Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Legion fury at 'despicable' attack on murdered soldiers' memorial

Ulster Unionist Bill Manwaring yesterday at the vandalised memorial erected to three young soldiers murdered by the IRA in 1971
A tricolour is raised over an Orange hall at Ballycastle

A memorial to three soldiers murdered by the IRA has been attacked for the 12th time since it was erected five years ago.

Paint was thrown over the stone monument which commemorates the young fusiliers from Scotland, who died in 1971.

Police are treating the attack on the memorial, at White Brae in Ligoniel, north Belfast, as a sectarian hate crime.

John MacVicar, secretary of Oldpark and Cavehill Royal British Legion, condemned the latest attack, saying it was "despicable".

"I am in no doubt that this, like all the other attacks, has been carried out by republicans in the misguided hope that we will remove this memorial," he said. The monument was erected in tribute to teenage brothers John and Joseph McCaig, and their 23-year-old colleague Dougald McCaughey. The off-duty soldiers were lured to the area and shot in March 1971.

Members of the Royal British Legion took part in fundraising to pay for the tribute, which was installed at the site where the soldiers' bodies were discovered.

The latest attack is believed to have taken place during the early hours of July 12.

Black gloss paint was smeared over the memorial.

Mr MacVicar said the cost of repairs to date stands at more than £5,000.

"Those involved need to understand that as determined as they are in their deluded attempts to airbrush out of history the fact that the IRA from Ardoyne lured these boys to White Brae and then executed them in cold blood, as a branch we are doubly determined to ensure that their sacrifice will never be forgotten," he added.

Meanwhile, sectarian graffiti was daubed on the wall of an Orange hall in Ballycastle. An Irish tricolour was also raised over the building on the Eleventh night .

SDLP councillor Dónal Cunningham condemned those responsible as "juvenile and unacceptable".

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