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Kincora boys’ home – abuse cover up

Kincora boys’ home, East Belfast, was opened in 1958 by the local health authority. The purpose of the institution was to provide full time accommodation for boys of working age (15-18) who faced an abusive or otherwise compromised home life.

William McGrath & historic abuse at Kincora boys’ home

Following reports of sexual abuse, an investigation was carried out and Kincora was closed down in 1980. Three senior members of staff were found guilty of committing 23 sexual offences against 11 boys between 1960 and 1980.

William McGrath, a far right loyalist, was one of the convicted men. McGrath was the house master at Kincora from 1971. Dubbed “the Beast of Kincora”, McGrath allegedly raped several boys in his care, and was thought to be well connected with prominent British politicians.

McGrath was sentenced to four years in prison. He served two years of his sentence, and returned to political campaigning. He died in 1991/1992.

A fourth man, local politician Joshua Cardwell, committed suicide after he faced police questioning in 1982 regarding the alleged child abuse at Kincora.

Cover up – First Minister asks for assistance from David Cameron

Brian Gemmell was an intelligence officer in Northern Ireland during the 1970s. While gathering information on Loyalists, Mr Gemmell claims to have uncovered evidence of abuse at Kincora. In 1975, he handed a report to a senior MI5 official.

Mr Gemmell commented:

“I was summoned to go and see him. I went up thinking
he was going to be pleased with me. He bawled me
out. He was rude and offensive and hostile.”

The investigation into abuse at Kincora was halted indefinitely.

Sir Anthony Hart, a retired judge, is leading the investigation. Following an admission from Sir Hart that he does not possess the authority to uncover the truth, Peter Robinson, First Minister for Northern Ireland, has requested involvement from Westminster. The investigation is on-going.

Kincora – specialist support from Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you have experienced sexual abuse in relation to the Kincora scandal, and you would like expert legal guidance, contact Hampson Hughes solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email


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