New Kincora files increase pressure for Westminster inquiry inclusion

<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: sans-serif, Arial, Verdana, 'Trebuchet MS';  line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">Three senior care staff at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys</span>&nbsp;
Three senior care staff at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys  Three senior care staff at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys  (Hugh Russell)

The discovery of new government files about Kincora Boys Home will heap further pressure on the Home Secretary to include the tainted Belfast facility in a Westminster inquiry, it has been claimed.

Papers which contain allegations about abuse at the home have been handed over to the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry which is investigating child abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period.

However, campaigners have voiced concerns that the scope of the inquiry at Banbridge Courthouse, Co Down, is limited and the Kincora investigation should be included in the Westminster-based Goddard inquiry into child abuse in England and Wales.

Amnesty International's Patrick Corrigan said today that only the Westminister inquiry had to power to the compel the production of such documents

and for witnesses from central government to come forward and "lay bare" what happened at Kincora.

"It is absurd that the Government continues to exclude Kincora from that inquiry that actually does have the powers to finally reveal the truth," he said.

Three senior care staff at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys but at least 29 were abused at the home between the late 1950s and early 1980s.

The new papers should have been disclosed as part of a previous search of Home Office documents but had not been properly catalogued.

Details have not been made public but it is known they include Kincora abuse claims passed to the authorities by ex-Army press officer Colin Wallace.

Other documents have also been uncovered, among them government papers and correspondence relating to three high-ranking political figures all now dead: the former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, Mrs Thatcher's former parliamentary secretary Sir Peter Morrison and the former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman.

Accompanying the files is a letter from the Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office Richard Heaton in which he apologises for the errors.

"I can also confirm that relevant papers have been drawn to the attention of the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry led by Sir Anthony Hart," Mr Heaton states. "Sir Anthony has already started to review these."

An official review into whether there was a Westminster cover-up of paedophile activity in the 1980s concluded last November, but these files were not found.

The newly uncovered papers also reveal how spy chiefs warned the Thatcher government that allegations an MP had a "penchant for small boys" risked causing political embarrassment.

MI5 director general Sir Antony Duff had written to the then Cabinet Secretary Sir Robert Armstrong in 1986 over claims made by two sources about the MP.

Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC, and Richard Whittam QC, who carried out the original inquiry into the handling of historical allegations that prominent figures were child abusers, said the emergence of the papers was "not helpful" in terms of public confidence.

"There were a number of references across the papers we saw that reinforced the observation we made in our review that issues of crimes against children, particularly the rights of the complainant, were given considerably less serious consideration than would be expected today," they said.

"To give one striking example, in response to claims from two sources that a named Member of Parliament "has a penchant for small boys" matters conclude with acceptance of his word that he does not ... the risks of political embarrassment to the Government is rather greater than the 'security danger'. The risk to children is not considered at all."