SNP MSP John Mason sparked fury after appearing to compare the IRA to 'freedom fighters'
John Mason was challenged about “taking sides between Scottish soldiers and Irish murderers” in an exchange on Twitter after being asked to support a justice campaign for three soldiers killed by the IRA in 1971.
He responded: “You say Irish murderers. Others say Irish freedom fighters. I support Scottish soldiers if they do good but not if they do bad.”
Mr Mason later tweeted that his comments “were general” and not referring to a specific case.
Scotsman Dougald McCaughey and brothers John and Joseph McCraig were killed by the IRA in 1971.
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The tweet sparked outrage from friends and families of IRA victims
The trio were off duty when they were lured away from a Belfast bar under the pretext of meeting girls before being killed.
No one has been charged over the murders.
The MSP was forced to apologise after a family member of one of the murdered men took offence to his comments.
The man should be ashamed to be Scottish
David McCaughey, a cousin of Mr McCaughey, said the comments made him “sick to the stomach”.
He added: “To turn around and say an organisation like the Provisional IRA are freedom fighters – that means you'd need to put ISIS, the Basque separatists and any other terrorist organisation down this freedom fighter route.
No one was ever charged for the murder of three Scottish soldiers in 1971 in Belfast
“It was an insult to my family and also to other people who have lost their lives at the hands of the IRA.
“The man should be ashamed to be Scottish.”
Mr Mason later issued an apology, saying he would not wish to make any further comment.
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He said: “I deeply regret the offence and upset that has been caused to the relatives who lost loved ones and am extremely sorry that this has happened.
“I condemn and deplore all acts of terrorism. I do not intend to make any further comment.”
This is not the first time Mr Mason has landed himself in hot water.
He was accused of “trivialising rape culture” last month after appearing to compare Scottish independence to nonconsensual sex.
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