Pressure builds for Kincora claims to be investigated by Westminster

Former boys' home Kincora House on the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast
Former boys' home Kincora House on the Upper Newtownards Road in east Belfast
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Political pressure to have allegations of a paedophile ring at the Kincora Boys’ Home included in a Westminster inquiry is increasing.

First Minister Peter Robinson has added his voice to calls for the terms of reference of the UK’s Child Abuse Inquiry to include claims of paedophilia at the east Belfast home during the 1970s and 80s.

Mr Robinson has also made public a letter from Sir Anthony Hart – the chair of the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) – stating his belief that “there may be benefits to the UK-wide inquiry examining the relevant allegations into Kincora Boys’ Home”.

The former High Court judge said the HIA does “not have sufficient powers” in its present form to investigate allegations relating to the activity of the Army or MI5 – but added that the HIA could continue to run alongside the Westminster probe.

Mr Robinson said: “I want to see a full investigation into the terrible abuses which occurred in Kincora. Having received this communication from Sir Anthony, it is clear that the proper route to fully investigate the abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home is to have it included in our United Kingdom’s Child Abuse Inquiry.

“I will be writing to the Prime Minister and alerting him to Sir Anthony’s concerns. I will be urging the Prime Minister to ensure that Kincora is included in the terms of reference governing the inquiry established by Her Majesty’s Government.”

Yesterday, the Home Office confirmed that the Kincora claims could yet be included in the Westminster inquiry.

A Home Office spokesman told the News Letter that the inquiry panel is still being brought together since chair Baroness Butler Sloss resigned this week.

Asked if Kincora would be included he said: “The terms of reference will be drafted by them and once we have finalised that we will be able to provide more detail, but it is really down to the panel.”

Meanwhile, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said that Sinn Fein’s “foot-dragging” on agreeing the June Monitoring budgets could put the local HIA inquiry at risk as this does have a specific budget allocation.

Also commenting on the possibility of funding difficulties, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said all parties on the Executive should unite to ensure funding continues.

“Tonight many, many victims will be unnecessarily dismayed and distressed after hearing Peter Robinson say that this outrageous suggestion is even being considered,” he said. “There are billions of pounds in the Executive budget and to even consider targeting the funding of the HIA inquiry is politics of the lowest order.”