Northern Ireland

Kincora building: 'Peter Robinson's comments cause alarm'

Kincora Boys Home Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The Kincora boys' home was at the centre of a child abuse scandal between the 1950s and the 1980s

The owner of a building that was formerly the Kincora children's home has said he has spoken to police about safety concerns after calls for it to be demolished.

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

First Minister Peter Robinson joined in calls for the building to be knocked down.

Its owner said he was extremely surprised and alarmed that Mr Robinson had not contacted him first.

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

On Tuesday, survivors of abuse at Kincora staged a protest outside the Newtownards Road building and called for it to be demolished, while in an article in the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Robinson said it should be purchased by the state and knocked down.

"In so many other cases where horrific crimes are tied to a particular building, it has been demolished. There is a strong case for the same to happen with Kincora," Mr Robinson told the newspaper.

However, the current owner of the building, Leslie Black of Market Solutions, said he was "staggered" by some of the things that had been said.

"I was extremely surprised and alarmed, that some 35 years after the boy's home closed, First Minister, Rt Hon Peter Robinson MLA chose to issue a press release to the Belfast Telegraph regarding our offices," he said.

"Having met with our professional advisers and consulted with the PSNI, I wish to highlight my extreme concern for the safety of our business premises and anyone working there."

Almost 20 years ago the building was renamed Linden House.

Mr Black said: "I have no desire, in any way, to take away from those who suffered under the Kincora regime.

"The fact that the building may trigger memories from the past is easy to understand, but the crimes were committed by those individuals involved and in some cases convicted, not the current users of the building."

In response the DUP said: "Mr Robinson recognised that the site was in private hands and therefore would need action from the state to purchase the property.

"If it was agreed that the removal of the building was to proceed, then it must only be done through the proper and legal channels.

"It is clear that victims are still suffering today and it is absolutely vital that we proceed sensitively in relation to everyone concerned.

"The first minister would be happy to meet with the company if they wish to work towards that goal."

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