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UK child abuse inquiry must look at Kincora

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 24/07/2015

This property in East Belfast was formerly Kincora boys home
This property in East Belfast was formerly Kincora boys home

The Kincora sex scandal has been in the public domain for almost 40 years and still the young boys who were abused there have been denied full justice. No one still believes that the three staff members at the east Belfast home who were jailed in 1981 for crimes against 11 youngsters were the only abusers.

In fact, they might now be viewed as the scapegoats for a much wider paedophile ring that reaches into the higher echelons of the British Establishment.

Recently released papers from the Home Office show that allegations by a former intelligence officer who served in Northern Ireland that the Kincora scandal had been hushed up by the intelligence services of the time had been known and noted at the very heart of the Westminster Government.

The papers also mention by name Sir Maurice Oldfield, head of both MI5 and MI6 security agencies, who a boy abused at the home now says he remembers meeting there. Others mentioned in the papers include two former Government ministers, a former civil servant and a former diplomat.

Other allegations which have surfaced recently include claims that boys were taken from the home to residences in England where they were abused before being flown back to Northern Ireland.

All these allegations have yet to be tested, never mind proved, but such is the persistence of the claims and the range of people making them, there is no doubt that they must be thoroughly examined. It is unpardonable that the boys who were abused at the home are still in something of a legal limbo as regards obtaining justice.

Given the range of the allegations, it would seem that the inquiry into historic child abuse in the UK headed by Justice Lowell Goddard is the best forum to investigate the claims. It has the power to compel witnesses from within the Establishment and its agencies to appear before it.

The fact that Government ministers including Home Secretary Theresa May and Secretary of State Theresa Villiers have both refused to allow the Kincora scandal to be included in the UK probe only heightens public disquiet about the whole issue.

That is not to doubt that the local Historical Abuse Inquiry headed by Sir Anthony Hart will conduct a thorough probe, but it is hampered by its restricted powers. The Government must change its decision.

Belfast Telegraph

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