SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has written to the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz MP, calling for the allegations of abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home in east Belfast to be included in a new investigation into child abuse across the UK.
Mr Durkan, who was the seconder of the original motion in the Northern Ireland Assembly which led to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry – and also questioned the Home Secretary Theresa May in the House of Commons in 2012 over allegations of abuse at Kincora – said: “The remit of the “national panel” outlined by the Home Secretary should cover cases of abuse in Northern Ireland.
“The over-arching inquiry should cover the abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home. It should seek to uncover the apparent cover-up in relation to the complicity of security services, any governmental awareness and related action or inaction.
“If any other cases of abuse in Northern Ireland, including instances and patterns before the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry were known to, or suspected by, relevant authorities, and especially if such intelligence was shared with ministers and / or their officials, then that dimension should also be examined by the over-arching inquiry.
“There may also be trans-jurisdictional issues within the UK in relation to facts of abuse and functions of the state which is one reason why an over-arching inquiry panel is needed. In the context of Northern Ireland, it is also possible that some cross-border questions may arise so thought would be needed on how the panel might competently and appropriately pursue such matters if they did manifest themselves.
“It is not only in relation to Kincora or Northern Ireland that the awareness and attitude of security services in relation to child abuse needs to be tested by the panel.
“The degree to which such intelligence existed, at what levels of government it was shared and how it was used, acted upon or otherwise, is a crucial dimension that only an over-arching inquiry could address.
“Importantly, the panel must have the competence to do so. It must be able to compel the records and evidence of intelligence services and their agents. Similarly, no relevant ministerial, cabinet, law offices, or other public records should be closed to the panel.”