Nicola Sturgeon has apologised to the families of Scottish soldiers amid IRA 'freedom fighters' row
The First Minister has now personally apologised to the families of three Scottish soldiers murdered by the IRA over the comments by the SNP’s John Mason.
In her letter Ms Sturgeon also revealed she had reprimanded the Glasgow Shettleston MSP after a fierce backlash from those affected by the 1971 Republican executions.
But the party confirmed Mr Mason had been spared formal disciplinary action despite demands from relatives of Dougald McCaughey.
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Disciplinary action against Mason ought to be seriously considered
Scottish Conservatives spokesman
The 23-year-old and brothers John and Joseph McCaig, aged 17 and 18, were serving with the Royal Highland Fusiliers when they were lured to a lonely spot on the outskirts of Belfast and shot dead.
At the time, the three men were unarmed and in civilian clothes.
The Scottish Conservatives said Ms Sturgeon’s apology was “well overdue”.
There's growing pressure for the SNP to discipline MSP John Mason
Mr Mason twitted the IRA could be said to be 'freedom fighters'
A spokesman added: “However, in order to reaffirm the stance that we are all well and truly against the terrorists who brought an incredible amount of hurt and bloodshed to Northern Ireland, disciplinary action against Mason ought to be seriously considered.”
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A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "It looks very odd – not to mention inconsistent – that Nicola Sturgeon is willing to apologise for John Mason's remarks but not actually discipline him."
The row began when Mr Mason was asked on Twitter if he backed a crowd-funding campaign to bring the terrorists to justice, but he refused to take sides.
He said the IRA could be said to be “freedom fighters”.
Mr Mason also questioned whether the killers should be labelled “murderers” and said he only supported Scottish soldiers “if they do good but not if they do bad.”
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Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland
He initially refused to withdraw the remarks but this week said he was “extremely sorry that this has happened” and deeply regretted the offence caused.
It came after Bill Kidd, the SNP chief whip, who told him in an email that the issue could cause Ms Sturgeon embarrassment.
In her letter to David McCaughey, a cousin of the oldest victim, Ms Sturgeon said “there can never be any excuse or justification for the murder”.
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