By staff reporter
An ex- army intelligence officer has claimed he was told to stop investigating sexual abuse at a boys’ home in Belfast during the 1970s.
Brian Gemmell told the BBC he was ordered in 1975 to stop his investigation into Kincora Boys’ Home in East Belfast by a senior MI5 officer, after he presented a report on the allegations.
In 1981, three senior care staff at the home were jailed for abusing 11 boys.
Mr Gemmell claimed he discovered the abuse through two sources, including an agent called Royal Flush, while he was gathering information about loyalist paramilitaries.
The claims have come to light during a public inquiry in Northern Ireland into institutional child abuse between 1922 and 1995, which was almost suspended last month due to a lack of money as coalition parties fought over the latest budget.
Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, who is leading the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, has said the inquiry “does not have sufficient powers” in its present form to investigate issues linked to the army or MI5.
He said: “There may be benefits to the UK-wide inquiry examining the relevant allegations into Kincora Boys’ Home.”
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson said he wanted a full investigation into the abuses that occurred in Kincora.
He said: “Having received this communication from Sir Anthony, it is clear that the proper route to fully investigate the abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home is to have it included in our United Kingdom’s Child Abuse Inquiry.
“I will be writing to the Prime Minister and alerting him to Sir Anthony’s concerns.
“I will be urging the Prime Minister to ensure that Kincora is included in the terms of reference governing the inquiry established by Her Majesty’s Government.”