An abuse victim is hopeful after winning the first stage in a battle to have a Westminster parliamentary inquiry look into allegations that senior unionist politicians, businessmen and high-level British state agents connived in a paedophile ring at the notorious Kincora care home in Belfast.
Gary Hoy, from east Belfast, was granted leave to seek a judicial review of the decision to downgrade an investigation into Kincora to a local one, based in Banbridge, County Down, and which retired state employees could not be compelled to attend.
Despite strong evidence that Kincora was part of a wider network of abuse, the British government had refused to include it in a wide-ranging parliamentary probe into child molestation.
Mr Hoy entered Kincora as a child with his little brother in the 1970s. The home was run by a member of a unionist paramilitary organisation. The abuse he experienced there severely damaged him in later life.
In a sworn affidavit, Mr Hoy said, “I find it heart-wrenching that there were security men [who] could have been behind the abuse or involved in it ... Because they were in positions of authority or supposed to be protecting the state they get away with it.”
Calls for full scrutiny of the suspected systemic molestation and prostitution of vulnerable youngsters at Kincora has grown ever since three senior staff were jailed in 1981 for abusing boys in their care.
It has long been suspected that well-known figures within the British establishment, including high-ranking civil servants and senior military officers, were involved.
While MI5 has been accused of covering up the sexual abuse to protect an intelligence-gathering operation, the current Tory government retains strong links to some of those facing paedophilia allegations. The late British Home Secretary Leon Brittan, who died last month, was at the centre of allegations involving a paedophile ring operating at Westminster.
Amnesty International describes the abuse at Kincora as “one of the biggest scandals of our age.” The rights group supports victims’ demands for an independent inquiry with full powers.
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty’s Program Director in the north of Ireland, said the allegations “could scarcely be more serious”.
He said if true, the British security services used vulnerable boys as “nothing more than sexual bait in a blackmail trap”.
One Kincora victim, Richard Kerr, has said he was trafficked to several locations in England being investigated as part of the secret paedophile ring. He was taken from Kincora to Liverpool and to London for abuse at the weekend.
The name ‘Richard NI’ appears in the visitor’s book at the Elm, a regular paedophile meeting place that advertised the availability of boys.
He is now responding to counselling but bears deep emotional and physical scars. “These people trained me to be a prostitute, they trained me. It is the only life I knew. There were lots of people involved because I met lots of people. It wasn’t just one a day - I was meeting about three a day. In England they paid me. In Belfast it was generally little presents like a lighter.”
Granting leave to seek a judicial review, the judge ruled that Mr Hoy had established an arguable case. Outside court, 53-year-old Mr Hoy said he was delighted with the outcome.
“It seems like we are getting there in the end, hopefully,” he said. “I want justice, that’s all I want and the Westminister Inquiry is the best way to get it.”