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Volume 170: debated on Thursday 19 April 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he hopes to complete his consideration of the issues raised by the Channel 4 television programme of 28 March on Kincora.

[holding answer 2 April 1990]: I have studied the transcript of the Channel 4 News programme. I note that there were some statements by Mr. Mike Taylor which are not consistent with what I understand to be the content of his 1982 statement to the police. If he has anything to add to his 1982 statement, he should give it to the police.For the remainder, the transcript contains no new material. As the Terry report confirmed, rumours about the homosexual tendencies of one member of the staff at Kincora reached the police in Northern Ireland during the 1970s but this did not amount to substantive evidence of homosexual abuse of boys at the hostel. Sir George Terry in his published conclusions refers, against the background of intense contemporary terrorist activity, to

"an understandable inability to recognise that extremely vague information which arose in 1974, if probed thoroughly, may well have revealed that which was finally discovered in [the] 1980 investigations"

but adds:

"I do not consider … that an earlier investigation would reasonably have been prompted on the basis of the information available …"

A full account of such rumours, which are known to have come to the attention of social services, is contained in the Hughes report. Rumours that a man may have homosexual tendencies are not by themselves a basis for criminal or disciplinary action against him. However, if anyone believes that they have substantive new evidence which is relevant, they should give it to the police.