Belfast Telegraph

Kincora: Let the inquiry chairman do his job

Liam Clarke
Liam Clarke

By Liam Clarke

Theresa Villiers, the Secretary of State and a lawyer herself, promised in October that there would be full co-operation.

So far neither she nor the UK Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, have seen fit to do so. It will not just be a stain on her reputation if the necessary assurances aren't given, it will make it impossible to ever lay this ghost to rest.

An inquiry into what happened within Kincora is not enough. The guilty staff have all been jailed and since died.

What we are looking at now are claims that an elite circle abused young people at homes like Kincora throughout the UK. After the cases of Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith and others which have only come to light following the death of the perpetrators, these allegations are not easy to shrug off as fanciful conspiracy theories.

In the years since Kincora the credibility of Colin Wallace - the man who first raised concerns of this kind - has risen rather than fallen with time. People have come forward to corroborate many aspects of what he said and many of them are no longer around. One was James Miller, a military intelligence informant who died under a new identity in England, who told his Army handlers of his suspicions about McGrath, only to be warned off. Later, his cover was blown.

There are many more missing witnesses, not to mention victims and perpetrators.

That is why it is imperative to speak to those still around and recover material as soon as possible.

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We all saw how documentation and even weapons went missing before the Bloody Sunday Inquiry could see them.

"How on Earth is the Hart inquiry going to get hold of security witnesses unless someone tells them who they are?" said Wallace. "There are only two of us so far, myself and Brian Gemmell, plus Roy Garland, who was a civilian."

At the very least Sir Anthony should carry out a scoping exercise to see who else or what other evidence might be available. The biggest onus, though, is on Villiers and Wright to let Sir Anthony do his job, as he has asked. If they don't give him what is clearly required, excuses are unlikely to wash; people will assume an Establishment cover-up.

Ms Villiers has said in the past that she won't take measures on which there is not consensus. This is one issue where every party in the Assembly is giving her the same advice.

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