The lawyer acting for families seeking justice for three Scottish soldiers murdered by the IRA has attacked the Scottish Government for failing to do enough to uncover the truth behind the killings.
Matthew Jury, who is campaigning on behalf of the off-duty Royal Highland Fusiliers killed in the Northern Irish Troubles, accused SNP ministers of leaving the families “on their own” and failing to back them fully.
Writing in the Belfast News Letter, Mr Jury drew attention to the case of Dougald McCaughey, John McCaig and Joseph McCaig, who were murdered in 1971.
Campaigners recently met Veterans Minister Keith Brown but are dismayed at the lack of action by the Scottish Government. The meeting was set up after Nicola Sturgeon apologised after SNP MSP John Mason suggested the IRA could be described as “freedom fighters” in an online discussion about the murders.
Mr Jury said: “All the families asked is that a request be issued to the relevant UK and Irish authorities to disclose the materials they were holding to the Scottish Government... A reasonable proposition given that the campaign concerns the terrorist murders of Scottish citizens. They were told by Mr Brown that this was an issue for Westminster.
“Given the stock and pride the SNP places in its commit- ment to independence, this was surprising, to say the least... the families have now received a reply that all the Scottish Government is prepared to do is write to its Westminster, Northern Ireland and Irish counterparts to ‘raise awareness of the campaign’.
“ Beyond that, it would seem that the families are on their own.”
He added: “No doubt the SNP condemns the terrorist action of the IRA and, indeed, any terrorist atrocity. But perhaps it should be doing more to restore confidence in victims of terrorism by backing the families’ campaign to the fullest extent.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said Ms Sturgeon and Mr Brown deplored the murders, adding it was “deeply disappointing” no one had been brought to justice for them.
The spokesman said: “Keith Brown met the campaign earlier this year but it is not for the government to become involved in private legal action or to intervene in any police investigation.
“However, Mr Brown has offered to raise the cam- paigners’ case with the UK Government, the Irish government and, once devolution is restored, the Northern Ireland Executive.”