Thatcher Cabinet stifled Kincora child sex abuse inquiry 30 years ago

Lord Prior; pic  courtesy of uk.parliament

Lord Prior; pic courtesy of uk.parliament

Jim Prior,now Lord Prior. blocked the opportunity for a full-scale public inquiry into the notorious Kincora child abuse scandal, Cabinet minutes released under the 30 year rule revealed today.

The minutes of the Cabinet meeting (see ) reveal on 10 November 1983 Jim Prior, then Northern Ireland Secretary, proposed not to have a full Tribunal of Inquiry – the same mechanism, used to investigate  the Bloody Sunday atrocities, the North Wales child abuse scandal and the Dunblane massacre.
The minutes reveal the Cabinet – who included the now all ennobled Leon Brittan, then home secretary, Michael Heseltine,defence secretary and Norman Fowler, social services secretary, bought the Royal Ulster Constabulary line that there was nothing in it. He said he was being “pressed to hold an inquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry”. But he didn’t believe Parliament would buy it.
But he said two police investigations had discovered nothing and no further criminal charges were likely.
Instead he proposed to hold a much lesser inquiry, which he did later, to, as he put it “to halt further spread of rumour and unfounded allegations.”
This particular Cabinet minute now looks sick in view of the decision of the Police Service in Northern Ireland to re-open an investigation into the historic allegations at the children’s home where children were sexually abused in the 1970s and early 1980s. As Fiona O’Cleirigh reported on Exaro News the scandal will now be re-opened.
The question is were Thatcher’s Cabinet in 1983 hopelessly naive or were they covering up something they did not want to be ruthlessly exposed in the public domain.