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Kincora: Judge has a big decision to make


The former Kincora boys’ home on the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast

The former Kincora boys’ home on the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast

The former Kincora boys’ home on the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast

Like Justice Treacy we have heard only one side of the case for including Kincora in a Westminster inquiry into historic child abuse.

It is a fairly convincing one.

The decision of Home Secretary Theresa May to let Kincora be dealt with by Sir Anthony Hart's inquiry in Banbridge is being judicially reviewed and she will have her work cut out to carry the day.

In the past the Government has argued that since child protection is a devolved matter this is the best place to handle it - alongside other local children's homes where abuse is alleged.

The inquiry into abuse in England and Wales is headed by New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard. It has statutory powers and is able to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence and can force them to provide documentary evidence.

We need to hear the argument in detail, but the problem is that Kincora is different from other homes, so far as we know.

In most of them it is only staff who are accused. In Kincora three former staff have already been convicted - but many questions remain.

It was alleged yesterday by counsel for Gary Hoy, a former Kincora victim, that there had been a high level intelligence cover-up and that abusers were being blackmailed by intelligence agencies.

The lawyer pointed out that former state officials have now come forward to claim that they tried to raise the horrific abuse but were warned off by MI5.

Such allegations won't just fade away. The apparent high level protection of abusers like Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith and others will make such seemingly outrageous allegations more credible.

Many will believe that it is in the interests of the state as well as of victims and of future child protection policy to deal with such persistent fears decisively.

There can be no more suggestion of cover-up. Mr Justice Treacy must decide whether that result can best be achieved in Banbridge or in London.

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Belfast Telegraph