Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Bus attacks spark pull-out threat

Transport union representatives are threatening to withdraw bus services following two separate attacks on Belfast bus driver’s this week.

On Wednesday two Translink buses were stoned by youths on Oldpark and Springfield roads in the north of the city.

A schoolboy received serious facial lacerations in the Old Park Road attack. Nobody was injured in the Springfield incident, which resulted in one window being broken. The incidents have been described as the latest in a long line of persistent attacks on Translink buses, by one union representative, who warns services could be lost.

At around 3.30pm the Oldpark Road bus was forcefully stopped and then stoned by a group of youths.

Two windows were smashed and a 14-year-old Boys Model School pupil required four stitches to his face. The attacks have been widely condemned and prompted transport union UNITE to issue a public warning; that persistent bus attacks could result in the withdrawal of services.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, UNITE chairman Michael Dornan said: “The drivers are angry. If these sort of attacks persist in any given area, we will have to seriously consider withdrawing the services from that given area. These attackers need to understand the consequences of their actions.”

Mr Dornan said he believes such attacks can occur up to four times a day during particularly contentious times of the year.

“It means at least 60 to 70% of the year in any given area in Belfast a bus driver is being attacked, robbed or assaulted. We are public servants who risk our lives on a daily basis — when all we are doing is trying to provide a service.”

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