Belfast Telegraph

Man charged over attacks on memorial to Scots soldiers

By Rebecca Black

Progress by the PSNI into a campaign of attacks on a memorial to three Scottish soldiers who were killed by the IRA has been welcomed.

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.

However, there have been 23 attacks on the memorial since it was put in place.

Now local politicians have welcomed progress by detectives investigating the attacks on the memorial.

A 37-year-old man from the Dunmurray area has been charged with criminal damage and theft.

Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick thanked members of the community who have assisted his investigation and urged anyone with further information about the attacks to come forward.

"The attacks on this memorial have caused a lot of anger and fear within the community, and police actions this morning should serve as a reminder that we will robustly investigate these sort of attacks," he said.

"We would also like to thank people from both sides of the community who supported us during the investigation. I would still ask that if anybody has any information about these attacks, or indeed any other similar attacks, to call us on 101 and give us the information."

North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey described the attacks as "disgraceful".

"The memorial has been subjected to around 23 attacks, including the scrawling of republican graffiti, in what have clearly been sectarian hate crimes," he said.

"My party colleagues and I have consistently appealed for information and for surveillance which would bring these disgraceful attacks to an end.

"I warmly welcome that, with support from both sides of the community, the PSNI has this morning arrested and charged a 37-year-old male in relation to these attacks."

Former soldier and Ulster Unionist representative Andy Allen also welcomed the progress by police.

"The attacks on the memorial have caused a lot of anger and hurt within the community and I hope the arrest and charge will act as a deterrent against any further despicable and cowardly attacks," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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