Latest Kincora revelations - Amnesty demands investigation by child abuse inquiry

‘Latest revelations will only fuel public disquiet that Kincora has been excluded from the one inquiry with a chance of getting at the truth.’ 

Amnesty International has repeated its call for the investigation into child abuse at Kincora children's home in Northern Ireland to be included in the Westminster child abuse inquiry.

The Amnesty call comes as previously-undisclosed government papers reveal that the Belfast boys' home in Northern Ireland was at the heart of correspondence involving the security services. 

The papers also name former government figures alleged to have been involved in paedophile rings. These include the late Sir William van Straubenzee, who was a government minister in Northern Ireland between 1972-74 when the allegations of a paedophile ring at Kincora were first made by British Army captain Colin Wallace; and Sir Peter Hayman, former deputy director of MI6, who has been named by former Kincora boy, Richard Kerr, as being part of an establishment paedophile network who abused him after he was trafficked to London.

Allegations have persisted for decades that a paedophile ring at Kincora Boys’ Home in east Belfast was linked to the British intelligence services. Two former military intelligence officers, including Wallace, have alleged that the security services blocked police investigations into the child abuse in the 1970s.

Home Secretary Theresa May has refused to allow Kincora to be investigated by the inquiry headed by Justice Lowell Goddard, despite previous calls by Amnesty, a recommendation from the Commons Home Affairs Committee and strong cross-party support in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Instead, the UK government has asked Northern Ireland's historic institutional abuse inquiry, which lacks powers to compel evidence or witnesses from government departments or the security services, to investigate the claims.

Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan, said:

“If Theresa May knew these papers existed, how could she exclude Kincora from the Goddard Inquiry?

“The latest revelations will only fuel public disquiet that Kincora has been excluded from the one inquiry which has a chance of getting at the truth.

“Kincora should be investigated alongside claims of establishment involvement in child abuse rings in other parts of the UK.

“Nothing less than a full public inquiry – with all the powers of compulsion which that brings - can finally reveal what happened at Kincora. It is not too late for the government to reconsider its position.”

Background

Three senior staff at Kincora – William McGrath, Raymond Semple and Joseph Mains – were jailed in 1981 for child abuse, but there have been suggestions of a mass cover-up by MI5, which was rumoured to be protecting high-ranking paedophiles in the military, Civil Service and politics.

One of the child sex abuse victims from Kincora is challenging the home's exclusion from the inquiry in a judicial review being considered in Belfast High Court. 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 judicial review case has heard 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. A decision in the judicial review case is expected in the Autumn.

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