The simmering scandal of Kincora has once again bubbled its way into the newspapers, with the News Letter arguing for its inclusion within the remit of inquiries into other serious instances of child sex abuse, and a Private Member's Motion debated at Stormont.
And it is a suave piece of news management on the part of UUP leader Mike Nesbitt during that debate that is perhaps the most interesting tidbit to emerge.
"So, there remain key questions, despite all the inquiries to date. When did the abuse begin? Who was responsible for it? Who knew about it? When did they know about it? Why was it not discovered sooner? Was there a cover-up? If there was, in whose interests did it suit people to cover up what was happening? What was the nature and extent of any involvement or knowledge of unionists, the Orange Order, the business community, military people and senior civil servants, including the secret services?
For decades now, there has been speculation that senior politicians were involved, including members of the Ulster Unionist Party. If the Ulster Unionist Party is implicated through individuals or corporately, I stand here to say that I will accept that guilt. The time has come to find out what really happened.
In a previous life, I worked with journalists, including Chris Moore, who has dedicated himself to exposing the abuse at Kincora as well as the Father Brendan Smyth case. I have been very critical of the Catholic Church and the way that it covered up members who abused children. I have been critical of political parties in the House whose senior members and family members were involved in abuse, and they did not do the right thing. So, if it is our turn as the Ulster Unionist Party, so be it. If any of our members were guilty, let us expose that, and I will acknowledge our guilt. There should be no hiding place because, if this is true, it is a national scandal. If it had happened in Birmingham, Swansea or Glasgow, it would be a national scandal. If it happened here in Belfast, it is a national scandal. Therefore, it needs a national investigation."Does Mr. Nesbitt know something that we don't, or at least strongly suspect it?
As an aside, the Blether Region notes that Nelson McCausland, now on the back benches, spoke about the Kincora scandal as if it were something to which he had not even the most tangential connection. It is true that Northern Ireland is a small place, and links of some kind or other are to be expected and thus might not always be newsworthy, but why the silence over the fact that he knew the most egregious abuser William McGrath and was — according to one journalist — a member of McGrath's legal-but-loopy paramilitary band Tara? A reference to McGrath "having fooled me too" would surely have been appropriate.
Of course, Mr. McCausland, much of whose electoral support must come from conventional evangelical Christians, may simply be loath to draw attention to his belief in British-Israel theories, his membership of the BI-tinged Cross of Saint Patrick LOL 688 (co-founded by McGrath) or his speaking engagements at events hosted by the British-Israel World Federation, in which fellow McGrath acolyte and professional Ulster-Scot Clifford Smyth is an office-holder.