Scottish Tory tables motion for release of IRA murder files

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

A conservative member of the Scottish assembly is pressing Holyrood to give its full backing to a campaign for justice for three soldiers murdered by the IRA in Belfast.

Dougald McCaughey, 23, John McCaig, 17, and Joseph McCaig, 18, were enjoying drinks in a Belfast bar while off duty in 1971. IRA men then lured them to their deaths on the pretext of meeting girls at a part in what became known as the honey-trap murders.

Relatives of the soldiers have launched a civil action to seek justice against their killers.

Scottish National Party MSP John Mason made disparaging remarks about the campaign in 2017, forcing his party leader first minister Nicola Spurgeon to write an apology to the families.

However she failed to give them the backing they wanted in pressing for the release of police files on the original investigation, prompting condemnation from the Scottish Conservative Party.

Now Scottish MSP Maurice Corry has tabled a motion which he hopes will bring the full weight of the Scottish Assembly behind the campaign.

“The work of campaigns like the Three Scottish Soldiers Justice Campaign, clearly demonstrate the desire of the families and friends to have closure following the murders of their loved in Northern

Ireland,” he said. “In some cases, families have been waiting for decades to find out the truth about what happened & that’s not right. Now is the time for everyone to come together and do what they can to recognise the pain and suffering of the families and help bring them closure which is why I have brought my motion forward and will seek a debate in The Scottish Parliament to help highlight the issue.”

Kris McGurk, Director, Three Scottish Soldiers Campaign for Justice, said that if enough cross party signatures can be secured it will result in a debate and possibly the full backing of the Scottish assembly.

“I am extremely confident we can achieve this,” he said.

He understands that the PSNI passed all their files on the murders to the Metropolitan Police in October, to vet them for national security issues.

“If the Scottish Parliament backs our campaign for the release of the files it will allow us to know the full range of evidence available and how best we should proceed in our legal case,” he said.

“After all, if your own government does not understand why this is so important to us then what hope have you got?”

“I am extremely thankful to Maurice Corry MSP.”