Belfast Telegraph

Mural to Scottish soldiers murdered by IRA unveiled in Co Antrim

The mural to the three Scottish soldiers.
The mural to the three Scottish soldiers.

By Gareth Cross

A memorial to three Scottish soldiers murdered by the IRA has been unveiled in the Rathcoole estate on the anniversary of their deaths.

Dougald McCaughey, 23, was killed along with brothers John and Joseph McCaig, 17 and 18 respectively, from Ayr 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.

Nobody has ever been convicted in connection with the killings.

Cloughfern Young Conquerors Flute Band are behind the new mural and raised funds in the local area to pay for it.

Other memorials to the three soldiers have been repeatedly attacked over the years.

The mural was officially unveiled in Rathcoole at 1pm on Sunday after a short band procession.

Kris McGurk, director of the Three Scottish Soldiers Campaign for Justice group said the victim's families had been "humbled" when told about the mural.

He said that family members had been unable to travel for the official unveiling of the mural due to their own memorial event in Scotland, but had given it their blessing and planned to visit Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.

"They know that something was getting done, but I don't think they really appreciated how prominent a feature this was going to be, when we too the pictures to them they were really humbled," Mr McGurk said.

Dougald McCaughey and brothers Joseph and John McCaig
Dougald McCaughey and brothers Joseph and John McCaig

"With all the goings on in regards to the memorials being attacked, they are the most heavily attacked memorials in all of Northern Ireland, with that in the back of their mind, to see this new act of remembrance, it's just really nice people doing a really nice thing."

Mr McGurk said that his campaign group were still fighting for justice for the three soldiers.

"There is an overwhelming sense of injustice and the families want to see if anything can be done," he said.

"I think through everything that has gone on people are really losing sight of the fact people died over there. Northern Ireland is not some separate entity, it's part of the UK. I just feel that something needs to get done.

"The campaign is now maneuvering itself into a position to get this looked at again."

He paid a special tribute to the flute band behind the new mural.

"Sometimes loyalist flute bands tend to get bad publicity, sometimes justified, I just felt that the people in Rathcoole have funded this from their own pocket and artists have worked in the cold, the flute band have done this selflessly," Mr McGurk said.

"Those guys have been out at night fundraising and liaising with the families, they deserve a lot of credit."

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