Theresa Villiers rejects Kincora abuse inquiry request

Amnesty calls for Belfast boys’ home to be included in Westminster investigation

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers. File photograph: David Young/PA Wire

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers. File photograph: David Young/PA Wire

 

Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers has again rejected calls to include Kincora boys’ home in an inquiry into an alleged paedophile ring at Westminster, despite new British cabinet papers being uncovered concerning the Belfast institute.

Ms Villiers said the discovery of the papers would not persuade the British government to reconsider the decision to exclude the issue of child sex abuse at Kincora from the Westminster inquiry being conducted by New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard.

Kincora forms part of the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry in Banbridge, Co Down, chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart.

Amnesty and Northern Ireland political parties want Kincora included in the Goddard inquiry, claiming that the HIA does not have the power to compel the release of files from either the British government or the British secret services.

There have been longstanding allegations that MI5 and the British ministry of defence were complicit in covering up the abuse of boys at Kincora in east Belfast during the 1970s.

It has been claimed that senior members of the British military, politicians and civil servants who allegedly abused boys at Kincora were effectively blackmailed by the British intelligence services.

In 1981, three senior members of staff were jailed for abusing 11 boys in their care at the east Belfast home.

Amnesty call

Amnesty repeated its call for the Goddard inquiry to incorporate Kincora after new British government files relating to the home were discovered.

Amnesty’s Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said the new files would only “fuel public disquiet that Kincora has been excluded from the one inquiry which has a chance of getting at the truth”.

“Nothing less than a full public inquiry - with all the powers of compulsion which that brings - can finally reveal what happened at Kincora,” he said.

Ms Villiers said the place to examine Kincora was at the HIA inquiry. “The Hart inquiry is doing an exceptionally good job.

“We feel that is the right forum to investigate these despicable events which took place at Kincora,” she said.

The papers discovered included a file about former Northern Ireland minister and Conservative MP Sir William Van Straubenzee, which also “contained references to the Kincora boys’ home”.

The British cabinet office also said that, separate to Kincora, the papers contain references to former cabinet minister Leon Brittan; Peter Morrison, an aide to Margaret Thatcher; and ex-diplomat and former deputy director of MI6, Sir Peter Hayman.

It also emerged from the documents that Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government was warned that an MP had a “penchant for small boys” and that this risked causing it political embarrassment.

The uncovered files show that former MI5 director general Sir Antony Duff wrote to the then cabinet secretary Sir Robert Armstrong in 1986 over claims made by two sources about the MP.