincora. These statements became the glue that would hold the Kincora lie together for decades to come, at least in so far as official inquiries were concerned. Judge Hart, a man who was out of his depth in puddle, relied on them despite ample evidence that a number of victims such as James Miller, Gary Hoy, Richard Kerr and Ronald Graham provided of external abuse. Kerr was trafficked to various locations in Northern Ireland and Britain for abuse. His abusers include Enoch Powell MP, the ‘TV Star’ and ‘The Sadist’ (a former MP and friend of James Molyneaux who is still alive).
At least two witnesses could have testified about their abuse at the hands of Mountbatten. They are still available to the IICSA in London but it is clearly not interested.
The cherry-picked statements have served the cover-up well over the decades. They were made available to the Terry Inquiry (1982), The Hughes Inquiry (1984) and Hart (2016-7) all of which relied upon them to confine their account of the abuse to the home.
Other witnesses with information about the wider ring are reluctant to come forward because of confidentiality agreements they signed in return for compensation payments made to them. The sums involved were miserly.
8. A CAMPAIGN OF VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION PERPETRATED AGAINST CHILD RAPE VICTIMS TO PREVENT THEM TESTIFYING
Three of Kincora’s staff members were scheduled to go on trial in December 1981. They included William McGrath. Before the trial, McGrath was ferried around Belfast in a car with a gang of thugs who helped him threaten and menace some of his former victims. Meanwhile, an RUC officer – who is still alive – went to Preston, England, where he assaulted Richard Kerr, and warned him not to return to Belfast for the trial. The assault took place inside a prison cell made available by the Preston police. The Preston police have never apologised to Kerr for what happened to him while in their custody. Kerr was also assaulted by the police in London. He is presently suing the NI State in the Belfast High Court.
While the RUC were prepared to let Mains and McGrath go to prison if it came to that, they did not want the services they had provided to the RUC Special Branch, MI5 and MI6 to emerge at the trial, nor any hint that VIPs such as Mountbatten had raped boys such as Stephen Waring from the home.
9. £10,000 FOR THE ABUSER, A PITTANCE FOR SOME OF THE VICTIMS AND A REFUSAL TO COMPENSATE OTHERS WHICH LASTED DECADES
All three of the Kincora staff were convicted but received lenient sentences and were back on the street in no time. When he was released, McGrath received a gift of £10,000 from a mysterious source and was able to purchase a house at Ballyhalbert, Co. Down. When confronted by journalists about this, he refused to disclose the source of the money. Semple and Mains, who knew all the dark corners too and what lurked in them, presumably received similar sums from an MI5 slush fund. This sum was multiples of the pittances doled out to some of their victims back in the 1980s. Most survivors received nothing. It took decades of campaigning in the face of disdain and contempt before the NI State finally resolved to compensate the survivors of institutional sexual abuse in 2020. The recommendation to make recompense was one of the few good things to result from the Hart Inquiry.
McGrath received a gift of £10,000 from a mysterious source after his release and was able to purchase a house at Ballyhalbert, Co. Down. When confronted by journalists about this, he refused to disclose the source of the money.
10. JOHN McKEAGUE, THE PAEDOPHILE WHO KNEW TOO MUCH ABOUT THE ANGLO-IRISH VICE RING
John Dunlop McKeague was a sadistic child rapist. The highly regarded journalist and author Martin Dillon has described him as someone who was “lean, sleazy and snake-like, his eyes slightly sunken. When he spoke, the menace was wrapped in slyness but there was no missing his capacity for sadism”.
McKeague was born in Bushmills, County Antrim in 1930. He had strong Loyalist roots. His father and grandfather were members of the original Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and fought with the 36th Ulster Division during WW1. He joined the Unionist party, the Orange Order and the Blackmen as a young man but did not stick with them. “The Orange Order’s like a chocolate egg, it’s hollow in the middle”, he told the Sunday World in 1980. “Certainly, it’s been a dead organisation for years and for that matter, Martin Smyth, the Grand Master is dead as well. If he hadn’t a dog collar, he would never be where he is. Anyway, I left them in ’67, disappointed just as I was with the Unionists. They had become dead wood drifting. That’s proved by the fact that when the troubles broke out they were found wanting”.
McKeague was arrested in 1966 for molesting two YMCA boys. Two powerful men, Alfred Arnold and Sir Knox Cunningham MP, QC, helped him slip free from the charges he faced. Arnold was yet another individual who, if he ever had a decent bone in his body, had had it surgically removed. Arnold occupied a lofty perch in the NI Establishment: he served as Private Secretary to notorious anti-Catholic bigot Sir Basil Brooke, PM of NI 1943-63. While child abuse among the aristocracy has been going on for centuries, it was Arnold who created a network to serve the Anglo-Irish upper-class paedophile community in a more organised fashion. He did this by infiltrating a number of care homes run by the NI State with paedophiles and pederasts. They then brutalised, broke, groomed and turned children into sexual play things for the likes of Arnold, Knox Cunningham, Sir Anthony Blunt, Peter Montgomery, Lord Mountbatten and many, many others to prey upon.
Jeff Dudgeon was interviewed by the author and historian Gareth Mulvenna, for the latter’s podcast, Hidden Histories of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Dudgeon had once spoken to a man who had been ‘intimately involved’ with McKeague and knew about the scandal. “He told me the whole saga of McKeague when he lived in Coleraine. I think he came from, or near there…This guy was a teenager, a young teenager whenever he met McKeague and had some sort of affair with him; and the father…the family, found out and McKeague was told ‘Get packing’ and leave the area, if not, certainly leave the boy alone”.
That same year McKeague transferred his allegiance to Ian Paisley. “I went to hear him speak in Ballymoney and he attacked the Church of Ireland which I belonged to. I went back to my minister and he couldn’t give me the answers, so I went over to Paisley”. He told the Sunday World that “In 1969 I would have licked Paisley’s boots and the very ground he walked on. But I later found out he wasn’t the man I thought he was. I went to Paisley’s church because I thought the truth was being told biblically, but as I soon realised, it was really being twisted to suit the occasion”.
He went to live in Belfast in 1968. By now he was a friend of of William McGrath and Joseph Mains who would be convicted for child abuse at Kincora in December 1981.
McKeague became a notorious Loyalist paramilitary serial killer after the Troubles began. By the early 1970s he had become a British military intelligence informer. He probably did so to undermine his many enemies in Loyalist paramilitary circles, some of whom had tried to murder him on 9 May, 1971. Instead, they burnt his mother Isabella alive in a room above the shop he ran in Belfast. He told the Sunday World that, ‘Loyalists killed my mother, it wasn’t the work of the enemy. Mother knew who came in, so she had to perish. Certain people couldn’t do what they wanted. They thought if they had rid of me, that would help. I have all the evidence connected with the crime’. Three Loyalists were arrested at the time and released after twenty-two hours questioning. ‘I know the names of the people involved. The police are well aware too. Some of them are alive, some aren’t. The ones that aren’t met with justice.’
One of those McKeague raped after moving to Belfast was Richard Kerr while the latter was a resident at Kincora. Kerr was supplied to McKeague by his friend Mains. The abuse he had to endure took place on three or four occasions at the Girton Lodge hotel which was a short walk from Kincora. Kerr would receive a phone call ordering him to go down to the hotel which was a six minute walk from the home. There was a reception area on the ground floor with a small corridor off it which had rooms. The abuse took place in these rooms. There was also a bath at the venue. Kerr was given alcohol prior to the abuse he had to endure at it.
Kerr has also provided details to Village about the defilement of boys at a range of hotels in Belfast and Bangor. It is independently confirmed by contemporaneous British Army notes. (These notes are discussed below.)
11. McKEAGUE AND OPERATION CLOCKWORK ORANGE
One of MI5’s darkest projects in Northern Ireland was entitled Operation Clockwork Orange. It exploited the paedophile ring of which McKeague and Mountbatten were members. The operation went through a number of phases. It was primarily designed to counter Loyalist anti-State activities. It involved, inter alia, the collection of damaging information about DUP and other Loyalist politicians as well as paramilitaries such as McKeague.
Colin Wallace was asked by MI5 to assist Operation Clockwork Orange. Towards this end, he was provided with information which he recorded in his notebook. Forensic examination has proven that his notes are authentic. In December 1974 Wallace recorded the following:
“Joseph Mains may be extensively involved in a prostitution ring supplying boys to hotels in Belfast and Bangor. The hotels include: Girton Lodge, Park Avenue; Stormont; Europa and the Queen’s Court in Bangor. [John] McKeague is said to use the Royal Avenue Hotel for the same purposes. Bearing in mind that the East Belfast UDA leadership use the Girton Lodge and the Park Avenue for their meetings, it is simply [not] credible that they did not know what is going on there. Note: Mains has a brother in the RUC. He also has a questionable relationship with Belfast Corporation Welfare Chairman (Cardwell) and Legal Adviser (Young)”.
In September 1975 Wallace wrote a letter to his former boss at British Army HQ in Northern Ireland which referred to “homosexual prostitution at a children’s home in Belfast”. The relevant extract reads as follows: “My concern now is that there may be an attempt by the Ministry [of Defence] to deny any form of official ‘dirty tricks’ organisation existed within the Security Forces. For example, in the Ministry’s summary of my oral representations made [at an employment tribunal] to John Groves and Mr Fairbairn on 10 May reference is made in paragraph 3 to ‘actions’ which I was asked to launch during the [1974 Ulster Workers Council anti-power-sharing] strike. The word ‘actions’ appears to have been used by MOD to conceal the fact that I referred to the attempts made by the Security Service [i.e. MI5] to discredit various Loyalist politicians, including the Rev Ian Paisley [of the DUP], by the use of forged documents and by linking the MPs with loyalist paramilitary figures involved in homosexual prostitution at a children’s home in Belfast”.
Wallace’s Clockwork Orange notes and his September 1975 letter were furnished to the Hart Inquiry which clearly did not appreciate the significance of either. On their own – and at a minimum – they confirm that MI5 knew about the existence of a paedophile network involving Joseph Mains and John McKeague in Belfast and Bangor five years before it was exposed in the Irish Independent, yet did nothing to interfere with it.
The NIO certainly also knew about McKeague’s sexual deviancy. Indeed, the security departments of the NIO were staffed by MI5 and MI6 officers masquerading as civil servants along with some from the MoD. On 23 May 1975 Andy Tyrie, the Supreme Commander of the UDA – who is still alive – and another UDA commander, John Orchin, held a meeting with James Allan, a senior MI6 officer posing as a civil servant at the NIO. According to declassified British files, during the discussion there were “some ribald discussions of Mr McKeague’s proclivities”. (CJ/43734; Margaret Urwin, A State in Denial page 139.)
McKeague’s military-intelligence handler gave a series of interviews to Jack Holland and Henry McDonald, the authors of the highly regarded book, ‘INLA Deadly Divisions’. They described how an “intelligence agent who says he was McKeague’s handler confirmed to the authors the former loyalist leader was supplying information to the British from the early 1970s. This man had been McKeague’s handler up until 1976; after that his contact was less frequent, as the value of McKeague’s information declined, mainly because of the fact that other loyalists intensely distrusted him. Still, his handler would visit him in his shop regularly to pick up whatever McKeague had to offer” (p. 307).
McKeague became an MI5 agent in 1976 in circumstances which Village has described in earlier articles. (See the McKeague tab/button below for a link to these stories.) The difference between an informer and an agent in this context is that an informer supplies information and retains a degree of independence whereas an agent generally follows the orders issued to him by his handlers. Some information has come to light about the use to which MI5 put McKeague.
12. McKEAGUE AND THE ‘WIFE BEATER’
As an MI5 agent McKeague helped set up the ‘Wife Beater’, a leading DUP politician, for MI5. The latter was recorded while having sex with a teenager at the Park Avenue Hotel in Belfast in late 1976 or 1977. The ‘honey trap’ operation took place on the first floor of the hotel. The teenager was told by an Englishman in a nearby room to that occupied by the ‘Wife Beater’ to make sure that the target was to be caught saying something incriminating. The teenager was told where a hidden microphone was placed so he could make sure it picked up their conversation. “I was asked to get [the target] to undress me and get him talking on tape”.
13. McKEAGUE AND THE MURDER OF SEAMUS LUDLOW
In 1976 while McKeague was a British military agent but not yet an MI5 one, a vicious and drunken Red Hand Commando unit murdered Seamus Ludlow in Dundalk in the Republic. Ludlow was a likeable man who played Santa for children at Christmas. Politically, he was a Fine Gael supporter. He was abducted while walking home at night at random by the Red Hand Commando gang.
McKeague became involved in the aftermath of the killing. He had to tie up a loose end: one of the men in the car which had picked up Ludlow was not a member of the Red Hand Commando. The RUC Special Branch soon amassed a body of evidence to identify the killers but dark forces on both sides of the border intervened to ensure that the murder was not solved. By the time of this intervention, McKeague had become an MI5 agent. The Barron Inquiry into Ludlow’s killing revealed a wealth of material including the perplexing behaviour of British security forces which can only make sense if they were protecting McKeague. Equally perplexing was the response by Larry Wren, the head of the Garda’s overarching intelligence directorate, C3, to exploit the available evidence.
The behaviour of the RUC and C3 only makes sense if McKeague was being protected by MI5 and Wren was extending a helping hand in the cover-up. This was not the first – nor would it be the last – time Wren would act in a manner which was to the benefit of British Intelligence.
Wren’s name came back into the public arena in 2019 when his reprehensible treatment of Garda Majella Moynihan was exposed.
14. McKEAGUE ATTEMPTS TO UNIFY THE UDA, UVF, RED HAND COMMANDO AND OTHER LOYALIST ORGANISATIONS UNDER ONE BANNER,
McKeague became involved in the Ulster Loyalist Central Co-ordinating Committee (ULCCC). It had been set up in 1974 after the success of the Ulster Workers Council strike which had brought down the Stormont Power Sharing administration earlier that year. Its members included the UDA, UVF, Red Hand Commando, Down Orange Welfare, Loyalist Association of Workers, Orange Volunteers and other groups.
In 1976 McKeague was acting as its spokesman. He also established a sub-committee in an attempt to co-ordinate loyalist paramilitaries under one unified “Ulster army”. Had he succeeded, he would have been able to give MI5 an insight into the inner workings of the UDA, UVF and other terror groupings who would have enlisted. McKeague later became the chair of the ULCCC and presumably would have played a decisive role in a co-ordinated Loyalist paramilitary army. However, the process proved a failure. Rather than come together, the UDA and UVF continued to feud.
The role MI5 played in all of this remains elusive. All that can be noted for the present is that the man at the centre of these developments was an MI5 agent. Did MI5 and the NIO hope to unite all of the Loyalist terror groups under one banner and control them through McKeague who became chairman of the organisation?
McKeague engaged in another bizarre foray with the aid of the ULCCC in late 1976. Together with a man called John McClure, he reached out to Republicans Joe Chail and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh with the prospect of starting talks to find a common platform to achieve an independent Northern Ireland. A first meeting appears to have taken place in late December 1976. Other talks followed. The aim was to merge the ULCCC’s proposal for an independent Six-County State with the Republican Movement’s programme for a new four-province federation known as ÉIRE NUA. If successful, the parties would then approach the British Labour government led by James Callaghan and ask Britain to leave Ireland.
Desmond Boal QC came on board to represent Loyalists while Seán Mac Bride SC flew the flag for Republicans. McKeague also met Gerry Adams but the meeting or meetings were unproductive. Adams left feeling that covert discussions with loyalist paramilitaries were a waste of time. However, Boal and McBride had a number of meetings at discreet venues including one in Paris. If they thought they were hiding from the press and intelligence services, they were sorely mistaken for McKeague would have been reporting developments to his handlers in MI5. Conor Cruise O’Brien became aware of it and condemned it on RTÉ Radio.
The process did not survive the bright light of public scrutiny and collapsed. There were repercussions for the ULCCC as it had not endorsed the process, and the UDA and Down Orange Welfare resigned from the co-ordinating body with the result the wider organisation went into abeyance.
Did it suit MI5 to embarrass Republicans by revealing they had been meeting notorious Loyalists such as McKeague?
Who leaked details of the process to Conor Cruise O’Brien?
Would the leaks have occured if the ULCCC had not begun to fall apart anyway?
15. McKEAGUE AND THE FAILED 1977 LOYALIST STRIKE LED BY IAN PAISLEY
The failure of the ULCCC also undermined the unity of a strike which Paisley was trying to organise to emulate the successful 1974 Ulster Workers Council one which had brought down the Stormont Power Sharing administration. McKeague became embroiled in attempts to undermine 1977 strike. The campaign was one involving smears and destabilisation with strong echoes of Operation Clockwork Orange i.e. stories about homosexual activities among the organisers. The 1977 strike was a failure.
16. STRANGER THAN FICTION: McKEAGUE, THE CARDINAL AND THE POPE
Britain’s Foreign Office had opposed the appointment of Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich, who had been critical of British excesses in Ireland, as the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland in August 1977. Later, there was sustained British opposition, some of it made public by Tory MPs, to him being given a cardinal’s hat. After he was made a cardinal in June 1979, British diplomatic pressure on the Vatican switched to having a second Irish cardinal created, one who might balance O Fiaich’s nationalistic views. This was an almost unprecedented suggestion: there had not been two Cardinals in Ireland at the same time since the 19th century, Cardinals Cullen and McCabe.
The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and the Foreign Office had long since realised the value of the Catholic Church in Ireland as a propaganda tool against the IRA. The best known of the attempts made by their colleagues in British Intelligence to woo the Catholic Church were those of Sir Maurice Oldfield after his appointment as Security Co-ordinator Northern Ireland, by Mrs Thatcher in 1979. He went to great efforts to get to know Catholic priests personally and manipulate them. These efforts were detailed by his close friend, Anthony Cavendish, in his 1987 book, Inside Intelligence.
Cardinal O Fiaich, the most important cleric in the country, however, was a lot wiser to the machinations of the NIO, MI5/6 and Military Intelligence than most of his clerical contemporaries. He had a keen interest in how they operated in Ireland. His private library contained a number of books on British Intelligence, including Roger Faligot’s banned book, The Kitson Experiment which had been withdrawn as a result of a minor libel. In 1979 the cardinal became the object of the attention of MI5 agent McKeague.
McKeague loathed the Vatican and everything it stood for. He had spent his life protesting, denigrating, bombing and murdering Catholics to stem what he perceived as the Vatican’s anti-Protestant agenda. Like McGrath, he almost certainly saw the IRA and the Vatican as partners. When there was speculation that Pope John II would cross the border during his visit to the Republic in 1979, Paisley threatened action if the proposed trip was given the green light. The Foreign Office and NIO were anxious to lure the Pope to the North. They knew that he was going to implore the IRA to abandon violence and felt his plea would have more impact if made on Northern soil. A site near the cathedral in Armagh in Northern Ireland was chosen for an open-air mass should he come. However, a number of bishops were against a visit on security grounds. Shortly after Paisley’s threats, a delegation of Loyalists including McKeague visited Cardinal O Fiaich at his home, Ara Coeli, behind the cathedral in Armagh. During the meeting McKeague assured the cardinal that the Pope had nothing to fear if he came North. Paisley could complain, he added, but without their ‘muscle’, he could do nothing. The story of this bizarre visit was later reported in John Hume’s biography by Belfast journalist Barry White (p. 207). At the time, McKeague’s actions were perplexing. They can, however, be explained in terms of him having been a British agent acting on orders.
McKeague’s mission was not a success and security concerns prevailed with the result the Pope did not cross the border. Instead, on 29 September, 1979, he visited Killineer, near Drogheda, close to the border, where he led a Liturgy of the Word for 300,000 people, many from across the border where he appealed to the men of violence: “on my knees I beg you to turn away from the path of violence and return to the ways of peace”.
17. THE KINCORA SCANDAL ERUPTS
The Kincora scandal erupted in Januay 1980. After the conviction of the three Kincora staff members in December 1981, a number of RUC CID officers began to circle around McKeague. Clearly, these officers did not believe the child abuse involving the boys from Kincora was confined to the staff members since McKeague did not work at the home. McKeague was picked up and questioned by them in January 1982. He responded by making threats that if he was charged, he would expose what he knew about the scandal. McKeague’s former British military intelligence told Holland and McDonald “that some time in January 1982 he learnt that McKeague was about to ‘go public’ on what he knew concerning the Kincora Boys’ Home scandal”. (p. 308) To those in the CID who were not infected by the contagious immorality of the NIO/MI5/6, this could have been a major breakthrough. The obvious next step was to charge McKeague and see who he would point the finger at. Since McKeague was extremely close to Mains, he undoubtedly knew about Mountbatten. Indeed, Mountbatten was known and admired in Belfast’s paedophile and pederast community. When he died, Ken Larmour, another member of the paedophile ring, cried in front of John McMahon, a boy he – Larmour – was abusing. McMahon recalled how Larmour said of Mountbatten that “he had been so good to the boys in Belfast. Ken talked about the circle as the old Greek Culture of adult men mentoring young boys. It was an upper class view of paedophilia”.
McKeague’s former British military intelligence told Holland and McDonald “that sometime in January 1982 he learnt that McKeague was about to “go public” on what he knew concerning the Kincora Boys’ Home scandal”.
It is inconceivable therefore that McKeague did not know about Mountbatten. Ken Larmour was part of a circle which included Alan Campbell, McKeague and other abusers. They thrived on gossip and scandal.
McMahon recalled how Larmour said of Mountbatten that “he had been so good to the boys in Belfast. Ken talked about the circle as the old Greek Culture of adult men mentoring young boys. It was an upper class view of paedophilia”.
As sure as night follows day, MI5 would have assumed McKeague knew all about the Royal from Mains or one or more of the boys such as Stephen Waring who had been abused. Indeed, it is far more likely that they had express knowledge that McKeague knew about Mountbatten’s crimes. Moreover, research by Village indicates that at least one of the boys molested by Mountbatten was also defiled by McKeague.
Of equal – if not more – concern to MI5, was the fact McKeague knew about the honeytrap which had been set for the ‘Wife Beater’.
McKeague gave an interview to the Sunday World in July of 1980. At this stage the noose was beginning to tighten around Mains, McGrath and the third Kincora staff member yet to go on trial, Raymond Semple. McKeague must have been greatly concerned about his future too but was placing his faith in his MI5 handlers to protect him. When asked if he feared assassination he replied: “At one time, yes, but now it’s the last thing on my mind. If it happens, it happens. I have no family of my own, the only person I worried about was my mother and now she’s gone. .. People say I’ve sold out, but I haven’t changed. My loyalty is to Ulster. But I could get a Loyalist bullet. If it happens the only thing I want is to be left in a Republican area so that they’re blamed”.
But his handlers could not protect him from RUC inquiries because some of the RUC CID officers were far from corrupt. He had the ammunition to blow MI5’s paedophile blackmail operation asunder and destroy their grip over people such as James Molyneaux MP, the ‘Wife Beater’ and many others. The politicians were certain to resign and face criminal charges whereby they would become useless to MI5 who had put such effort into ensnaring them. Suffice it to say, McKeague was also threatening to destroy Mountbatten’s reputation.
If McKeague was to ‘go public’ or even speak to the honest members of the RUC’s CID, the prospect of chaos loomed: soon members of the vice network could be fighting like ferrets in a sack and a lot of dirt could spill out.
18. THE MURDER OF JOHN DUNLOP McKEAGUE.
MI5’s concerns about McKeague were solved permanently on 29 January, 1982, when he was assassinated at the shop he ran on the Albertbridge Road in Belfast by a two-man unit of the INLA. One of them shot him in the head at close range in the presence of an elderly assistant. According to Holland and McDonald, “Two men were involved, escaping on foot into the Short Strand. One of the men is known to have been working for the Special Branch, and the other is also alleged to have had security force connections”. (308)
Conveniently, the murder took place before any further enquiries were undertaken or charges levelled against McKeague by the CID.
The INLA was never able to establish why the unit which carried out McKeague’s assassination chose to do it. Furthermore, the unit acted without any sanction from their superiors.
Authors Holland and McDonald provided a further insight into the assassination by revealing details about a man called Rabbie McAllister, an INLA member who had become an RUC Special Branch agent. The INLA was a Republican paramilitary organisation which had been formed by former members of the Official IRA. McAllister was arrested on 5 February, 1982, a few days after McKeague’s assassination. He provided the RUC with a statement revealing copious details about the activities of other INLA members. Significantly, in a later affidavit he swore that, “Towards the end of 1981 as a result of constant arrests and psychological pressure I was trapped into working as an informant for the RUC Special Branch”. (308)
According to Holland and McDonald, “McAllister was involved in five murders and attempted murders that took place between September 1981 and January 1982. In court, the police revealed that he had made his statements when he realised that ‘his Special Branch handlers could not help him’ (Belfast Telegraph, 4 November 1985). In November 1985, McAllister was sentenced to a total of 766 years for his part in the series of crimes, including the murder of the UDA man Bucky McCullough. This raises many questions, not the least of which is how it was that McAllister, while working for the Special Branch, was allowed to commit serious crimes, including murder and attempted murder. The McKeague killing was not mentioned by McAllister in his statement, though he is alleged to have been part of the unit that carried it out. This raises another complex problem. A former leading member of the INLA reported that no-one in the organisation knew who gave the order for McKeague to be shot. This is more intriguing still in the light of the allegation that McKeague himself was working for British army intelligence”. (309)
Holland and McDonald were also able to reveal that while McAllister was in jail, “he approached a senior member of the Belfast INLA (imprisoned on the word of) another informer and told him that British intelligence had helped set up McKeague. They had guaranteed that there would be no foot patrols in the area when the assassination took place. It is also alleged that the eighteen-year-old gunman who actually shot McKeague made a long statement outlining his involvement in working for the security forces, and left it in the keeping of a Belfast priest”.
MI5 was to benefit from other convenient deaths: Joss Cardwell, Chairman of Belfast Corporation Welfare Committee – which was responsible for Kincora – was also questioned by the RUC in 1982. He committed suicide. A door could be heard slamming in hell immediately after his death. Cardwell was one of the links between Belfast and London. On at least one occasion he sent Steven Waring from Kincora to London for sexual abuse. Again, the fact the RUC spoke Cardwell indicates that they did not believe that the abuse was confined to the four walls of Kincora.
Joss Cardwell, Chairman of Belfast Corporation Welfare Committee – which was responsible for Kincora – was also questioned by the RUC in 1982. He committed suicide. A door could be heard slamming in hell immediately after his death.
Pastor Willie Mullan, a former alcoholic and a friend of William McGrath and Ian Paisley, was another individual who was implicated in the scandal and committed suicide. Suffice it to say, he did not work at Kincora either.
While these deaths did not put the Kincora toothpaste back in the tube, they did help stem what could have been an utter disaster for the NIO, MI5 and MI6.
Readers interested in discovering more about the role of McKeague and his Red Hand Commando as instruments of MI5 dirty tricks – including an attempt to assassinate the former Irish Taoiseach, Charles Haughey – can click on the Haughey and McKeague tabs/buttons the end of this story. These articles will also demonstrate how Captain Brian Gemmell was a party to MI5’s surveillance of McKeague before his recruitment by MI5. Gemmell’s revelations forced MI5 to concede to the Hart Inquiry that they considered recruiting McKeague after watching him arrange sexual assignations in London with young males in 1976. They then proceeded to deny that they actually proceeded to recruit him. However, the success McKeague and his Red Hand Commando enjoyed in avoiding police attention over the next six years belies this as does his complicity in the ‘honeytrap’ set for the ‘Wife Beater’ and his visit to O Fiaich.
19. THE FORGERY OF A WITNESS STATEMENT DESIGNED TO UNDERMINE COLIN WALLACE
Another instrument in MI5’s dirty tricks toolbox was the use of fraudulent witness statements. Village has been shown one which was prepared but never signed by a British soldier who worked with MI5 and MI6 at Lisburn. The forgery was presumably prepared but never presented to him as it became clear he was not corrupt. He will be referred to as Michael Schneider (not his real name) in this article. Nonetheless, an unsigned copy survived and was furnished by the Hart Inquiry to Schneider. Its purpose was to undermine Colin Wallace
The fabricated Schneider statement contained a brief resume of his career including the fact that he had: “worked as an Information Officer in the Ministry of Defence in Northern Ireland from 1972 until 1976. The exact dates I am not sure”.
Schneider in fact worked at this post until December 1975, a date of which he was well aware. Presumably, the prevarication in the statement was designed to make him look indecisive and provide ammunition to undermine him if it became necessary to do so later.
Schneider’s relationship with Colin Wallace was introduced next: “Whilst at Northern Ireland I (worked) with the chap called Colin Wallace”.
Schneider says that he would never have used a word such as “chap”. The phrase is, however, typical of the type of upper class Englishman that MI5 and MI6 employed.
Significantly, Schneider’s alleged description of Wallace did not include any reference to his PSYOPS (psychological operations) role although Schneider was well aware that Wallace carried out psychological operations:
‘Colin Wallace and I were serving as officers in the army cadet forces and this is where my contact with Wallace was initiated. Initially Wallace and I were both [illegible] same grade but later in my service with MoD, Wallace was promoted to Senior Information Officer. Wallace was at no time answerable to me and we were both involved at a level in similar work.’
The statement also conceals the important fact that Schneider had access to intelligence files at Lisburn. Indeed, he knew about the abuse at Kincora because he had read some of the files that were flowing into Lisburn about the home.
The statement also conceals the important fact that Schneider had access to intelligence files at Lisburn. Indeed, he knew about the abuse at Kincora because he had read some of the files that were flowing into Lisburn about the home. Yet, in the forged statement the very opposite picture is painted. Schneider has described the next passage we are about to quote as a “blatant lie”: “I have been asked if I ever heard about Kincora Boys’s home in my/any capacity whatsoever. I have never seen any official document to my knowledge, on Kincora boys’s home although I do recognise as a result of the situation that prevailed in Northern Ireland at this time, it may have been discussed verbally. If Wallace may have discussed Kincora with me, I cannot remember any specific detail”.
The lies which Schneider has described to Village as “balls” kept flowing: “The names McGrath and [John] McKeague mean something to me, although I cannot connect McGrath with any verbal conversation regarding Kincora. I did not know that McGrath worked at Kincora boys home but his assumed association with the Protestant Military Organisation called “TARA” was on record”.
The overarching purpose of the forgery emerges next: an assertion designed to undermine the authenticity of a document entitled ‘“TARA” – Reports Regarding Criminal Offences Associated with the Homosexual Community in Belfast’ dated 8 November 1974 which was written by Colin Wallace. This document revealed a deep knowledge of the abuse at Kincora. In the 1980s it was published in full by the Irish Times and featured in Paul Foot’s book on Wallace. If true, it demolishes the cover-up. According to the forged Schneider statement: ‘I have been shown a document marked EGM3 by Detective Inspector [..] ‘To my knowledge I have never seen this document before’.
Schneider was never presented with the TARA memo by anyone in the RUC – nor anyone else – to ascertain if he had seen it. Had they done so, he would have told them precisely what it was they did not want to hear: that he had seen it. Not only that, he had seen other documents relating to Tara while at Lisburn including a 1973 press briefing which Wallace had shown to a number of journalists.
Schneider did not appear as a witness at the Hart Inquiry. If he had, Hart would have written a different report.
20. THE SECRET RUC DOSSIER
It has long been whispered that a group of RUC Special Branch officers assembled a dossier containing everything they knew about Kincora in the 1980s. It is probably still in existence and available to blackmail the Cabinet Office in London if any of their colleagues are ever to face charges such as collusion with the UVF, UFF, McKeague’s Red Hand Commando, or other Loyalist paramilitary murder gangs.
21. THE COVER UP CONTINUES: THE STILL CLASSIFIED KINCORA FILES
Another tactic in the ongoing cover-up is to conceal files from official inquiries. The RUC, MI5, MI6 and the NIO promised to provide the Hart Inquiry with all the relevant files in their possession. In blatant contravention of this undertaking, it has since emerged that a series of Kincora files were not passed to Hart and will not be disclosed to the public for a number of years, if ever. It appears they emanated from the Belfast Welfare Department and possibly other civil service departments. There are potentially many files dating back to the early 1970s when residents made complaints which were ignored. At this point in time it is not clear what files are being retained. In addition, MI5 and MI6 did not furnish the true files they hold on figures such as John McKeague, the ‘Wife Beater’, James Molyneaux and other influential Loyalists who were child abusers.
Some of the Belfast child welfare files may have been seen by officials in the run up to the establishment of the McGonagle Inquiry. It was set up shortly after the conviction of the Kincora staff in December 1981. On the 17th of that month, Ed Moloney and Andrew Pollak published an article in the Irish Times which revealed that the ‘real scandal of the Kincora Boys’ home, as the Lord Chief Justice Sir Robert Lowry indicated in court yesterday, was the fact that the activities of Joseph Mains, Raymond Semple and William McGrath apparently went undetected by the authorities since the home was established twenty years ago’. The reporters then listed several occasions upon which boys had made complaints to social workers or welfare departments which had been passed to the RUC and other authorities but ignored.
Another tactic in the ongoing cover-up is to conceal files from official inquiries.
On the same day, 17 December, 1981, the NI Eastern Health and Social Services Board set up the McGonagle probe. It was described as a committee of inquiry into the management of Kincora and associated matters. As more press revelations were made, additional powers were afforded to the inquiry. Its Chairman was the former North of Ireland Ombudsman Stephen McGonagle. His colleagues included Dr Stanley Worrall, Headmaster of the Methodist College, Belfast, Professor Olive Stevenson of Keele University and Professor Norman Tutt of Lancaster University.
On 13 January 1982, Moloney and Pollak published a report outlining details of the suicide of Stephen Waring in November 1977. Although not included in the article, Village has discovered that Waring was one of the boys Mountbatten had abused in Classsiebawn in August 1977. What emerged in 1982 was that Waring had had made a number of allegations against the staff at Kincora before his suicide.
Three of the five members of the McGonagle Inquiry resigned quickly telling the media they had been given assurances about the wide scope of their inquiry but that it had been curtailed.
According to a source in Scotland, his father was part of an early investigation into Kincora and what he discovered shocked him. Thereafter, he and his family received protection from a friendly police officer back in Scotland. The police officer seems to have had reason to fear that the family was in some sort of danger. Details of this affair have been provided to the IICSA in London.
What is in the suppressed Kincora files that is so damaging that the British Government is still keeping them under lock and key? The answer is probably a simple one: some of the abuse victims may have provided the names of their abusers or clues as to their identities.
What is in the suppressed Kincora files that is so damaging that the British Government is still keeping them under lock and key? The answer is probably a simple one: some of the abuse victims may have provided the names of their abusers or clues as to their identities. If this is so, these statements have the potential to establish that abuse took place beyond the four walls of Kincora. Hence, their declassification would sweep aside the findings of the Terry, Hughes and Hart inquiries, all of which relied upon the cherry picked statements which did not reveal the existence of a wider paedophile ring. Such a revelation would have a domino effect. Once the British Establishment is forced to concede the existence of a wider ring, a proper inquiry would surely have to be called. Such an inquiry would have to have as part of its terms of reference a mandate to probe how the scandal was covered up for so many decades and by whom. The odds are that such an investigation, if successful, would extend beyond the lairs of MI5 and MI6 to the Cabinet Office and Buckingham Palace.
‘One doesn’t want to see the file on Dickie.‘ Queen Elizabeth seen here with Andrew Parker, the Director-General of MI5, while on a tour of his lair. Parker, who is about to step down as D-G, never found the time to root out MI5’s files about Mountbatten, Kincora and the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring, nor admonish those of his subordinates who lied to the Hart Inquiry and the IICSA about MI5’s knowledge and exploitation of paedophile networks in the UK. Despite these failures, he has received a knighthood from Her Majesty. The message from the Palace is crystal clear: it is more important to protect the reputations of Establishment child rapists than to end the decades of emotional agony suffered by their victims. This is as much the case for the late Lord Mountbatten as it is for the living Prince Andrew. To those in MI5 with a conscience – such a thing is conceivable – the message is even more stark: find a job somewhere else.
22. THE DESTRUCTION OF FILES
The most recent development in this sordid scandal is that Andrew Lownie has confirmed what has been long suspected by those who have followed the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring scandal for decades: that files have been destroyed. Please see the letter Lownie received from the NIO on 13 March, 2020, which is set out in full below:
What was in these files?
What was the justification for their destruction?
Is there an idiot in any village in Ireland or Britain who truly believes these are the only files which have been destroyed?
The Establishment cannot afford to destroy all of the files on Kincora and the scandals to which it is linked. A central file almost certainly exists. Such a file would be kept in the massive safe in the Cabinet Office in Downing Street.
Sadly, there is no point in appealing to the better side of Boris Johnson, nor indeed to his Home Secretary Priti Patel – who is in political charge of MI5 – to do the right thing because neither of them has a better side. Both of them, along with the overwhelming majority of their Tory colleagues have become hardwired to lie and deceive.
Readers interested in learning more about the issues and people referred to in this article can click on the various buttons/tabs below this story.