Kincora: exclusion from UK abuse inquiry ‘missed opportunity’
“Home Secretary risks looking like she is now playing her part in a decades-long cover-up” – Patrick Corrigan
Amnesty International has branded a statement from Home Secretary this morning, which excludes Kincora Boys' Home from the UK child abuse inquiry, as a “missed opportunity” for truth. The organisation said Theresa May “risks looking like she is now playing her part in a decades-long cover-up”.
The Ministerial statement named new panel members for the statutory inquiry into child sexual abuse in England and Wales, but did not address the call for Kincora to be included within its remit.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called for the paedophile abuse scandal at the Belfast children's home to be included within the scope of the Westminster inquiry established by Home Secretary Theresa May and headed by New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard. Last month the Commons Home Affairs Committee also recommended that Kincora be included within the scope of the Westminster inquiry, rather than the Northern Ireland Historical Abuse Inquiry, which has no powers to compel evidence or witnesses from Britain.
Former army intelligence officers have alleged that MI5 was involved in covering up the sexual abuse of children at the home, apparently to protect an intelligence-gathering operation it ran in the 1970s. One of the victims, Richard Kerr, believes that Kincora was part of a wider paedophile ring across the UK which may have included locations such as Elm Guest House in London, which will be investigated by Justice Goddard's inquiry.
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan, said:
“Today's statement by the Home Secretary about the child abuse inquiry is a huge missed opportunity to demonstrate the government's commitment to uncover the dark truth about Kincora.
“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.
“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.
“Kincora's child abuse victims were badly let down in the seventies. Sadly, they are being failed again now by this government.”
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 1960 to 1980. Allegations have persisted that a paedophile ring at Kincora was linked to the British intelligence services. Two former military intelligence officers have alleged that the security services blocked police investigation into the child abuse in the 1970s.
Written Statement by The Home Secretary Theresa May, on 12 Mar 2015 - Statutory Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse