Scottish Tories lambast SNP over murdered soldiers

The three Scottish soldiers who were murdered in Belfast by the IRA in 1971. From left: Joseph McCaig, Dougald McCaughey and John McCaig
The three Scottish soldiers who were murdered in Belfast by the IRA in 1971. From left: Joseph McCaig, Dougald McCaughey and John McCaig

The Scottish Conservative Party has lambasted the Scottish National Party (SNP) for failing to support IRA victims – ahead of a meeting with families of three murdered soldiers today.

The three fusiliers were murdered by the IRA in Belfast in 1971.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote an apology to the families of 'The Three Scottish Soldiers' after SNP MSP John Mason likened their killers to "Irish Freedom Fighters".
Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote an apology to the families of 'The Three Scottish Soldiers' after SNP MSP John Mason likened their killers to "Irish Freedom Fighters". Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

Dougald McCaughey and brothers John and Joseph McCaig were off duty in a bar when IRA members lured them to meet girls.

Instead, they shot them on the outskirts of north Belfast.

Three Scottish Soldiers campaign director Kris McGurk said the families are due to meet the Scottish Conservative Party today, after being disappointed by the SNP.

In February Scottish first minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon made a written apology to the families after SNP MSP John Mason suggested the IRA killers were “Irish freedom fighters”.

John Mason MSP tweeted that some people regard the killers of the three soldiers as "Irish Freedom Fighters". After extended pressure he issued an apology.

John Mason MSP tweeted that some people regard the killers of the three soldiers as "Irish Freedom Fighters". After extended pressure he issued an apology.

READ MORE: SNP man sparks anger with ‘IRA Freedom Fighters’ tweet

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says sorry over ‘IRA Freedom Fighters’ tweet

READ MORE: Leaked SNP email leaves families questioning sincerity of ‘IRA’ apology

The families requested a meeting with Ms Sturgeon, but she passed them to her Minister For Veterans, Keith Brown.

Campaign director 
Kris McGurk at the monument for the three Scottish soldiers murdered in the IRA 'honeytrap' attack in 1971.
Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Campaign director Kris McGurk at the monument for the three Scottish soldiers murdered in the IRA 'honeytrap' attack in 1971. Pic: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

They asked him to request information from British and Irish authorities on the IRA suspects for a private legal action against them. However, he has now refused to do so.

“Surprisingly, Mr Brown has told the families that it is a matter for Westminster not Holyrood,” Mr McGurk said.

However, Scottish Tories have voiced support for the campaign.

Ahead of his meeting with the families, Scottish Conservative veterans spokesman Maurice Corry MSP said: “The families of these men are understandably furious at the response of the SNP on this.

“The initial remarks by John Mason were a disgrace, and the lack of condemnation from the SNP was astonishing.

“I’m happy to meet with these campaigners and hear more about what they are hoping to achieve. We cannot allow their deaths to have been in vain.”

A Scottish government spokesman said Ms Sturgeon and Mr Brown had described the murders as “deplorable” and said it is “deeply disappointing” no one has been brought to justice.

“Keith Brown met the campaign earlier this year – but it is not for any government to become involved in private legal action or to intervene in any police investigation,” he added.

• News Letter readers have raised over £12,000 so far for the legal action. The latest target is £25,000 and donations can be made at: www.crowdjustice.com/case/three-scottish-soldiers

Cheques payable to ‘The Three Scottish Soldiers Fund’ can be sent to McCue & Partners, 4th Floor, 158 Buckingham Palace Rd, London.