The SNP is not doing all that it can to help us uncover the IRA murderers of three Scottish soldiers

Three Scottish Soldiers: from left, Dougald McCaughey, John McCaig, Joseph McCaig  from the Royal Highland Fusiliers. The trio were murdered by the IRA in March 1971 in north Belfast
Three Scottish Soldiers: from left, Dougald McCaughey, John McCaig, Joseph McCaig from the Royal Highland Fusiliers. The trio were murdered by the IRA in March 1971 in north Belfast

The families of the Three Scottish Soldiers murdered by the IRA are concerned why the Scottish government seems reluctant to fulfil its duty and provide effective assistance to their campaign to uncover the truth about their loved ones’ deaths.

Earlier this year, the families of the three off-duty Fusiliers murdered by the IRA in cold blood in 1971 launched their campaign for justice.

The SNP MSP Keith Brown, who as Scottish Minister for Veterans met the representatives of the murdered men's families

The SNP MSP Keith Brown, who as Scottish Minister for Veterans met the representatives of the murdered men's families

After all these years, no-one has ever been prosecuted despite the authorities knowing the names of their killers, which they refuse to disclose to the families.

In March, the families’ representatives met with the Scottish minister for veterans, Keith Brown.

The meeting was only offered after the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, was forced to apologise for one of her MSPs, John Mason’s, offensive and hurtful comments about the campaign. Mason, one of the families’ constituency’s MSP, had issued a shocking tweet that seemed to suggest the three soldiers deserved to be murdered.

Even more shocking is that Mason wasn’t sacked by the party.

Matthew Jury, managing partner of McCue & Partners.  Expert in counter-terror litigation and campaigner for victims of terrorism

Matthew Jury, managing partner of McCue & Partners. Expert in counter-terror litigation and campaigner for victims of terrorism

At the meeting with Mr. Brown, all the families asked is that a request be issued to the relevant UK and Irish authorities to disclose the materials they were holding to the Scottish government.

A reasonable proposition given that the campaign concerns the terrorist murders of Scottish citizens. They were told by Mr Brown that this was an issue for Westminster. Given the stock and pride the SNP places in its commitment to independence, this was surprising to say the least.

In the event, the families have now received a reply that all the Scottish government is prepared to do is write to its Westminster, Northern Ireland and Irish counterparts to “raise awareness of the campaign.” Beyond that, it would seem that the families are on their own.

But why? Why wouldn’t the SNP want to do everything in its powers to uncover who was responsible for this terrorist atrocity?

Why wouldn’t the Scottish government want to take responsibility for uncovering the truth behind the murder of its own citizens?

The number of reports of SNP members showing support for the IRA is deeply concerning. This year alone, in addition to Mason, two other SNP members have been publicly criticised.

In February, the SNP was urged to sack a council candidate after a picture of him emerged on a march honouring the death of an IRA member and an investigation uncovered a series of social media messages in support of the terror group.

In March, another SNP council candidate was obliged to deny accusations of affiliation to the IRA. Both these SNP members went on to take office in the recent local elections and Mason remains an MSP.

No doubt the SNP condemns the terrorist action of the IRA and, indeed, any terrorist atrocity. But perhaps it should be doing more to restore confidence in victims of terrorism by backing the families’ campaign to the fullest extent.

The SNP should be doing everything in its power to unmask the Three Scottish Soldiers killers.

After 45 years, the families have waited and suffered long enough.

The families are meeting the Scottish Conservatives to discuss their position on our campaign and its view on whether the Scottish government is doing enough to assist us.

• Matthew Jury is managing partner of London-based firm McCue & Partners. The firm is specialist in securing justice for victims of terror, and took the successful civil action against the Omagh bomb murderers

This story has a link where you can donate to the legal bid: Scottish Tories lambast SNP over murdered soldiers