MPs want to extend UK child abuse inquiry to Northern Ireland

A committee of British MPs is urging the UK Government to expand the scope of the public inquiry into child abuse- to include Northern Ireland.

MPs want to extend UK child abuse inquiry to Northern Ireland

A committee of British MPs is urging the UK Government to expand the scope of the public inquiry into child abuse- to include Northern Ireland.

It's currently only looking into cases in England and Wales, but the British Home Affairs Select Committee says it should also include the North and Scotland to ensure it creates a full picture.

It also called for the scope of the inquiry to be extended – including the allegations of abuse involving prominent public figures at the Kincora Boys’ Home in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s – where there was reason to believe there was relevant material held by the UK Government.

They have also recommended the UK's Home Office conduct a new search of all Government material, to establish no relevant documents have been overlooked.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Theresa May has been criticised by MPs for refusing to release details of the salary of the new head of the inquiry.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee strongly endorsed the appointment of the New Zealand High Court judge Justice Lowell Goddard to head the inquiry after the two previous chairs were forced to step down over perceived conflicts of interest.

But the committee said it was “disappointed” that Mrs May had refused to disclose her proposed salary range, saying only that it would be “in line with other public appointments of this nature”.

“This is not in line with the open and transparent approach we would expect in the course of a pre-appointment process,” the committee said.

While the committee accepted Justice Goddard’s view that the abuse victims did not need to be represented on the new inquiry panel, it called for the creation of a parallel “survivors’ forum” with strong links to the panel.

The committee chairman, Keith Vaz, said they had been impressed by Justice Goddard’s “outstanding credentials” and believed she had the necessary skills and dedication to carry out the role effectively.

“We are confident that Justice Goddard will establish full independence from the Home Office and that she will shape and lead the inquiry in the manner she decides, but with proper consideration for the survivors,” he said.

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