Call for Kincora to be included in British child abuse inquiry

Amnesty, Sinn Fein and Alliance says claims MI5 and British Ministry of Defence knew of abuse at home must be investigated

British Home Office secretary Theresa May has been urged to include the Belfast Kincora Boys' Home scandal in the investigation of how the British government handled claims of child sex abuse.

Ms May announced her inquiry yesterday following allegations of an establishment “cover-up” of a child paedophile ring operating at Westminster.

Amnesty, Sinn Féin and Alliance today called on Ms May to extend the remit of the inquiry to take in the Kincora home where a number of boys suffered sexual abuse. In 1981 three senior members of staff were jailed for abusing 11 boys in their care at the east Belfast home.

Allegations surfaced at the time that MI5 and the British Ministry of Defence had been involved in covering up the abuse, a point made by Amnesty Northern Ireland when calling for Ms May's inquiry to be widened to include Kincora.


Amnesty referred to claims that 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”.

Amnesty said it was feared there were far more than 11 victims during the period between 1960 and 1980. Kincora currently is one of a number of children’s homes being investigated as part of the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry in the North.

However, Amnesty's Northern director Patrick Corrigan said that the HIA inquiry did not have the power 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 added: “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.”

Sinn Féin Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew said the role of British intelligence agencies in Kincora must be investigated. "The nefarious role of MI5 in Ireland is well known but these allegations are particularly shocking," she said. "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."

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long also backing calls to include Kincora in the inquiry said while members of staff "were made to pay for their crimes, there has always been a belief that the abuse went deeper than has been made public".

She added: “We owe it to the victims to investigate all allegations, as they deserve justice for what they went through.”

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times