Posted By: May 31, 2016

Kincora Boys’ Home: Inquiry to examine abuse claims

Kincora Boys' Home

An inquiry into historical child sex abuse in Northern Ireland has begun examining 
allegations relating to the former Kincora Boys’Home

Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) chairman, Sir Anthony Hart, said possible “systemic failures to prevent such abuse” will be investigated.

He said that a number of state bodies will be examined including the RUC.

He also confirmed that MI5 and MI6 will be investigated and both are legally represented at the inquiry.

In his opening statement, Sir Anthony, said the inquiry will investigate the “nature and extent of sexual abuse perpetrated on residents of Kincora, abuse that resulted in the arrest, conviction and sentence of Mains, Semple and McGrath.”

William McGrath, Raymond Semple and Joseph Mains were senior care staff at Kincora. They were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys.

At least 29 boys were abused at the east Belfast home between the late 1950s and the early 1980s.

The HIA inquiry is expected to look at claims a paedophile ring at the home had links to the intelligence services.

Victim’s appeal

There have been allegations that people in positions of authority and influence knew what was happening at the home and that they covered it up.

Both MI5 and MI6 have agreed to be central participants in the HIA inquiry but some campaigners had wanted Kincora to be investigated as part of the wider Westminster inquiry into historical child abuse, which they argue has more powers.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, led by Justice Lowell Goddard, is investigating whether institutions including local authorities, the police and the BBC have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales.

Justice Lowell Goddard
Justice Lowell Goddard leads the independent inquiry into child sex abuse in England and Wales

Last year, Home Secretary Theresa May ruled out extending the Goddard inquiry to include Kincora, stating that child protection was a devolved matter.

And last week victim Gary Hoy, 54, lost an appeal to overturn a ruling to keep investigations into child sex abuse at the home, which is now closed, within the remit of the HIA.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has insisted that all state agencies will co-operate with the inquiry.

In a statement, the Northern Ireland Office said: “The sexual abuse of children, or tolerance of it by people in positions of authority, is utterly abhorrent.

“The government is absolutely committed to ensuring that allegations surrounding Kincora are fully investigated and that anyone who has broken the law faces justice.”

Kincora survivor Clint Massey has told BBC Radio Ulster he hopes the inquiry will acknowledge that the authorities could have halted the abuse.

“I’m hopeful that the inquiry will say, yes, there was a cover-up, there was state collusion in what was going on in Kincora. It should have been stopped.

“There were people wanted to stop it. They were blocked. So, I want that to come out,” he added.

The HIA is led by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart and was set up in 2013 to investigate child abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period, up to 1995.

These included a range of institutions, run by the church, state and voluntary sector.

The HIA is sitting at Banbridge Courthouse and inquiries into Kincora are expected to last up to four weeks.