Belfast Telegraph

Public sector strike: Cancer patient doesn't know how he will be able to travel to hospital to attend his daily treatment with radiotherapy

By Joanne Sweeney

A cancer sufferer from Londonderry has told how he has been left with no idea how he will attend his daily radiotherapy treatment because of the strike.

Edward Dobbins is currently in the middle of a six-and-a-half-week radiotherapy course and receives treatment at the cancer centre at Belfast City Hospital five days a week.

"I was aware of the planned strike but I've just noticed that there are no buses on Friday so I don't know how I will get up," said Mr Dobbins yesterday at Translink's bus and train centre in Great Victoria Street.

"I'll have to try and get a lift up but I do think the workers have a right to strike as they feel they are being shafted. The poor man's paying for the rich man's mistakes. Even though it's putting me out, they only asking for what they are entitled to."

Friends Alix Jardine and Barbara Robinson from Portadown do not support the Translink workers' strike.

Both are entitled to receive free fares on buses and trains.

Alix Jardine said: "I'm very much against the strike action of Translink workers or any public sector workers as the impact just affects the most vulnerable of our society - the old, the poor, children and those many who find it difficult to get around.

"The strike won't really affect me as I don't have any plans to travel that day."

Barbara Robinson agreed with her friend but added that she believed that the unions could have done more to negotiate for what they wanted.

"I don't think striking is the best option as it impacts on the most vulnerable and negotiation should be the preferred way," she said.

"I hope that these strikes won't continue throughout the rest of the year as the unions are holding people to ransom and it's wrong."

Stephen Yeman (42) from Newtownards is also against the strike as he uses public transport to get to his work and to his horse-riding school where he trains as a competitor for the Special Olympics.

The gold medal winner said: "The strike action is definitely wrong as they are not making it fair for other people like me who rely on the buses and trains.

"I work in Tesco's in Bangor and now I won't be able to go to work on Friday with the bus strike.

"My mum and dad are away and it will cost nearly £18 for me to take a taxi to work."

Emma McGlade (20) is a second-year accountancy student from Omagh who's studying at Queen's University in Belfast.

"A lot of students like me use the bus to travel home at the weekend and while I know that it probably impacts on a lot of people, I'm not against the strike," she said.

Jack McMullan (20) from Lisburn is a second-year student studying biomedical sciences, also at Queen's.

He said: "I use the bus and the train regularly but I'm all for the strike. It's all for the greater good and I say 'Stick it to the man'."

Taxi driver Peter Gray from Newtownards is expecting to pick up extra fares on Friday as result of the strike but says that he's backing the industrial action.

"The government have had it their own way too long and the rich are getting fatter.

"The strikers are only doing what they need to do," he said.

Mother and daughter Glynis Brown from Carrickfergus and Victoria Hawthorne from Lisburn said that they are broadly sympathetic to the Translink workers' strike but admit that they rarely use public transport.

Victoria said: "We used the train today but this is a one-off for me.

"I'm sure the strike will affect a lot of people but I understand the reasons behind it."

Her mother Glynis added: "I suppose the workers feel that there is no other choice but to strike.

"It's a pity that some people will be affected by it all."

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