Belfast Telegraph

Families in campaign for IRA killers of three Scottish soldiers to face civil action

By Rebecca Black

The families of three Scottish soldiers shot by the IRA in 1971 want to bring a civil action against their killers.

Relatives of Fusiliers Dougald McCaughey (23) and brothers John (17) and Joseph McCaig (18) have formed the Three Scottish Soldiers Campaign For Justice.

They hope to bring the killers before the civil courts in the way relatives of victims of the Omagh bomb pursued the Real IRA perpetrators.

The three young soldiers were lured from a Belfast city centre bar on March 10, 1971 to White Brae in Ligioniel, where they were shot dead.

No one has ever faced trial for the atrocity.

Dougald's cousin David McCaughey said the murders were a scar that never healed.

"I made promises to family that are no longer living that I would never let these boys be forgotten. I will never break that promise," he said.

"I suffer from ill health due to cancer, I now know that if my health took a turn for the worse that there are good people in this campaign working to fulfil my original promise."

The McCaughey and McCaig families have launched a fundraising campaign to aid their efforts.

In a statement they said a double standard was now operating.

"While the UK authorities appear to be singling out veterans for prosecution, these suspected murderers are reported to be living freely in the Republic of Ireland," the families said.

"Their identities are known to the police and security services. There has only ever been one attempt to extradite them. Ireland refused the request on the grounds that the murders were 'political not criminal'. No action has been taken since."

The families say they have a right to know the truth and see the killers of their loved ones made accountable for their crimes.

"If the State won't act then they must, and will take any necessary and appropriate legal action, including private criminal or civil prosecutions," the statement added.

"Not only is this case important to the boys' families and loved ones, it is of significant public importance.

"UK soldiers have been pursued time and time again for actions carried out in the fight against terrorism, while the terrorists themselves often live out their days without fear of prosecution.

"It is hoped this campaign will help to redress this imbalance."

Kris McGurk, director of the Three Scottish Soldiers Campaign For Justice said the victims were "just three young, innocent boys".

"They do deserve our support and efforts to fight for justice on their behalf," he said.

"The Troubles will never really end whilst we still have innocent victims troubled by them.

"This is why, if we want to move on, we must provide closure for those victims and have those responsible for terror in our country held accountable for their actions."

A memorial to the soldiers, located on the roadside where they were killed at White Brae on the outskirts of north Belfast, was erected in 2010.

It has become one of the most attacked monuments in Northern Ireland. There have been at least 23 incidents of vandalism, including sectarian graffiti, paint bombing and poppy wreaths being destroyed.

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