NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Celtic League has received a response to correspondence sent to the Home Secretary about the Ministry of Defence paying ‘hush money’ to cover up abuse scandals involving the military cadet forces.
Although the response does not directly answer the series of questions we posed it does indicate the Goddard Inquiry will have the power to compel witnesses including the Ministry of Defence to give evidence.
The full text of the Home Office letter is set out below:
4 March 2015
Dear Mr Moffatt,
Thank you for your letter of 28 January to the Home Secretary regarding the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. Your letter has been passed to the Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry Liaison Team for a response.
The government takes any allegations of child sexual abuse very seriously. It is a reprehensible crime, no matter where or when it occurs, and this government is determined to stamp it out.
You raise concerns about abuse in the cadet forces and possible concealment in the Ministry of Defence. The Home Secretary announced on 4 February that she intends to appoint Justice Lowell Goddard as chair of the Inquiry, and that the Inquiry will be re-established as statutory under the Inquiries Act 2005. This will give it the power to compel witnesses to give evidence, including the Ministry of Defence.
As a result, the Inquiry will have access to all the Government papers, reviews and reports it requires. Subject to the constraints imposed by any criminal investigations, it will be free to call witnesses from organisations in the public sector, private sector and civil society. We have been promised the fullest possible degree of cooperation by all of government and its agencies to determine the facts.
The Home Secretary will be establishing the terms of reference for the Inquiry in consultation with Justice Goddard, but they will continue to focus on institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse.
You ask for confirmation that the Home Office will ensure that the police are notified of any allegations of child sexual abuse. As part of her statement on 4 February, the Home Secretary announced a co-ordinated national policing response that will link directly into the Inquiry and will be able to follow up any lead the inquiry uncovers that requires a policing response. This will be led by Simon Bailey, the national policing lead for child protection and abuse investigations as part of Operation Hydrant, which will co-ordinate all child abuse investigations concerning people of public prominence or those offences that took place in institutional settings. The Hydrant team will be responsible for the recording of all referrals from the inquiry that relate to potentially criminal abuse and failures to act.
Thank you for writing to the Home Secretary on this important issue.
Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry Liaison Team”
You will see from the date of the letter that it was sent in early March however we did not receive it. The Celtic League had to contact the Direct Communications Unit (DCU) at the Home Office to enquire when/if a reply was forthcoming. They sourced the letter and forwarded a copy to us – our thanks therefore to the DCU team at the Home Office.
Footnote: The Ministry of Defence have still not responded to our query about the payment of ‘hush money’.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur)
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
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