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Kincora Boys' Home: Investigations Of Allegations Of Abuse 30/9/2014

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I rise to support the motion.  Kincora is a scandal; it is a stain in east Belfast.  It was a house of horrors, and every day the house sits as a permanent reminder of its very dark past.  Those walking around the area today who have a connection with Kincora and are regarded as respectable people and pillars of society are a total and utter disgrace.  They have a conscience seared with a hot iron for what they did to young boys in Kincora.

They are people who abused youngsters, destroyed their lives and left them with mental problems that they carried with them for all of their days.  My colleague Sammy Douglas referred to the fact that he had met victims from Kincora.  I have also met them and you cannot really understand what they have suffered all of their lives.

Kincora was established as a house of refuge, a safe haven and a shelter, and, for many, it turned out to be a horrifying and nightmarish place to spend their days.  Vulnerable young boys were preyed upon, and, allegedly, the security forces allowed the abuse to take place.  It has been referred to that purportedly prominent people frequented Kincora.  Those are people who have been referred to as politicians, businessmen, military men, church men and people who held high positions.  Also, there is evidence to suggest that the children were, as we would call it today, trafficked away from the home and, indeed, across the border for similar abuse in other places.

CaitrĂ­ona Ruane called for a united front on this, and I agree with her on that.  However, if this House is really concerned, there has to be a united front on how we tackle the child abuse that is happening today.  The way that we can do that, in the memory of those who were abused in Kincora, is for all of the political parties here to sign up to the legislation that will allow the National Crime Agency to tackle this problem in Northern Ireland as it does in other parts of the UK.  I am certain that those who were the victims of Kincora would plead for that to happen today. 

Reference has been made to Kincora being a part of the UK-wide inquiry.  The First Minister has written on that.  I hope that that decision can be made by Theresa May, but what happens if she decides that it cannot be?  What happens if Judge Hart is unable to investigate fully, as he said he cannot do?  This House needs to ensure that Judge Hart has the remit, the resources, the finance and the expertise that will allow him to take a step forward on this issue.  If we get a negative decision from Theresa May and we do not allow Judge Hart to do it, we are failing the victims of Kincora.

None of us who have had a loving, supportive family environment could understand what many of the victims of Kincora went through for years, and we will probably never know how many went through the abuse in Kincora.  However, through supporting this motion and other actions in terms of the National Crime Agency and adjusting Judge Hart's remit in the case of a negative response from the Home Secretary, we can in fact take this matter forward and continue to keep it in the headlines.  We can be supportive of all of those who were abused in Kincora.

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