Naomi Long opinion piece on the new hope for victims of Kincora

The new chair of the statutory inquiry into historic child abuse allegations this week told a Westminster committee she is willing to discuss including Kincora Boys’ Home as part of the investigation.

It has given new hope to the victims and survivors of the east Belfast home, following several setbacks to the original investigation caused by the resignation of its two previous chairs.

In spite of Home Secretary Theresa May’s statement to the House of Commons that her department’s investigation would be limited to England and Wales, Justice Lowell Goddard’s confirmation that she would raise it with the Home Secretary, if she felt it necessary, allows another opportunity to put Kincora on the agenda.

Kincora is already being probed by Sir Anthony Hart’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. But I have previously gone on record to state how Kincora is uniquely different to other homes being investigated in Northern Ireland.

Yes, like other homes, it had paedophiles in positions of power, operating with impunity. However, the additional sinister difference is the allegation that the security services were directly involved – protecting agents and blackmailing senior political figures.

That cold, calculating decision is one that would baffle any right-thinking person. It was compounded by the persecuting and prosecuting of those who attempted to shine a light on the murky goings-on.

It is for that reason that Kincora must be included in the Home Office investigation.

Justice Goddard’s inquiry offers the only viable option for the victims to receive the justice they deserve, due to its statutory nature.

While I can accept, in part, the argument the Home Secretary made regarding institutions dealing with different structures in England/Wales and Northern Ireland, the case against that is the alleged involvement of the intelligence services in covering up the abuse. Kincora would be better handled as part of the new inquiry.

It offers the only true prospect for the victims to have their confidence restored.

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