The Home Secretary has been accused of perpetuating the cover-up of child sex abuse at Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast.
Theresa May yesterday announced a new four-person panel, including Professor Alexis Jay, to serve in the reformed statutory inquiry into child sex abuse in England.
Mrs May said Drusilla Sharpling, Ivor Frank and Malcolm Evans will also serve alongside Justice Lowell Goddard, a New Zealand judge.
But despite pressure from MPs and victims of the paedophile ring that operated there, she refused to add Kincora to the inquiry's remit.
For decades there have been claims that the intelligence services allowed the sex abuse of children at Kincora to continue in order to blackmail senior politicians and members of the Establishment as the Troubles raged in the 1970s. Northern Ireland's Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry chaired by Sir Anthony Hart is investigating the allegations, but does not have the same powers as the Goddard inquiry.
Amnesty International's Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said it was a "missed opportunity".
"By excluding Kincora from the only inquiry which has the power to establish the truth about the role the intelligence services may have played in the paedophile ring, the Home Secretary risks looking like she is now playing her part in a decades-long cover-up," he said.
"The Home Secretary says that child protection is a devolved matter. She is neatly ignoring the fact that the Northern Ireland Assembly unanimously supports the inclusion of Kincora in the Westminster inquiry, because it knows that the local inquiry has no powers to compel evidence from MI5 and the Ministry of Defence and that it does not have the confidence of victims or potentially crucial witnesses. Kincora should be investigated alongside claims of establishment involvement in child abuse rings in other parts of the UK. With new allegations emerging of links between Kincora and paedophile rings elsewhere in the UK, the case for inclusion has never been stronger."
Alliance MP Naomi Long said it looked increasingly likely the Government was unwilling to deal with the child abuse cases in any meaningful way, and described the Home Secretary's statement as "extremely disappointing".Further Reading