Monday, September 25, 2017

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Kincora Can Of Worms

The Protestant Loyal Orders, especially the Orange, should embrace its specific rich history with the Irish language instead of going down the road of promoting the Ulster-Scots dialect. In his latest Fearless Flying Column, controversial political commentator, Dr John Coulter, asks if there is another motive for the Order seemingly turning its back on the Irish language.

It was a past war of words between the Orange and the Pink which had the capacity to leave the Unionist establishment and British intelligence very red faced which has me wondering why the Protestant Loyal Orders, and especially the Orange Order, seem so vehemently opposed to the Irish language.

After all, it’s only a matter of a few decades that the annual Belfast Twelfth demonstration played host to Ireland’s Heritage lodge, which had the Irish language proudly emblazoned on its banner.

Let’s also factor into this debate the fact that some sections of Christian fundamentalism have been exceptionally vocal in condemning the annual Belfast gay pride march.

But some of these same Bible thumpers have been strangely quiet when it comes to demanding a full-scale Stormont (that’s if we had a working Assembly in the first place!) inquiry into one of the biggest homosexual abuse scandals in the North – Kincora Boys’ Home in East Belfast.

The Orange went purple with rage when leading global gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell once suggested the Order’s icon King Billy was queer.

This was probably Pink pay back because of Paisley Junior and Iris Robinson’s utterances on homosexuality.

The Order, Christian churches and DUP MLAs especially could round off the North’s future week of Pink by exposing Orange involvement in the Kincora scandal. Is this the real reason why the Order is so opposed to any Irish Language Act? If the Order was to boast about its rich Irish language roots, up pops the ghosts of Kincora.

The main focus has been on the activities of William McGrath, the home’s house father, dubbed the Beast of Kincora because of his paedophile convictions for sexually abusing young boys in his care.

Although McGrath was jailed for his heinous crimes in the 1980s, when he died of cancer years later, he took many secrets to his grave – including whether Kincora was actually a British intelligence ‘sting’.

In his heyday, McGrath had been an influential figure within the Protestant community. As Kincora house father, he would have known who was allegedly abusing the young boys.

McGrath, notorious for his Hell-fire sermons and Bible classes, formed his own loyalist terror group, Tara. It campaigned for all Catholic chapels and schools to be closed.

He was especially active in the Orange, and was a leading member of Ireland’s Heritage, one of the few lodges to have the Irish language on its banner.

He was also viewed as a British agent, reportedly using his position in Kincora to gather intelligence on the private lives of key people in the Unionist and Orange community.

And anyone with serious knowledge of the Kincora ‘sting’ got mysteriously murdered.

Could that be why activists might hesitate about lobbying Stormont MLAs for an Assembly inquiry?

One of the North’s most openly gay loyalists was John McKeague, editor of the anti-Catholic hate sheet Loyalist News, and founder of the vicious death squad The Red Hand Commando.

As an active homosexual, McKeague must have known about the Kincora scandal. But before he had the chance to ‘blow the whistle’, the INLA shot him dead outside his shop in January 1982 deep in the heart of loyalist East Belfast.

A matter of weeks earlier in November 1981, South Belfast Unionist MP Rev Robert Bradford was murdered by the Provos.

One theory is that Bradford was ‘taken out’ because he had information on the alleged Kincora spy ring and was about to use his Parliamentary privilege to name names.

Some of the biggest political names in Unionist and British politics were linked to Kincora, either involved in the activities or knew about the abusers. They are now all dead.

These included top English blue blood Louis Mountbatten, killed by an IRA bomb on his boat in 1979, as well as exposed Russian spy Anthony Blunt.

In Ireland, similar fingers of suspicion about their knowledge of Kincora were pointed at former South Antrim MP Knox Cunningham, former Orange Grand Master John Bryans, former Belfast County Orange boss Tom Passmore, and ex-North Down MP Jim Kilfedder; again all dead.

Two themes linked all the dead, except Bradford – their alleged closet homosexuality and their keen interest in the extreme Right wing cult of British Israelism.

This cult maintains Ulster Protestants are descended from the Biblical lost tribes of Israel. Bradford, though, was a known British Israelite and may have stumbled on the Kincora links through this.

The big question remains – how much did senior figures within Unionism, the Orange Order and the Bible bashing churches know about Kincora?

With same-sex marriage now the hot topic for debate, let’s shed a spotlight on one of the darkest episodes in Ireland’s grim past and re-open the Kincora can of worms.

  • Follow John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter


jgr33n said...

It should never be too late to investigate the abuse of children - the victims of Kincora deserve it.

Steve R said...

While I agree Kincora should be investigated thoroughly, 'Dr' Coulter lets slip his own prejudices when he equates gay people with pedophiles.

"As an active homosexual, McKeague must have known about the Kincora scandal"

Really, John? Do gay people have a sort of pedo radar then?

Back to the Irish language, unfortunately it's been politicized by the usual culprits. I don't think we should be spending lots of cash to make it widespread in the various machinations of society yet, it would be far more sensible to offer Irish language classes right across the Primary education system. That way the next generation of kids can decide if they want to pursue it for High School or further. What's the point at the moment of trying for parity when only 10% of NI have an understanding of it and about 5 thousand use it daily? I would have loved the chance to learn it as a kid.

DaithiD said...

They need to shame them Brass Eye style :
"...You are a paedophile, you are a nonce, you're a perv, you're a slot badger, you're a two pin din plug, you're a bush dodger, you're a small bean regarder, you're an unabummer, you're a nut administrator, you're a bent ref, you're the crazy world of Arthur Brown, you're a fence foal, you're a free willy, you're a chimney bottler, you're a bunty man, you're a shrub rocketeer..."