Chris Moore is a campaigning, investigative journalist whose name has become synonymous with the search for truth about organised child abuse in Northern Ireland.
In this talk at the RightsNI Live! event from December 11th 2012, he gives a glimpse into some of his investigations, from his work on the Kincora children’s home scandal in the 1980s, serial-abuser Fr Brendan Smyth in the 1990s, through to the campaigns by abuse victims for public inquiries in recent years.
Throughout many years of investigations, Moore has been persistent in pursuit of the facts, often in the face of opposition and obfuscation from the highest levels of church and state.
Organised child abuse and its concealment are issues which continue to both repulse and intrigue. Among many in Northern Ireland there is a palpable sense that cover-up persists in some quarters. On December 30th Sam McBride noted in the News Letter that no files on Kincora were released under the thirty year rule, despite it being a high profile matter dealt with by government during 1982.
However, there is also now a real prospect of light being shed into dark corners. Last month, the legislation to establish the historic institutional abuse inquiry passed its final hurdle in the Northern Ireland Assembly. While not perfect, the legislation provides the statutory powers to Justice Anthony Hart to investigate wrong-doing in children’s homes, care institutions and borstals during the period 1922-1995.
Still in the dark, however, are victims of (non institution-based) clerical child abuse in Northern Ireland, who continue to call for an inquiry into the crimes and cover-ups which they have suffered. Perhaps 2013 will see some real progress being achieved there.
Moore’s experience of investigating abuse in Northern Ireland leaves him doubtful:
It’s as if the system doesn’t want to listen to children. They’ve got rights. Does anybody care? It doesn’t appear so. The state doesn’t care. If it suits them, children can be raped and abused.
It’s a chilling thought.