Northern Ireland

Kincora boys' home: SIS officers have 'no evidence' of abuse involvement or cover-up

Kincora Boys' Home
Image caption Three senior care staff at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys

Senior MI5 and MI6 officers have said they have no evidence that intelligence officers were involved in or condoned abuse at Kincora boys' home in Belfast.

One MI6 officer provided detailed statements to the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry which is examining the extent of sexual abuse at the home before it closed in 1980.

Three former staff at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for abusing boys.

At least 29 boys were abused at Kincora between the late 1950s and early 1980s.

The inquiry has been hearing opening remarks from Joseph Aiken QC, counsel to the inquiry, as he outlines the evidence that will be presented to the panel over the next four weeks.

Agents

MI6 is now officially known as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).

The MI6 officer, referred to as SIS officer A, is not named, but was introduced to the inquiry by Alex Younger, the chief of the SIS and the only member of its staff who ever reveals his name.

In the statement, SIS officer A, who is the deputy director responsible for compliance, said he "has seen nothing to indicate any involvement of SIS officers in abuse in Kincora boys' home or any attempt to cover it up".

"SIS does not exploit children or vulnerable adults for operational purposes, nor tolerate their abuse by their staff of those that work on their behalf... including agents," his statement added.

In another document to the inquiry, the the deputy director of MI5, he said there is no evidence in the available documents that "such abuse was permitted, condoned or encouraged to further any MI5 plan".

Redacted

There have been allegations that people in positions of authority and influence knew what was happening and that they covered it up.

Both MI5 and MI6 have agreed to assist the inquiry and many documents have already been handed over.

Where there have been redactions, the inquiry panel has seen the gist of what has been redacted before the documents are made public.

Mr Aiken QC told the inquiry that Ministry of Defence (MoD) cooperation with the inquiry appeared to be good, and that he had been sent emails from MoD staff in Whitehall on one occasion at four o'clock in the morning.

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