KRW LAW LLP is instructed on behalf of number of clients who suffered sustained sexual abuse whilst ‘in the care of’ of the Kincora Boys’ Home and other institutions in Belfast during the Conflict. Our clients include Gary Hoy, Richard Kerr and Client Massey.


In 2015, KRW LAW LLP challenged the authority of the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry to investigate the serious allegations around the Kincora Boys’ Home in compliance with human rights standards including compelling evidence from former members of the British security forces.This challenge was rejected by the High Court and the Court of Appeal pending the outcome of the HIA. We continued to represent our clients in their engagement with the HIA.


Today, after being delivered to the OFMDF at Stormont, the Report of the HIA was published.


In his opening remarks the Chair of the HIA, Sir Anthony Hart, described the conditions of residential child care in Northern Ireland during the Conflict:


“The extreme violence and civil disorder in the 1970s and 1980s did not leave those responsible for child care. These factors are largely forgotten today although there were many failures. Those failings must be examined against the backdrop of the political, social and economic circumstances at the time”


Our clients were expecting an examination of the failures that lead to their abuse and a vindication of their accounts of ill-treatment at the Kincora Boy’s Home. Sir Anthony Hart said the HIA:


“Stripped away decades of half- truths masquerading as facts, in relation to Kincora and what state agencies did or did not do about (the abuse there)” and had “not found any credible evidence to show that there is any basis for the allegations or anything to show that the security agencies were complicit in any sort of sexual abuse” and “those residents of Kincora who were sexually abused by Mains, Semple and McGrath were let down by those three individuals, who committed sexual abuse of the gravest kind to teenage boys in their care” and “We are satisfied that McGrath was never an agent of the state. William McGrath was a sexual pervert who had political views of a bizarre type” and that McGrath was “minor player on a wider political stage who managed to create a spurious air of importance through Tara (a one-time Ulster loyalist movement). It was never more than an organisation of occasional interest to the security forces.” (See: BBC News NI 20 01 2017)


Sir Anthony Hart concluded by saying “The HIA inquiry was able to examine, in full, every file and document concerning Kincora Boys’ Home” and “had received the full co-operation of the PSNI but that was in ‘marked contrast to the unwillingness of some individuals.’” Sir Anthony Hart said the government’s assurance that all files and evidence on Kincora would be given to the inquiry had been ‘honoured’.

On behalf of our clients, KRW LAW LLP, without yet having had the opportunity to examine the Report in detail, continue to have concerns regarding the HIA investigation of Kincora, which was undertaken on the basis of undertakings and guarantees between the Inquiry and the Security Services.  The HIA will have proceeded in good faith but was reliant upon the good faith of the Security Services to provide all the necessary information to dispel the allegations regarding state knowledge and involvement in the abuse of our clients at Kincora.


There remain doubts whether the truth about Kincora – and the role of state agents – has been effectively investigated by the HIA – and whether the HIA could effectively investigate. Our clients – the Kincora victims – will continue to press for truth, justice and accountability after today’s Report.





Claire McKeegan