Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Government must open up on Kincora

Kincora Home
Kincora Home

Editor's Viewpoint

Forty years after the first media reports on sexual abuse of boys at Kincora home in east Belfast first emerged the mystery of what exactly happened there and who was involved still exercises many minds.

In 1981 three staff members, William McGrath, Joseph Mains and Raymond Semple, were jailed for abusing boys in the home but the matter has failed to rest there.

Even though the Historical Abuse Inquiry backed up earlier findings involving police investigations which found there was no credible evidence of any other people being involved in the abuse or that the security services were complicit in any exploitation of the abuse for any reason, allegations concerning others continue to be made.

In the latest a former inmate claims he was taken to Classiebawn, Lord Mountbatten's castle in Co Sligo, and abused by an unidentified man and this has led to suggestions of some sort of cover up.

A biographer of the Mountbattens says there are about 20 files on Kincora which should have been deposited in the National Archives under the 20-year rule but the authorities are refusing to release them.

It is not unusual in such circumstances for some to believe that they contain information running contrary to previous findings in this case. However that can only be speculation until there is firm evidence to the contrary.

The public have become increasingly cynical in recent years and are willing to row in behind conspiracy theories. Even the police in the case of Carl Beech, who made allegations of murder and child abuse against prominent public figures in England, were taken in by his story and launched a lengthy but fruitless investigation before it was decided that Beech was a fantasist. He was subsequently jailed for 18 years.

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In the Kincora case most of those alleged to have been involved - apart from the abused boys - are now dead and it is easy to point the finger at them on the scantiest evidence. When important papers on the matter are withheld then the allegations begin to take on a life of their own.

It is up to the government to explain why the papers are being withheld - are matters of national security involved, for example? - and when they may be lodged in the National Archives.

That could allay some of the suspicions being held that there are darker motives for the government's behaviour on a controversial case.

Belfast Telegraph

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