Loyalists have harboured within their ranks some of the most notorious deviants in Northern Ireland’s history. These include John McKeague, who led the Red Hand Commando terror group for a short time in the early Seventies. British military intelligence was aware of McKeague’s taste for young boys and used it to blackmail him into becoming an informer.
McKeague was aware through his links with other loyalist paedophiles, particularly the Orangeman William McGrath, of the child abuse going on at Kincora’s boys’ home in east Belfast.
In 1982 McKeague was about to go public about the role of British intelligence in blackmailing paedophiles like McGrath, Kincora’s housemaster, when he was shot dead by the INLA.
When McGrath’s regime of abuse became public, he was allowed to retire to the outskirts of loyalist east Belfast. None of the loyalist paramilitary groups took any action against him.
According to the memo, Mr Havers learned that the RUC was investigating three separate aspects of the Kincora affair.
“The first concerned a man… who in 1972 was falsely acquitted on the basis of perjured evidence; the file on his case has subsequently been destroyed by a bomb,” the memo reports.
Mr Havers was also told how the man may have withheld information on a notorious murder which took place nine years earlier.
The body of 10-year-old Brian McDermott was discovered in a sack in the River Lagan in September, 1973. No one was ever convicted of the killing. The meeting was told that the information provided “conflicted with what the RUC had previously told ministers and officials”.
In January 1982 McKeague was interviewed by detectives investigating Kincora about his involvement in the sexual abuse. Fearful of returning to prison McKeague told friends that he was prepared to name others involved in the paedophile ring to avoid a sentence.[ Dillon, The Trigger Men, pp. 118–119] However on 29 January 1982, the INLA shot McKeague dead in his shop on the Albertbridge Road, East Belfast.[Dillon, The Trigger Men, p. 119] It has been argued that following McKeague’s threats to go public about all of those involved in Kincora his killing had been ordered by Military Intelligence as many of those who could have named were also agents, and a number of them more productive than McKeague, who by that time was highly peripheral to loyalism. To support this suggestion it has been stated that of the two gunmen who shot McKeague one was a known Special Branch agent and the other was rumoured to have Military Intelligence links. [Jack Holland & Henry McDonald, INLA – Deadly Divisions, Torc, 1994, pp. 199–200]