Leading article

Editorial: Kincora crimes can never be forgotten

LISTENING to former Kincora resident Gary Hoy as he watched the demolition of the building where so many innocent boys suffered horrific abuse, it is painfully clear that the trauma of victims still remains raw decades on.

The 61-year-old was sent to the notorious boys' home in east Belfast as a teenager in the 1970s.

He was one of dozens of boys targeted from the late 1950s until its closure in 1980, when news of the evil being perpetrated behind its doors had come to light.

Senior care home staff William McGrath, Raymond Semple and Joseph Mains were jailed the following year for abusing 11 boys.

While the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry did not find that security agencies were complicit in abuse, the Police Ombudsman recently confirmed that complaints from some former residents about a failure to investigate allegations were “legitimate and justified”.

The name Kincora will forever be synonymous with those terrible crimes and the building had remained a visual reminder on the Newtownards Road of the abuse inflicted on vulnerable children.

Diggers finally moved in yesterday to clear the site in preparation for the construction of new apartments, but its terrible legacy will remain, not least for those who suffered so horrendously within its walls.

Mr Hoy watched silently as his former bedroom was torn down, while passing motorists beeped car horns in support of the demolition.

He said while he is glad the physical building is now gone, the memory of what happened will never go away.

His feelings will no doubt be shared by many other survivors of Kincora, while others sadly did not live to see yesterday.

Victims of abuse at many homes run by the state, religious orders and charities were utterly failed in the past and continue to be treated badly to this day.

Campaigners were forced to fight for years for a public inquiry into the terrible wrongs inflicted on them decades ago.

Following the landmark report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in 2017, which exposed shocking details of sexual, physical and emotional abuse over seven decades, it then took until this year for a formal apology to be delivered.

Other recommendations have still to be fully honoured.

While the demolition of Kincora will be welcomed across the community, we owe it to its victims to ensure what happened to them is never forgotten and such failings can never happen again.



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