Attack on Belfast soldiers' memorial intended to cause maximum damage: Nelson McCausland
Vandals who attacked a memorial to soldiers murdered by the IRA were intent on causing the maximum possible damage, an MLA has said.
Black paint was poured over the memorial to the three Scottish soldiers at Ballysillan Avenue, late on Wednesday night.
"This is clearly a hate crime," said DUP MLA Nelson McCausland.
"This was a shameful attack and it was clearly intended to cause the maximum possible damage to the memorial.
"Two of the soldiers were just teenagers when they were killed and the families are still scarred by the callous manner in which the young men were murdered by republican gunmen.
"Northern Ireland was shocked by the murders and at the inquest in August 1971 the coroner described the killings as ‘one of the vilest crimes ever heard of in living memory’.
"Those were vile acts of murder and this is a vile act of vandalism."
Police are investigating.
The three soldiers were killed in March 1971 at White Brae
Brothers John (17) and Joseph (18) McCaig from Ayr and Dougald McCaughey (23) from Glasgow were killed by the IRA on March 10, 1971.
The 1st Battalion, Royal Highland Fusiliers, had been socialising in Belfast city centre when they were lured to the remote White Brae on the Ligoniel Road by a republican woman and murdered.
The mother of the teenagers expressed a wish for a memorial to her boys in 1972, but one was not erected until the Royal British Legion raised money for it in 2010.
There have been numerous attacks on the monument. In August the Belfast Telegraph reported that there had been 23 attacks on the memorial.