1985 Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Childrens Homes and Hostels by WH Hughes, WJ Patterson and H Whalley  aka The Report of the Hughes Inquiry into Kincora, the best known of the Kincora Reports was released by The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Northern Ireland) in response to a FOI request  at the end of August, about which I write this blog post 
This post is somewhat of a departure from other posts which have been about the release of institutional child sexual abuse Inquiry reports under Freedom of Information requests. This post tries to put that Report into some sort of context.
Although the Hughes report was shocking enough, revealing horrific long term child sexual abuse- it was limited by its terms of reference to looking at the social services, which stopped it looking at wider paedophile rings and the role of other agencies involved in the cover up of the child sexual abuse. It also was set up under local Northern Ireland Acts not wider ranging British Inquiry Acts. Therefore despite its revelations it was perceived as a whitewash.
Although the parapolitics in Northern Ireland are extreme and some pertinent to Northern Ireland alone, the fog of parapolitics, lies and cover up around North Wales child sexual abuse, Dunblane, Peter Righton, and other paedophile rings is not much less, and has been perhaps less well researched. The bright light of truth needs to shine upon child sexual abuse and its powerful establishment backers.
The rest of this blog is reprinted from Lobster Magazine No 10, probably published around 1985 and gives that wider context, necessary to understand why the child sexual abuse was allowed to continue so long. The Lobster was a journal of parapolitics, primarily covering the activities of the British Security and Intelligence Services. It was co-founded/edited by Robin Ramsay and Stephen Dorril and the archives are here  , imperfect but I have been told there are mirror sites. [update 21July 2014 the archives appear to be down, this is another link to the archives of the archives [3a]]. Here is a beginners guide to the complicated and seamy world of the parapolitics of Kincoras child abuse, with thanks to Lobster. cathyfox
The Lobster No.10 ..
In the present political climate the news of yet another (the fifth) inquiry into the
Kincora Boys Home scandal must be assumed to be yet another holding operation by
the British state. Even if the British state would now find some of the dirt buried there
useful to use against the Loyalist politicians in Northern Ireland, the ramifications are
so enormous and so dangerous that the entire episode remains a total ‘no-go’ area.
Below we reproduce two long articles, one directly related to Kincora and one which
throws some light on the milieu in which the scandal took place. These articles are,
literally, just the tip of an iceberg of colossal dimensions. When – if – all this comes
out it will make Watergate look relatively insignificant.
However, for the moment all we can offer is these two pieces, and it is appropriate that
it is the Ramsay half of the Lobster who is trying to write this introduction, because I
find the entire Kincora episode extremely difficult to get a grip on and suspect that
almost everyone else reading this does, too. This, then, is a beginner’s introduction to
Kincora, written by a beginner.
There are three major strands in the early part of the story. There was a boys home in
Belfast, called Kincora. Several of the male staff running Kincora were homosexuals
and assaulted some of the boys. Complaints were made as far back as 1967 but
nothing was done. One of the staff was William McGrath, who is the second strand.
McGrath tried to set up his very own Protestant paramilitary group called TARA.
Quite what TARA did, and whether it was McGrath’s idea alone, or something cooked
up by British intelligence, is not clear to me. TARA does look rather like what I can
only call a would-be paramilitary group. The second of the two documents refers to it
never getting beyond the planning stages. Whose planning isn’t clear.
The British state’s “security forces” are the third strand. They heard about the events at
Kincora (presumably through their contacts with the Loyalist-dominated Royal Ulster
Constabulary) and found it of interest (a) because of TARA qua paramilitary group;
(b) because in the little world of Orange politics McGrath knew many of the leading
figures; and (c) because, homosexuality being an offence in Northern Ireland, Kincora
– and its related events – offered potential for blackmail by the security forces.
Intimately involved in this was Colin Wallace, whose biography is given in the first of
the two documents. Wallace worked in/with – which isn’t yet clear – the Psyops
department of the British Army in Northern Ireland, appears to have become disgusted
with some of the things that were going on there, got forced out of his job and
eventually convicted of manslaughter. He claims he was framed. As the material
below shows the Psyops operations were directed against both Republican and
The second of the two pieces below is a reprint from the Irish Times of an internal
review of the Kincora episode written by Wallace while still working for the British
state. This document alone proves that all the subsequent official denials of a ‘coverup’
of the Kincora events are lies.
The first of the pieces is by, and about, Captain Fred Holroyd. Like Wallace he was
involved in, and became disgusted by some of the things that he witnessed in Northern
Ireland, and has subsequently blown the whistle on them via articles in the New
Statesman with Duncan Campbell and on Channel 4 TV. To some extent the
Wallace/Holroyd/Kincora stories are now interlinked.
The political significance of all this is impossible to exaggerate. The British public
(and many of its politicians) are still almost totally ignorant of the things that have
been done in Northern Ireland by the British state. As far as I am aware only Roger
Faligot (see above) and Kennedy Lindsay have produced substantial accounts of some
of the counter-insurgency operations in Northern Ireland, and these fragments from
Wallace and Holroyd serve to show that even Faligot and Lindsay’s accounts are still
scratching the surface.
If Holroyd’s account of battles within the British intelligence services hardly supports
Faligot’s claim that an integrated Kitsonesque regime was introduced in Northern
Ireland, the activities he describes here speak of a campaign savage enough. Holroyd’s
reference to cooperation between the British intelligence and security forces and some
of the Protestant paramilitary groups shows one operational response of the British
state to the problem of being ‘piggy in the middle’ – they joined forces with the side
which was, supposedly, ‘loyalist’. My enemy’s enemy is my friend.
If, at a micro-level, the ‘Loyalist’ paramilitary forces have on occasion been co-opted
by the British state, at a macro level they have mostly been an obstacle in the way of
any kind of solution to the ‘problem’. How the British government will deal with this
‘problem’ now that the deal has been struck with the Republic remains unclear. The
recent arms charges against a group of Protestants in Glasgow, and the appointment of
ex-SAS men to the top three positions in the British Army in Northern Ireland might
suggest that one’s assumption of a serious clamp-down on the Protestant paramilitaries
will turn out to be correct.
If there was ever a political poisoned chalice, it is the one currently being proffered the
Dublin Government by the British state.
Captain Fred Holroyd writes:
Captain Fred Holroyd, whose revelations of unlawful activities by members of the
Security Forces in Ulster in the early 1970s initiated an RUC and Garda inquiry, is
currently in correspondence with Mrs Thatcher. He has pointed out to her that the
Ulster Director of Public Prosecutions’ statement that “there was insufficient evidence
to bring charges against anyone” is simply not true. The Special Investigation Branch
(SIB) of the Royal Military Police carried out their own investigation of Holroyd’s
allegations and found them to be true. Ministry of Defence officials decided that only
a minimum of cooperation would be given to the RUC team in the hope that the
investigations would be dropped. This aim appears to have been achieved. However,
the case will not go away. The New Statesman, which published Holroyd’s allegations
after checking them out with TV’s Diverse Reports programme, has received a
statement, made in 1978, which not only confirms the allegations made, but also
describes how MI5 was responsible for a campaign of denigration against Holroyd
after he resigned his Commission in the Army.
This statement, which is highly detailed, was given to the safekeeping of a Surrey
solicitor in 1980 by none other than Colin Wallace, the civil servant employed at
Headquarters Northern Ireland until 1978 as “Head of Production Services” in the
notorious “black propaganda” unit, Information Policy.
Wallace is now aware that the RUC detectives who came to the Lewes Prison to
interview him on his knowledge of the Kincora affair, frequently left him to interview
Holroyd before returning to Ulster. These detectives were aware that Wallace knew
the background to Holroyd’s case, and could independently support his allegations, but
never once asked him to make a statement, nor indeed ever even mentioned Holroyd.
Wallace’s independent evidence was never mentioned by the RUC team to Holroyd; in
fact the detectives went to great lengths to try and convince Holroyd that they could
find no supporting evidence for his allegations. This extraordinary behaviour by
Superintendent George Caskey and his subordinates Inspectors Ronnie Mack and
Edward Cooke has not been explained, and can only lead to grave suspicions of yet
another cover-up of events of a politically embarrassing nature.
In January of this year (ie 1985) Wallace sent a comprehensive dossier to Mrs
Thatcher which included the material relating to Holroyd’s allegations. At this time the
RUC investigation had been going on for over two years and the Ulster Director of
Public Prosecutions’ decision to terminate it with no prosecutions was made on exactly
the same date as the Prime Minister’s office acknowledged receipt of the dossier. The
decision was made before the DPP could see the contents of the file. This sudden
decision, after two years, before the RUC had to accept the evidence independently
corroborating Holroyd’ s allegations, appears to support the belief in a Governmentinspired
Captain Holroyd was an officer in the Royal Corps of Transport, who, after
volunteering for “special duties”, was trained at the Joint Services of Intelligence
(JSSI) at Ashford in Kent as a Military Intelligence Officer (MIO). After three months
at JSSI at Templer Barracks (also the Depot of the Intelligence Corps), he was posted
to Ulster for three years. His unit was called the Special Military Intelligence Unit
(Northern Ireland) (SMIU, NI). Controlled from an office next door to the Head of
Special Branch RUC, at RUC HQ, Belfast, it was commanded in the 70’s by Lt. Col.
Brian Dixon and then Lt. Col. John Burgess, both of the Intelligence Corps.
These Commanding Officers, with a small staff, controlled a Military Intelligence
Officer (MIO) and his assistant, a Field Intelligence NCO (FINCO) attached to each
RUC Division, and a number of Liaison Intelligence NCO’s (LINCO) perhaps fifty
The prime role of the unit members was the passage of information and intelligence
between the Army and the RUC at all levels up to Brigade. However, some of the
successful operatives were recruited by Mr Craig Smellie of MI6, to operate on crossborder duties. Holroyd was one of this small group.
John Colin Wallace, an Ulsterman from Ballymena, was a civil servant employed at
Headquarters Northern Ireland. Initially his first contact with the Security Forces was
in the late 1960s when he gave up his job in pharmaceuticals and became a Public
Relations Officer (PRO) with the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR). When the present
troubles started in earnest he worked at HQNI at Lisburn. He was promoted and
became, in effect, the key officer at PRO.
In the early 1970s General Frank Kitson’s theories of information control in a counterinsurgency situation became very fashionable and there developed a period of
reorganisation in the PRO set up. Hugh Mooney of the Information Research
Department (IRD) was posted to Stormont to advise on the setting up of a secret
department to be used for psychological operations (PSYOPS). This unit was called
Information Policy and was given a legitimate role as a cover for its secret role. Lt.
Col. Jeremy Railton was the Commanding Officer (CO) and Colin Wallace was
ordered to attend a rigged application interview for the job of “Head of Production
Services”. (The interview was necessary to conform with Civil Service regulations.)
Production Services, having comprehensive printing facilities, provided forgeries of
various sorts – driving licenses (Holroyd’s Eire driving license in a false name, for
example), CIA identity cards, posters, press ID cards, bank statements and so on.
Information Policy (Inf Pol) went into the psyops arena with smear campaigns against
political figures and other individuals selected by MI5 (Denis Payne) and MI6
(Douglas Allen) working at Stormont. As so often happens in this kind of
unaccountable work, as time went on more and more senior people wanted tasks done,
and conflicts of interest caused Wallace – as the man in the middle – problems.
Ultimately he had to face the problem of the MI5 officers wanting to use the “dirty
tricks” facilities, not to defeat terrorism in Ulster, but against legitimate politicians in
England. He also had to live with the knowledge of the Intelligence link with the
Kincora Boys Home, and his unauthorised briefings of the Irish press (albeit
encouraged off the record by disgusted Army officers) led him to become regarded as
a threat to some members of the Intelligence community.
Fred Holroyd was also having problems with his contemporaries in the Brigade area
centred on Lurgan. His written Army charter clearly laid down that his prime loyalty
should be to the RUC Special Branch, but 3 Infantry Brigade Commander, Colin
Wallis-King, and his Intelligence Staff, saw Holroyd as a “Trojan Horse” who could
penetrate RUC Intelligence and pass it on for Army Brigade to exploit. After seeking
advice from his CO at SMIU (NI), Holroyd refused to be used in this way, incurring
hostility and subsequently non-cooperation from HQ 3 Brigade.
Holroyd, although strictly obeying his charter, was aware that his RUC colleagues
were far from being impartial policemen. Time after time Loyalist terrorists would
operate without any serious attempt by the RUC to impede or catch them. On the few
occasions when Loyalists were caught red-handed, police action was minimised and
the culprits were soon back in action. One specific Special Branch officer handled
Loyalist terrorist affairs. His lack of impartiality was commented upon initially in an
unfavourable way by HQ 3 Brigade. But in the middle 1970s the covert SAS troop
based at Castledillon, and controlled by 3 Brigade, were operating hand in glove with
this officer. This was at a time when murders and political assassinations became
rampant and “own goals” like the bomb which went off at the ambush of the Miami
Show Band, revealed the participation of Loyalists from Portadown.
Holroyd also became aware of a series of “dirty tricks” being carried out by HQ 3
Brigade – weapon “planting”, arms cache booby-trapping, blackmail and coercion,
kidnapping and the like. After making known his feelings about these activities,
Holroyd began to experience a series of odd incidents, remarkably similar to those
experienced by Colin Wallace, who had also been making the point that unlawful
activities, especially those involving innocent people, were absolutely counter
productive to the forces of law and order and would eventually lead to a lack of belief
in their credibility.
It would appear that the element of MI5 at Stormont and HQNI, who by 1975 had
taken control of intelligence in the province after a bitter struggle with MI6, decided
that either Holroyd and Wallace became implicated with the “dirty tricks” exponents,
or, alternatively, they would have to be removed, and, if necessary, discredited so that
any revelations that they might make, would not be believed. Both men were
approached and asked to carry out unlawful tasks. Holroyd was given an
unattributable weapon by WO2 Eric Hollis, Intelligence Collator at HQ 3 Brigade and
asked to plant it on a victim. In fact he handed it to the RUC Special Branch. Wallace
was asked to prepare a paper codenamed Clockwork Orange 2, a feasibility study
designed to be used to discredit British politicians in England. (Clockwork Orange 1
was a study of methods of discrediting Ulster public figures, used most effectively by
the Security Forces.)
Wallace’s prevarications led to what can be considered stage 2 of MI5’s policy: both
Wallace and Holroyd were informed quite separately that their “covers” had been
blown and that they were in grave danger of assassination. It was suggested to them
both that it was in everyone’s interests if they left the Province and returned to
England. Holroyd was able to prove to the staff of HQ 3 Brigade, who were the
executor’s of MI5’s plan in this case, that this proposition was nonsense. Wallace, who
also realized that no new events pointed to his being assassinated, also made
objections to being posted.
More extreme measures were called for and now MI5 decided that whatever was
necessary to be done, would be, in order to remove the perceived threat of these
outspoken critics of MI5’s policies.
This report originally appeared in the Irish Times in June 1985, as part of a series of
articles by Ed Maloney and Andy Pollak – to whom all credit for taking this story
The report was written by – the original is initialled by – Colin Wallace in November
1974. The editing out of names was done by the Irish Times . As their introduction to
the piece said, it “sharply contradicts every British Government assurance that there
was no cover-up of the affair nor any knowledge of it in British military circles.”
Confidential to: – (—)November 8th 1974.
“TARA” – Reports Regarding Criminal Offences Associated with the Homosexual
Community in Belfast.
Reference A: Attached RUC background paper on “TARA”
Reference B: Attached RUC report on the death of Brian McDermott.
Reference C: Your request for a press investigation into the matters referred to above.
1. Reference A adds nothing of real significance to what we already know of the
background to “TARA”. Furthermore, it contains a number of inaccuracies and
there are various items of important information missing from it. It is difficult
to say whether these flaws are the result of poor Intelligence or whether they
are disinformation provided for our consumption.
2. If we are to interest the press in this matter with a view to exposing what has
been taking place and thereby stopping further assaults in these hostels, then I
would strongly advise that we make use of our own background information
and exclude the rather contentious and, indeed, politically suspect material
contained in the above. As you know I did try to develop press interest in this
matter last year but without any success. I also feel that it is difficult to justify
our interest in what is purely a police and political matter because, in my
opinion, TARA is no longer of any security interest.
3. In theory TARA was basically a credible concept from a loyalist paramilitary
point of view, but it never progressed beyond the planning stage. Such a body
could, no doubt, have made good use of the Orange Order’s normal selection
and “vetting” ‘ system for screening potential recruits, and it would have had
ready-made facilities for clandestine training by making use of the Orange
halls throughout the province. The idea failed for a number of reasons, mainly
because of William McGrath’s rather strange political views which are more
akin to Irish Nationalism than Unionism, and the fact that other organisations
which appeared to be more in keeping with the needs of the loyalist community
at that time, sprang up during the period.
4. Reference A deals with McGrath’s background in considerable detail but it is
inaccurate in a number of respects. The Kincora hostel in Newtonards Road
where he works was opened in 1959 under the control and administration of
Belfast Corporation welfare department. He does not, as the paper claims, “run
the hostel” – he is employed as a “housefather”. The warden of Kincora is
Joseph Mains and the deputy warden is Raymond Semple. Mains was
appointed in 1959 and Semple in 1964. Both men are known homosexuals.
Indeed various allegations of homosexual assault on the inmates were
investigated by senior —— —– in 1967 but no action was taken against
anyone. (See notes of a report by Mr —- at flag ‘N”)
5. It is untrue to say that allegations of assaults on the inmates of Kincora ‘”began
shortly after his appointment”. As I have pointed out in para 4 above,
allegations were made as early as 1967 and there is also evidence that assaults
may have taken place as early as 1959, soon after Mains was appointed.
6. Reference A claims that McGrath “is a known homosexual” but it avoids any
mention of his links with other key figures in the local homosexual community,
other than to insinuate that a number of well known political personalities with
whom he came into contact were also homosexuals. For example, in para 6 of
reference A, it is claimed that McGrath left his previous employment “……….”
whereas our information would tend to indicate that ………. is well known in
unionist party circles (see also……….) and was for some time…………. (see flag
“M”) ………. and McGrath ………. and ………. has been actively engaged in
trying to have McGrath removed from Kincora ‘s own version of events (see
flag “0”) is, of course, very enlightening, but I would suggest that it should be
treated with caution until it can be substantiated because of the antagonism
between them. It would also appear that many of the RUC source reports on
this matter after 1971 originated from ……….
7. McGrath was himself the subject of an internal investigation by the Belfast
Corporation welfare department in 1972-73, following allegations of more
homosexual assaults on the inmates of Kincora. One of our own sources
confirmed in 1972 that a number of complaints had been received about his
behaviour and that although the complaints had been passed to ………. and to
the RUC, no action had been taken against him. This would appear to be
confirmed, to some extent, by Mr……. (see flag “R”) in 1973.
There were of course similar allegations relating to other hostels during this
period (see Bawnmore, Westwinds, Burnside etc) and this conflicts with
reference A’s assertion that the allegations were confined to Kincora.
8. It should be remembered that the 1967 Sexual Offences Act does NOT apply to
Northern Ireland and homosexual intercourse between adults or with minors is
a criminal offence. The apparent lack of interest, therefore, by the welfare
authorities and the RUC is quite remarkable. Furthermore the claim made by
Mrs ….. (see flag “Q”) that key individuals in the …… were themselves
homosexuals and thus ………. but also covered up the offences that took place
and protected the offenders, requires very serious examination. In particular, I
view her allegations about Joss Cardwell with great concern because it
illustrates the political difficulties we are likely to face if we become involved.
9. Reference B which deals with the circumstances surrounding the murder of
Brian McDermott last year puts forward the theory that the killing had both
sexual and witchcraft overtones. The only link that can be identified between
the murder and the homosexual community is via John McKeague (see flag
“S”). McKeague’s own statements raise more questions than they answer.
Certainly his boast that he will not be prosecuted because “he knows too much
about some people” merits serious investigation, but I suspect that he will not
be prepared to talk until he is released. It is also rather remarkable that no
charges have been preferred against him ……
Our own investigations of instances of alleged witchcraft or other satanic rites
in the province would tend to dismiss the RUC’s theory that Brian McDermott’s
murder could be part of these activities. In the past “black magic” practices etc
have been mainly confined to groups operating from republican areas, with the
possible exception of three cases in C. Antrim. I think, however, that from a
press point of view we would be very foolish to give any credence to such
claims without the most convincing evidence. The forensic reports on the
McDermott murder (see flag ‘T’) would tend to indicate that someone tried to
dispose of the body by cutting it into pieces and burning them. The insinuation
made in the document regarding the boy’s disappearance, and the proximity of
………. is dangerous nonsense.
10.Reference A claims that a number of key personalities in the political arena
“are aware of the Kincora situation and, in particular of McGrath’s
background.” It does not explain the extent of their awareness nor of each
individual’s involvement with McGrath. In summary it would appear that the
document is claiming that:
a. … … of the Grand Orange Lodge are aware of the situation because of
the discussions and correspondence relating to McGrath within the
Orange Order. It is further alleged that …….. and ………. have blocked
any action against McGrath.
b. ……….. is aware of the situation but has failed to take any action because
of the possible blackmail pressure owing to his connection with
McGrath,……. and John McKeague. On the face of it the statements
made by ………. and ………. (see flag “F”) would tend to support only
part of such a claim. There are also a number of inconsistencies:
McGrath would appear to be strongly anti-communist and anti-UVF
and this conflicts with the document’s views on links with Tommy
Herron, Ernie ‘Duke’ Elliot, ‘The Ulster Citizens Army” etc.
c. Various public and political figures who hold positions of power and
who are also homosexuals protect each other from prosecution. The
claim of a prostitution ring involving juveniles is not really
substantiated other than by ……….’s own personal account. It would be
interesting to check, however, the number of charges brought against
people involved in homosexual activities in greater Belfast area in the
last 5 years. I also think the RUC report on drug abuse in this
connection merits close examination because this is a natural area of
fund raising of terrorists. There is, of course, the obvious problem of
security with the possible blackmailing of civil servants, politicians etc.
Conclusions and recommendations
I am very far from happy with the quality of the information on this matter, and I am
even more unhappy because of the, as yet unexplained, failure of the RUC or the NIO
to take on this task.
I find it very difficult to accept that the RUC consistently failed to take action on such
serious allegations unless that (sic) had specifically received some form of policy
direction. Such direction could only have come from a very high political or police
level. If that is the case then we should be even more wary about getting involved.
On the other hand, if the allegations are true then we should do everything possible to
ensure that the situation is not allowed to continue. The youngsters in these hostels
almost certainly come from problem families, and it is clear that no one will fight their
fight unless we do. Those responsible for the murder of Brian McDermott must be
brought to trial before another child is killed, and if it can be proved that there is a
connection with this homosexual group, then the RUC must be forced to take action
irrespective of who is involved.
I would therefore recommend that:
a. We make one final attempt to get the RUC to investigate the matter or at least
discuss the matter with RUCLO.
b. We obtain very clear and unambiguous authority from London to proceed with
a press disclosure.
c. We approach a responsible journalist whom we are confident will make a
thorough investigation of the matter and not simply write a sensational type
story purely on the information he is given.
d. We continue to look for additional information on this matter to ensure that we
are not just being used as part of some political disinformation scheme.
J.C.Wallace (Senior Information Officer)
[Psychological Warfare (PSYWAR), or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations (PSYOP), have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds”, and Propaganda. Various techniques are used, by any set of groups, and aimed to influence a target audience’s value systems, belief systems, emotions, motives, reasoning, or behavior. It is used to induce confessions or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator’s objectives, and are sometimes combined with black operations or false flag tactics]
Links and References
 Hughes Report https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/168038/response/423056/attach/4/Report%20of%20the%20Committee%20of%20Inquiry%20into%20Children%20s%20Homes%20and%20Hostels%20the%20Hughes%20Inquiry%2031%2012%201985.PDF.pdf
 FOI Request Hughes report https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/hughes_report_kincora#outgoing-295892
 Lobster Archives http://www.rogerdog.co.uk/
[3a] Archive of Lobster archives http://web.archive.org/web/20131203032139/http://www.rogerdog.co.uk/
 cathyfox blog Hughes Report https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/hughes-report-1985-into-sexual-abuse-at-kincora/
cathyfox the truth will out Child Sexual Abuse – Britains shameful secret