Northern Ireland

Kincora Boys' Home: Judge grants leave for judicial review

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Media captionThe Kincora Boys' Home in Belfast was at the centre of a child abuse scandal in the 1980s

There is to be a judicial review into how an investigation into the Kincora Boys' Home is dealt with.

Three senior care staff at Kincora were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys.

Allegations remain that some members of the British intelligence services knew of the abuse and helped to cover it up.

A High Court judge in Belfast granted leave for a judicial review on Tuesday. The hearing is scheduled for 1 June and is expected to last up to three days.

At least 29 boys were abused at the home between the late 1950s and the early 1980s.

One of the men who was later convicted, William McGrath, is believed to have been an MI5 agent.

Last summer, two former military intelligence officers told the BBC that they had become aware of the abuse at Kincora in the 1970s, but had been prevented from having it properly investigated.

One of the victims, Gary Hoy, wants the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry to be granted greater powers to enable it to properly investigate what happened at Kincora.

'Vulnerable boys'

The HIA is due to consider what happened at the home next year, but its chairman Sir Anthony Harte does not have the power to compel witnesses or documents from agencies like MI5.

The Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has insisted that all state agencies will co-operate with the inquiry.

Amnesty International, who have called for Kincora to be included in the terms of the UK-wide inquiry, welcomed the decision.

"Nothing less than a full public inquiry - with all the powers of compulsion which that brings - can finally reveal what happened at Kincora and the role the security services may have played in the abuse of these vulnerable boys," they said.

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