Northern Ireland

Soldiers' memorial damaged in 'vile' attack

The memorial to three soldiers murdered by the IRA in north Belfast
Image caption The memorial had paint thrown over it

A memorial to three soldiers murdered by the IRA in north Belfast has been damaged in an attack.

The monument at Ballysillan Avenue had paint thrown over it on Thursday.

The memorial commemorates three fusiliers from Scotland who were killed in March 1971.

North Belfast MLA Nelson McCausland condemned the attack as "shameful", adding: "It was clearly intended to cause the maximum possible damage to the memorial."

He added: "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," Mr McCausland said.

Ulster Unionist MLA Andy Allen said he was "disgusted" that the memorial had been targeted.

"This needs to stop. My thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of the Three Scottish Soldiers as they learn of this despicable and totally unacceptable attack."

The Alliance Party's Justice spokesperson, Trevor Lunn MLA, called the incident "a cowardly act" and said there can never be any justification for such attacks.

The memorial was built using funds raised by the Royal British Legion.

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