By Simon Basketter
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Kincora abuse investigation halted by MI5, says former intelligence officer

This article is over 7 years, 9 months old
Issue 2415
Colin Wallace (left)

Colin Wallace (left) (Pic: Wikimedia Commons)

The MI5 security service covered up child abuse in the Kincora Boys’ Home, Northern Ireland, a former army intelligence officer has said. Brian Gemmell, a former captain in the Intelligence Corps, revealed that in 1975 he submitted reports to MI5’s Northern Ireland head Ian Cameron.

There have been long-standing allegations that spooks let the child abuse happen, in order to gather intelligence on politicians. MI5 also protected leading figures in the British establishment that were taking part in the abuse of young boys at the home.

This backs up former military intelligence officer Colin Wallace who blew the whistle on Kincora. Wallace repeated his allegations of a cover-up last week.

In December 1981, three former Kincora staff who are now all dead were jailed for sexually harassing boys at the home. 

They were warden Joe Mains, his deputy Raymond Semple and house master and Orange Order member William McGrath. 


MI5 agent McGrath led shadowy loyalist paramilitary group Tara. Gemmell claims the inquiry into the home by Sussex Chief Constable Sir George Terry ignored vital evidence of the abuse.

He insists “it was a lie” that no intelligence officers knew of the abuse, as reported in the 1982 Sir George Terry report.

Gemmell said, “I was a lieutenant and then a captain in the Intelligence Corps, commanding about 27 staff, and an active contact of “the Political Advisor” [Cameron] operating in certain matters under his direction and that of his staff.

“The Kincora information was part and parcel of my Intelligence Reports on Tara. It was classified Secret and sent/taken by me to HQNI and handed over to MI5 staff there.

“Eventually, after a few weeks, Cameron summoned me to his office and rudely told me to break off all Tara contacts and investigation. He was angry and hostile. Why had he not responded like this when the reports first went in?

“I smelled a rat when there was no follow-up. I suspected a cover-up.”

Last week it emerged that some Kincora victims had also been made to sign “gagging orders”.

For more background on this story go to


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