Northern Ireland

Kincora boys' home: MI5 'unaware' of abuse until 1980

Kincora
Image caption Three senior care workers at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for sexually abusing boys in their care

A deputy director of MI5 has told the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry that it was 1980 before it became aware of child abuse at Kincora boys' home in east Belfast.

The officer, known as 9004, gave evidence anonymously via video link.

He told Sir Anthony Hart's panel it was "The first time we have unambiguous information" about the abuse.

Three senior care workers at the home were jailed in 1981 for sexually abusing boys in their care.

Mainstream

One of those, William McGrath, was the leader of the loyalist organisation Tara.

Officer 9004 said they did have information on Tara in the 1970s, but it was largely a fringe group.

MI5, he said, were more focused on mainstream loyalist paramilitaries who were carrying out murders and bomb attacks.

The inquiry was also shown documents that revealed that between 1971 and 1972 MI5 mistakenly thought McGrath's first name was George.

Exploit

Kincora has long been at the centre of allegations that a paedophile ring involving high-profile political and military figures abused young residents in the 1970s.

The intelligence agencies have been accused of covering up the abuse in order to exploit the perpetrators for information.

But officer 9004 rejected that suggestion.

He said: "I can certainly deny we were ever involved in an operation to exploit abuse taking place for intelligence purposes."

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