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Metro Linfield coat incident 'did not happen as reported' says Translink after CCTV review

Family remain adamant incident happened

Published 30/10/2015

Gareth in his Linfield FC coat
Gareth in his Linfield FC coat

Translink has said claims made by a teenage boy that he was barred from a Metro service because of the Linfield Football Club coat he was wearing "did not happen as reported".

However, the family has rejected the findings of the company's investigation.

Gareth McKelvey claimed he was not let onto a bus on the Lisburn Road on Wednesday morning as he tried to make his way to work at a charity shop.

The 16-year-old told UTV the bus driver said it was because of the Linfield coat he was wearing.

His brother Rab told this newspaper that the incident made Gareth late for work.

Ulster Unionist MLA Michael McGimpsey said: "If this incident is as reported then it is simply disgraceful.

"I find it scarcely credible that a bus driver would refuse a young boy access to a bus because of the crest of Linfield FC on his jacket."

Following the story spreading on social media, Translink immediately responded saying there was no policy on what passengers wear on its services and it would be investigating.

On Friday, the transport provider said it had conducted a thorough review of the evidence available.

A Translink Spokesperson said: “We have concluded a thorough investigation into this alleged incident which has included a full review of the high quality CCTV to identify the full facts of this matter.

“From the evidence, we can concur that this incident did not happen as reported.

"This has been a very serious complaint and as such our investigations have been completed without delay.

“We would again reassure our passengers that there is no customer policy referring to passenger clothing when travelling on the bus or train and we pride ourselves in providing vital public transport for the entire community."

Mother Louanne said she met with Translink officials on Friday morning to discuss the matter.

She added: "I said to my son, did this happen and he said 'mummy this happened'.

"He got the bus on the Monday and Tuesday and didn't wear the coat and then there is a problem on the Wednesday when he does.

"Like any parent, I am going to believe what their child says.

"But it just looks like it is going to be my wee boy's word against theirs."

Following the statement Gareth's brother Rab said he too was adamant that the incident happened.

He said: "My brother has no reason to make this up, he gets the bus every day, why would he do it?

"If it turns out to be lies, then I will apologise for myself and my family because it will be embarrassing for Gareth.

"But he says it happened and I am going to believe what he says."

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