Secrets Act call over Kincora

Secrets Act call over Kincora

There have been calls for the UK Official Secrets Act to be suspended to allow a fully transparent investigation into the Kincora child sex abuse scandal.

Such a move would allow army and MI5 intelligence officers to be able to give evidence to any inquiry into the home, should it be set up.First Minister Peter Robinson has said it's important that whatever steps necessary are taken to allow light to be shed on Kincora.The DUP leader said: "This is a national scandal that needs to be dealt with and I trust that whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the truth comes out are taken."The allegations surrounding what happened behind the closed doors of Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast form one of Northern Ireland's most notorious child abuse scandals.In 1981 three senior care staff at the home were jailed for abusing 11 boys in the 1970s - but it has been further claimed that people of the "highest profile" were connected.Home Secretary Theresa May, who in the wake of the Jimmy Saville scandal announced the Westminster Child Abuse Inquiry, is facing increased calls for it to also investigate Kincora.Now a former army intelligence officer has said that in 1975 he was told to stop investigating sexual abuse at the home by one of his seniors.Amnesty International is asking that the Official Secrets Act be suspended to allow him and other former intelligence officers to give evidence about alleged cover ups.Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty said: "Over a month ago we wrote to the Home Secretary asking for Kincora to be included in the remit of this new inquiry."I should say we're still waiting for a response for her on that one."But I think that the new revelations from a number of intelligence officers leads us to make a second call and that is for the secrets act to be waived to ensure that those intelligence officers can come forward to that inquiry and give what information they know."Sir Anthony Hart, the man heading up Northern Ireland's Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry says he "does not have sufficient powers" to investigate issues relating to the Army or MI5.The First Minister, Peter Robinson, has already written to the Prime Minister, outlining the need for the Kincora allegations to be investigated.On Friday he echoed Amnesty's calls for the Official Secrets Act to be suspended.The DUP leader said: "The Prime Minister or the Home Secretary can lay down the remit and when it comes to that I think there has to be complete freedom on the part of those who want to give evidence to be able to do so."I don't think anybody is asking for them to be able to divulge national secrets."But this is a national scandal that needs to be dealt with and I trust that whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the truth comes out are taken."Naomi Long MP said the victims deserve to see the wrongdoing exposed.The East Belfast Alliance Party politician continued: "The allegations by a former army intelligence officer regarding his investigations of Kincora simply reinforce that allegations of abuse at the home should be included in the Home Secretary's UK-wide inquiry."To be told to cease any investigation into child abuse, no matter what source allegedly told him to do so, is deplorable and adds to the sinister nature of claims about the home."We owe it to the victims to expose any wrongdoing that took place at Kincora, both to deliver them justice and ensure nothing like this happens again."

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