Kincora Boys’ Home should be included in new UK child abuse inquiry

Amnesty International in Northern Ireland has called for the inclusion of Belfast’s Kincora Boys’ Home in the inquiry into historical child sex abuse announced today by Home Secretary Theresa May.

Three senior care staff at the east Belfast children’s home were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys, but it is feared that there were many more victims and abusers during the period between 1960 and 1980. Allegations have persisted that paedophilia at Kincora was linked to British intelligence services, with claims that visitors to the home included members of the military, politicians and civil servants, and that police investigations into abuse at Kincora were blocked by the Ministry of Defence and MI5.

The Kincora Boys’ Home is currently one of a number of children’s homes subject to an ongoing public inquiry launched into historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland, which began public hearings in January.

However, as Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland programme Director Patrick Corrigan points out, the current inquiry has only limited powers:

“The current Northern Ireland inquiry is unable to compel the release of files from either Whitehall or the secret services, and given the nature of the allegations over Kincora, this is exactly where any secrets are likely to lie buried.

“The new wide-ranging Hillsborough-style inquiry announced today by the Home Secretary must now be allowed to investigate the allegations that have long surrounded Kincora.

“With Kincora, the power to secure the release of key documents from Whitehall or MI5 filing cabinets is absolutely vital.

“Nothing less than the inclusion of the Kincora home in the new inquiry is liable to see the truth finally arrived at, and justice finally delivered.”

A 1996 book, The Kincora Scandal, by former BBC journalist Chris Moore, claimed one of the convicted child abusers, William McGrath, was an MI5 agent and alleged two police probes were obstructed by “the establishment” in Britain.

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