Northern Ireland

Children sexually assaulted weeks after arriving at Kincora Boys' Home

The former Kincora Boys home on the Upper Newtonards Road, Belfast
The former Kincora Boys home on the Upper Newtonards Road, Belfast

VULNERABLE children were sexually assaulted just weeks after arriving at Kincora Boys' Home, a public inquiry has heard.

Detailed and graphic accounts of a litany of abuse by staff members during the 1970s were given to the Historical institutional abuse inquiry (HIA) which is examining allegations of state sponsored child prostitution and cover up.

In statements, boys described how house master Raymond McGrath preyed on them as they watched television, while they were in bed and in the bathroom.

For some it was a frequent occurrence, the inquiry was told.

It was further claimed that after assaulting boys, McGrath would walk away laughing.

One victim, referred to as KIN49 said: "Boys warned new boys that McGrath would try to touch them."

Some boys described being scared of McGrath, while others said they were too embarrassed or disgusted to tell welfare workers.

Another victim, R12 who did not speak out until 1980, said: "I didn't know what I was doing was wrong, but I did not like it what he was doing. I was frightened."

McGrath was jailed in 1981 along with Kincora warden Joseph Mains and deputy warden Raymond Semple after admitting abusing boys.

It is widely believed McGrath, who also led the shadowy Protestant paramilitary organisation Tara, was working as an MI5 agent.

There have been persistent rumours that boys at Kincora were prostituted as part of a high ranking vice ring involving prominent people.

It is further claimed the British security services knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it, instead using the information to blackmail and extract intelligence from the influential men – including senior politicians, who were the perpetrators.

However, none of those whose statements have been read to the inquiry so far, have said they were aware of any such practice at Kincora.

A man known as R10, who spent four years at the home from 1973 to 1977, said: "I did not know of any politicians, police officers, justices of the peace, businessmen or civil servants being involved in any way at all with the hostel, staff or boys."