Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: We must know truth of Kincora Boys' Home in Belfast

There is a compelling case for the former Kincora Boys' Home in Belfast to be included in the Westminster-driven inquiry into allegations of a paedophile ring operating at the heart of the British Establishment.

While Kincora is already included in a Northern Ireland inquiry into child abuse, the remit of the inquiry ordered by the Home Secretary is wider. It can compel Whitehall departments to hand over sensitive documents and also order witnesses to attend.

What went on at Kincora between 1960 and 1980 has long been the subject of rumour. Three care workers were jailed for abusing boys in their care, but it has been claimed that Establishment figures were also involved in the crime and that British security services were monitoring the situation, but later clamped down on information being made public.

There is nothing concrete in any of the claims being made about Kincora or the child abuse at Westminster, but such is the level of public disquiet surrounding the issue that the Government had no alternative but to order an inquiry.

Having launched wide-ranging investigations into celebrities accused of abusing young people, the Government could not ignore even more serious claims that point directly at the heart of the Establishment.

Yet this must not be a witch-hunt with the pre-determined public view that every name which comes out of the rumour mill must be guilty of some crime. It must be focused and swift.

We need to know if important people were involved in child abuse or if they knew of such abuse and covered it up to protect friends.

The public has grown cynical in recent times, realising that some elements of institutions in which they previously had the utmost faith, such as the police, public figures or care institutions, were far from perfect.

They want as much of the truth as can be determined to come out and this inquiry seems a likely vehicle to deliver.

Further reading

Child abuse inquiry must look at Kincora Boys' Home, says Amnesty International

MI5 'blocked exposure of Kincora sex abuse scandal'

Kincora Boy's Home scandal: South African intelligence 'secretly backed loyalist paramilitary group Tara'

Kincora Boys' Home scandal: journalist Peter McKenna dies

State papers: The perjury that allowed Kincora suspect preacher to walk

Westminster’s dark secret: abuse of children, adultery, homosexuality and sadomasochism were all seemingly lumped together

Civil servant Mark Sedwill admits Home Office ‘probably’ destroyed paedophile dossiers 

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, sister of former Tory attorney general Sir Michael Havers, to lead UK child abuse inquiry

Westminster child abuse dossier: Geoffrey Dickens also gave copy of file to top prosecutor Sir Thomas Hetherington - so why did DPP fail to act on evidence of paedophile ring? 

Historic child abuse files missing

Tory peer Lord Brittan defends handling of 1980s sex abuse dossier

Abuse claims police matter - Clegg

Abuse probe 'into soul of society'

From the archives

Kincora: Sex racket at children's home (Irish Independent, 1980)

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