Belfast Telegraph

Attack on bus disgraceful: MP

By Michael McCready

A stone attack on a bus travelling through north Belfast has been labelled “utterly disgraceful”.

The attack happened at about 3.50pm on Wednesday, February 10, on the Oldpark Road when a number of youths threw stones as the bus passed.

A number of children sustained cuts and two windows were smashed.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds claimed it was a sectarian attack. However police have said a motive is yet to be established.

Mr Dodds said: “This was an utterly disgraceful and clearly orchestrated sectarian attack.

“The bus was attacked with bricks and large stones thrown by nationalist youths as it passed a shop on the Oldpark Road.

“This was on a different scale to previous incidents. I have been told by eye witnesses that around 15 teenagers were involved in the attack causing the bus driver to slow right down.

“Bricks and stones were thrown through the smashed windows striking around six passengers before the driver was able to get away. One of the bricks hit a Boys’ Model pupil in the face, requiring four stitches.

“There have been spates of attacks against buses at this location in the past, targeting pupils of the Boys’ Model and Girls’ Model schools returning home to the Lower Oldpark and Shankill area, but nothing on this scale.

“These attacks are not just reckless, they are extremely dangerous and could potentially result in multiple deaths from causing the bus to crash.

“The Unite drivers union has rightly expressed outrage at the risk to its drivers and the public caused by these mindless attacks.

“Parents and people of influence within the community must also do all they can to ensure there is no continuation of these sectarian attacks.”

Michael Dornan from Unite called the perpetrators “mindless thugs” who were endangering lives.

He added: “We have stated now through our company that if attacks in various areas persist, we will withdraw the services.”

Translink have also condemned the attack.

A police spokesman said: “Police are appealing for information following an incident on the Oldpark Road in north Belfast on February 10.

“At about 3.50pm a number of youths threw items, including stones, at a bus. Two windows were smashed and a number of teenage children sustained cuts.”

Anyone who was in the area and witnessed the incident is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000.

Information about crime can also be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

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