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Newton: Kincora's exclusion from UK child abuse inquiry is unforgivable

By Gary Fennelly and PA

Published 24/07/2015

Theresa Villiers says the best forum to examine claims of political involvement in Kincora is a Stormont-established inquiry
Theresa Villiers says the best forum to examine claims of political involvement in Kincora is a Stormont-established inquiry

East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton said it is 'unforgivable' that the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has maintained her position that Kincora should not be included within the Goddard child abuse inquiry.

On Thursday Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said the disclosure of secret state files on abuse allegations at the notorious Belfast boys home will not prompt a Government re-think on its exclusion from a UK abuse inquiry.

East Belfast's DUP MLA Robin Newton
East Belfast's DUP MLA Robin Newton

Theresa Villiers said the right place for the new files to go was the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA).

Mr Newton, a member of the Policing Board, said: "The Secretary of State's stance is unforgivable. Theresa Villiers is hiding behind the excellent work being done by Sir Anthony Hart within his Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry knowing that its powers are limited.

"Given the suspected strong security links about Kincora's evil past it's her duty to diligently pursue the Westminster paper trail. Whist the Government has said it will give the 'fullest possible' cooperation with the HIA, Sir Anthony Hart has previously said (18-7-14) that the HIA 'does not have sufficient powers' in its present form to investigate issues relating to the Army or MI5. 

"The suspicions around political and security figures along with both local and London based people needs to be fully explored. Everything about this house of shame needs to be brought out in open including those who turned a blind eye."

Mr Newton added that the failure of Ms Villiers to strongly argue the case for the Kincora victims' inclusion within the Goddard abuse inquiry is 'failing the victims and only keeps the lid on the secrets of Kincora'. 

"I can't imagine how those who endured the vile cruelty, both physical and mental, feel when they see channels to uncover the truth being closed off."

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Kincora Boys Home in Belfast
Kincora Boys Home in Belfast

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Ms Villiers said the best forum to examine claims of political involvement in a paedophile ring that operated from Kincora was an on-going Stormont-established inquiry, chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, not the nationwide probe being chaired by New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard.

Campaigners for Kincora's inclusion in the UK-wide inquiry have highlighted that the Northern Ireland-specific probe does not have the powers to compel security services witnesses to give evidence or produce documents.

"The Hart inquiry is doing an exceptionally good job," Ms Villiers said. "We feel that is the right forum to investigate these despicable events which took place at Kincora.

"Like everyone else we want to ensure that the truth is discovered, that these events are fully investigated and we believe the Hart inquiry is the best forum to do that."

Paedophiles abused boys from the Kincora home in east Belfast during the 1970s.

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While three staff members were convicted in 1981, it has long been alleged that well-known figures in the British establishment - including senior politicians - were also involved.

Moreover, it has been claimed that the UK security services knew about the crimes but did nothing to stop them, instead using the knowledge to blackmail and extract intelligence from influential men who were committing abuse.

Amnesty International is among campaigners making fresh calls for Kincora's inclusion in Justice Goddard's inquiry following the discovery of a series of confidential government files.

The Home Office said the papers were uncovered during a fresh search of the archives, carried out after a file emerged that should have been submitted to a Government-established inquiry examining whether evidence linking prominent figures to child abuse was deliberately destroyed.

The contents of the freshly-located files have not been made public but the Cabinet Office has provided brief descriptions.

The papers included a file about former Northern Ireland minister and Conservative MP Sir William Van Straubenzee which also "contained references to the Kincora boys home".

Another group of papers contain allegations made by former military intelligence officer Colin Wallace about Kincora. It is known that Mr Wallace claimed the intelligence services blocked police investigations in the 1970s into alleged abuse at the home.

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The Cabinet Office said that group of papers also references Mr Van Straubenzee, as well as former cabinet minister Leon Brittan; Peter Morrison, an aide to Margaret Thatcher; and ex-diplomat and former deputy director of MI6, Sir Peter Hayman.

A former resident of Kincora, Gary Hoy, is currently making a legal challenge against the Government's refusal to include the facility in the Justice Goddard probe.

Ms Villiers said all relevant documentation was being made available to the Hart inquiry.

"The Government is determined to do all it can to co-operate with the Hart inquiry on these matters and provide whatever we can in terms of disclosure," she said.

"That's what is happening and we are determined to make sure we do all we can to co-operate with a thorough investigation into these matters by the Hart inquiry."

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Amnesty's Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan questioned the Government's stance.

"Nothing less than a full public inquiry - with all the powers of compulsion which that brings - can finally reveal what happened at Kincora," he said.

"It is not too late for the Government to reconsider its position."

A number of Kincora residents expressed concern at the discovery of the documents.

Kevin Winters, a solicitor representing the men, said it appeared that Kincora was at "the centre of a sex ring of institutional abuse" used by members of the British establishment and senior figures within the loyalist community in Northern Ireland.

"Our clients have no faith in the HIA (Stormont's Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry) in being able to effectively investigate these matters to the necessary human rights standards," he said.

"Now the Cabinet Office in London has seen fit to pass files relating to Kincora to the HIA.

"Previously this had not been possible because they 'were discovered because they had not been properly catalogued' - whatever that means."

He added: "It is clear that these documents support the demands of our clients for an independent statutory inquiry into Kincora - with full victim participation and compliant with human rights standards required of such investigations when human violations of the most appalling kind are the subject of judicial scrutiny.

"As part of this process complete disclosure of relevant material held by the British Government must be made available to the representatives of the victims so that their rights to truth, justice and accountability can be secured to partially assuage the stains of the crimes against them."

Further reading

Vishal Mehrotra: Probe into boy's death should be reopened says father  

Bishop names Enoch Powell in paedophile ring, satanic worship scandal

Royal family member was investigated as part of paedophile ring before cover-up, ex-cop says

Kincora: Theresa May accused over sex abuse probe 'snub'

Theresa May: Child abuse runs through British society like 'a stick of Blackpool rock'  

Metropolitan Police to be investigated over claims of child sex abuse cover-ups because MPs and officers were involved

Anonymous promise 'Nightmare on Elite Street' for public figures accused of child sex abuse cover-up

Russell Brand asks 'is the establishment riddled with paedophiles?' in latest Trews YouTube video

Margaret Thatcher stopped officials publicly naming Sir Peter Hayman as suspected paedophile


Kincora: Theresa May accused over sex abuse probe 'snub'

Kincora: Calls to add child abuse at Belfast boys home to Westminster VIP paedophile probe

Richard Kerr: I was molested by powerful people at Dolphin Square and Elm Guest House in London  

Intelligence officer Brian Gemmell sorry for failing to pursue Richard Kerr's case

Kincora: Without protection, Richard Kerr is afraid to tell all

Child sex abuse victims must not be collateral damage  

Kincora: Only a full inquiry will do  

Kincora victim Richard Kerr in explosive new claims as he returns to horror house 30 years on  

'I'm haunted by survivor's guilt... it helps to have my story heard'  

Kincora children trafficked throughout UK, claims former resident Richard Kerr  

Kincora: Justice Goddard's inquiry offers the only viable option for justice, Naomi Long  

Calls grow for probe to cover Kincora  

I will reveal the secrets, says ex-Army officer Colin Wallace

Kincora: MI5 knew about it but did nothing, that much is certain  

Full story of Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast yet to be told, says child sex abuse victim

Kincora: Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt joins calls for inquiry into abuse at boys' home

Baroness's brother 'tried to limit probe into Kincora'

Kincora: MI5 'must hand over files on abuse at east Belfast boys' home'

Ian Paisley's dead pastor friend linked to sexual abuse of children  

Editor's viewpoint: We must know truth of Kincora

Child abuse inquiry must look at Kincora Boys' Home, says Amnesty International

MI5 'blocked exposure of Kincora sex abuse scandal'

Kincora Boy's Home scandal: South African intelligence 'secretly backed loyalist paramilitary group Tara'

Kincora Boys' Home scandal: journalist Peter McKenna dies

State papers: The perjury that allowed Kincora suspect preacher to walk

Westminster’s dark secret: abuse of children, adultery, homosexuality and sadomasochism were all seemingly lumped together

Civil servant Mark Sedwill admits Home Office 'probably' destroyed paedophile dossiers  

Westminster child abuse dossier: Geoffrey Dickens also gave copy of file to top prosecutor Sir Thomas Hetherington - so why did DPP fail to act on evidence of paedophile ring?  

Historic child abuse files missing

Tory peer Lord Brittan defends handling of 1980s sex abuse dossier

Abuse claims police matter - Clegg

Abuse probe 'into soul of society'

From the archives

Kincora: Sex racket at children's home (Irish Independent, 1980)

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