Kincora Boys Home in east Belfast

Kincora Boys Home in east Belfast

THE Home Secretary Theresa May has ruled out extending the scope of a child sexual abuse inquiry to cover Northern Ireland and Scotland.

She said child protection was a devolved matter for both jurisdictions.

It means MI5’s knowledge and cover up of the sexual abuse of young boys to protect its sex monster informant William McGrath will remain a secret.

Scores of boys were abused at the east Belfast care home by sexual predators such as McGrath and Joseph Maines.

Although they were later jailed for their crimes, MI5’s role was kept out of the courts as it was running McGrath as a ‘state agent’ who was the leader of the shadowy loyalist paramilitary group Tara.

Last month, a Homse Affairs Committee report said the inquiry in England and Wales should be extended.

It highlighted the case of Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast in the 1970s,.

Theresa May rule out a probe into Kincora as she named a new four-person panel, as the inquiry into child sex abuse in England and Wales officially starts work.

Ms May said she knew that survivors were keen that the inquiry be extended beyond England and Wales, but as child protection is a devolved matter, it is “right that other jurisdictions in the United Kingdom look at the issues within their own geographical remit so that they can take the action which is right to address the specific issues uncovered”.

“I have said before, I am clear that no institution or individual should be able to fall through the gaps because of geographical boundaries,” she said.

“The terms of reference make clear that the inquiry will liaise with its counterparts elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

“To that end my officials have had initial discussions with the Scottish government, who are in the process of setting up their own inquiry, the Hart Inquiry in Northern Ireland and the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry and have agreed with them and with the Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry that joint protocols will be set up with each inquiry to ensure that information can be shared and lines of investigation can be followed across geographical boundaries.”

The new panel members for the inquiry in England and Wales are Drusilla Sharpling, Professor Alexis Jay, Ivor Frank and Malcolm Evans.

They will serve alongside the New Zealand judge, Lowell Goddard, who is heading the inquiry.

New terms of reference have been agreed, these include removing any cut off dates.

Ms May said the inquiry would also reflect the importance of survivors, who will be able to appear as witnesses.

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