Northern Ireland

Kincora should be part of UK inquiry into child abuse says Amnesty

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Media captionThree senior care staff were jailed for abusing 11 boys at Kincora care home

Belfast Kincora Boys' Home should be included in a new UK-wide inquiry into child sex abuse, Amnesty International has said.

It follows claims of an establishment "cover-up" over allegations of paedophile activity at Westminster.

Home Secretary Teresa May has announced a new investigation into how government handled the claims.

Now Amnesty's NI director Patrick Corrigan has called for Kincora to be part of that inquiry.

Three senior care staff at the east Belfast children's home were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys in their care.

"There have been long-standing public concerns that we really never got to the bottom of what went on in Kincora," Mr Corrigan told Radio Ulster's Talkback on Tuesday.

"There are fears 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."

Mr Corrigan said that while the current Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry into child abuse at institutions in Northern Ireland includes Kincora, it has only limited powers.

'Buried secrets?'

"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," he said.

"The new wide-ranging Hillsborough-style inquiry announced 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."

East Belfast MP Naomi Long said: "We haven't really dispelled the rumours surrounding the Kincora scandal. There are victims still around and they deserve justice."

She said that given the remit of the Westminster inquiry, it was perhaps "a better vehicle," for Kincora.

Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew said allegations that MI5 had a role in Kincora were "particularly shocking".

"It has been claimed that not only were MI5 aware of the horrendous abuse of vulnerable young boys, but monitored it and attempted to use it for their own gain," she said.

"The British government needs to listen to the growing calls from a range of groups, including Amnesty International, for a full inquiry into what happened at Kincora."

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