Sinn Fein and SDLP unite to condemn sectarian bus attack on Apprentice Boys supporters
Sinn Fein and SDLP politicians have condemned an attack on a bus carrying Apprentice Boys supporters.
Four people were injured in the incident, which was also criticised by a local priest, following the annual parade in Londonderry on Saturday.
The bus was bringing spectators back to Belfast when it came under fire from stone-throwers in Dungiven around teatime.
Fr Aidan Mullan, who told how a parishioner at one of his masses had tears in her eyes over the violence, said the attackers' actions "did not represent the views of the people of Dungiven".
"What is very annoying is that it was pre-meditated," he added. "These people had to be there, armed with these stones in a pre-meditated, cold-blooded fashion.
"One woman had tears in her eyes saying, 'We get painted in a bad name and it's not fair, it's not right, that doesn't represent us'."
East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell insisted the perpetrators "must be identified, and attacks stopped." He added: "If they are not the perception will grow that there are those in predominantly nationalist villages who are content for attacks to go on against people travelling to celebrate their history and heritage just because it isn't theirs."
SDLP MLA and Assembly deputy Speaker John Dallat also hit out at the violence. "An attack on a bus travelling through Dungiven was evil, dreadful for those attacked and unfair to the decent peace-loving people of the north-west, who had no problem having thousands of Apprentice Boys in Derry on Saturday," he said.
Sinn Fein councillor Tony McCaul, who is from the town, added: "There is no excuse for attacking a bus with stones. We are fortunate not to be dealing with a more serious incident."
Among those on the bus were two middle-aged sisters whose heads knocked together during the incident. One of them, a 61-year-old, was hit with a brick and had to be taken to hospital after suffering serious facial injuries and losing some teeth.
Her 58-year-old sister said: "She has a bad cut on her face."
A 16-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm has been released on bail pending further inquiries.