A major scandal erupted in Northern Ireland last night on allegations of an 'official cover-up' over the recruiting of boys at a Belfast children's home for homosexual prostitution.
The matter is to be raised at Westminster by Independent MP Gerry Fitt, who was 'shocked to the core' by the reports.
"If these allegations are true, there has been some kind of Watergate cover-up and those responsible should be brought to book."
The shock allegations about the home on the outskirts of the city resulted in a police report being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. But no action was taken and reports on certain cases were destroyed under orders from a senior member of the Social Services Department, it is claimed.
A member of the staff at the boys home is alleged to be involved with a loyalist paramilitary group.
Officials in the Health Department were told this, but he has retained his job despite being suspected of encouraging children to engage in homosexual acts for money, and accepting payments for pimping.
The police reports name a number of important Northern Ireland business men as being involved.
So far, one of the children involved is alleged to have committed suicide, and another - now living with an elderly homosexual - is said to have attempted suicide.
Mr Fitt said: "I am prepared to raised this matter at Westminster and call for a full inquiry."
The situation first came to light in 1977. One boy who knew of the child prostitution is said not to have received any support from social workers when he faced a criminal charge - because it was thought advisable to have him locked up where he could not talk.
Files on the allegations currently exists in two police stations, Strandtown and Donegall Pass, Belfast.
A detective at the Strandtown station is understood to have conducted an intensive investigation into the boys' home and the staff member under suspicion, and to have worked on the report that was sent to the DPP.
A number of people with vital information are ironically forbidden under the Official Secrets Act from revealing what they know about the crimes and official cover up.
Since the police inquiry, two Justices of the Peace in Belfast have continued to send boys to the home.
Children at the centre range from 10 to 17. Some of the alleged offences are claimed to have involved boys as young as 12.
Last night, a reliable source claimed that the man suspected of having made large amounts of money by 'hiring out' boys, still held a senior position at the home.
Source: Irish Independent, Vol. 89 No.20, 1980