National Library of Scotland criticised over tribute to paedophile campaigner

Bosses at the National Library of Scotland have removed an exhibit which paid tribute to a late gay rights campaigner after it was revealed he was a co-founder of a notorious child abuse network.

The exhibit was removed from the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. Picture: Kim Traynor/Wikicommons

A small display in a reading room at the academic centre in Edinburgh hailed Ian Dunn as a champion of LGBT rights - but failed to mention he was also involved in establishing the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE).

Dunn, who died in 1998, has been widely named as an influential member of a national campaign that called for the legalisation of sex between adults and children.

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PIE was disbanded in 1984 after a series of newspaper exposures, with many of its leading activists subsequently jailed.

Staff at the library hurriedly removed the tribute to Dunn yesterday after being alerted to his past by The Times newspaper.

A spokeswoman said the exhibit had been installed by a staff member in good faith in late 2018, with no complaints being registered. A single tweet sent to the library in November by a member of the public, which expressed concern about its appropriateness, was missed.

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Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: “No-one wants to see regular interference from politicians when it comes to archives and artefacts.

“But displaying these items which are so blatantly tainted by someone with links to a group promoting paedophilia is a misjudgement.

“It will be disturbing and upsetting to anyone who’s been a victim of paedophilia, and I hope this decision is revisited.”

Dunn worked as a local authority town planner in Edinburgh and helped run the Lavender Menace bookshop in Forth Street in the 1980s.

His links to PIE have been well-documented. Last year, the BBC faced criticism for uploading a 1976 documentary on gay rights in Scotland to its website as Dunn was listed as one of the programme’s presenters.

Newspapers were reporting Dunn’s links to paedophilia as far back as 1984. A Sunday Mail report from the time alleged he “allows his flat to be used as the main contact address for Britain and the whole of Europe for paedophiles”.

A library spokeswoman said: “Material from Dunn’s archive was unfortunately selected for a small display relating to gay rights in one of our reading rooms.

“Small displays such as these are not routinely subject to the same level of curatorial scrutiny as our larger displays or exhibitions. We have since been extremely concerned to learn of Dunn’s wider history and immediately removed the display and any associated promotional activity.”