Kincora: As victim challenges government in court, Amnesty urges inclusion in UK abuse inquiry
Amnesty International has called for the investigation into child abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home in east Belfast to be included in the wider Westminster child abuse inquiry.
The call comes as one of the child sex abuse victims is due to challenge Kincora’s exclusion from the inquiry in Belfast High Court today.
Gary Hoy, who was abused by two of the men who were subsequently convicted, is taking legal action to force a full independent inquiry with the power to compel witnesses and the security services to hand over documents. The government has so far refused calls for the paedophile abuse scandal at the Belfast home to be included within the scope of the inquiry established by Home Secretary Theresa May and headed by New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard.
The judicial review case, to commence a three-day hearing in Belfast High Court tomorrow morning, will hear allegations that MI5 was involved in covering up the sexual abuse of children in order to protect an intelligence-gathering operation it ran in the 1970s.
Hoy, in a sworn affidavit for his application for judicial review, said:
“I know there was a lot more involved in the abuse and who knew of the abuse than just the three men convicted. I believe that many of these people had power, and included MLAs, MPs and paramilitaries. It makes me mad that they all could get away with it so easily. These people are hiding and protecting other people. I want to know who was involved and what they did.
“I find the whole thing frightening, and at times am frightened that people in authority will want my mouth shut, and want it all brushed under the carpet like it had been years ago.
“Because of this I believe we need a strong inquiry that is able to discover once and for all what happened in that place.”
In February the Commons Home Affairs Committee recommended that Kincora be included within the scope of the Westminster inquiry, but this has been refused by the Home Secretary Theresa May and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers. Instead, the UK government has asked Northern Ireland's historic institutional abuse inquiry, which lacks powers to compel evidence or witnesses from government agencies, to investigate the claims.
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan, who will attend the Court hearing, said:
“The Kincora affair may be one of the most disturbing episodes of the Troubles.
“The claims that MI5 turned a blind eye to child abuse, actively blocked a police investigation, and instead used the paedophile ring for intelligence-gathering purposes, are utterly scandalous.
“The Home Secretary has said that child protection is a devolved matter, neatly ignoring the fact that the Northern Ireland Assembly unanimously supports the inclusion of Kincora in the Westminster inquiry. That is because they know that the local inquiry has no powers to compel evidence from MI5 and the Ministry of Defence and that it has neither the confidence of victims nor potentially crucial witnesses.
“Whatever the outcome of this week’s judicial review, it is clear that nothing less than a full public inquiry – with all the powers of compulsion which that brings - can finally reveal what happened at Kincora and the role the security services may have played in the abuse of these vulnerable boys.
“The government should reconsider its position. Kincora should be investigated alongside claims of establishment involvement in child abuse rings in other parts of the UK."
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 investigations into the child abuse in the 1970s.