Belfast Telegraph

Trapped pigeon in Belfast sparks harassment probe at Translink

By Allan Preston

Translink has launched an internal investigation after a passenger at Belfast Central station claimed she was harassed by staff.

Claudia Cunningham said that on Friday evening before taking her train home, she alerted an employee to a pigeon trapped in wire mesh above the railway platform.

The 59-year-old said she was told by a Translink worker he would “get someone down to get it shot”. Shortly afterwards she said he became agitated when he believed Ms Cunningham had taped the conversation.

Ms Cunningham, who is originally from Germany and moved to Bangor 10 years ago, said he then told her to leave the train station, which she refused, before getting on her train.

At that point, she claims the man she had complained to brought two other Translink workers on board who told her to scroll through her phone and delete any recordings before letting her continue on her journey.

Ms Cunningham told the Belfast Telegraph she felt “intimidated” and “embarrassed” by the incident which left her in tears that night.

A spokesperson for Translink said: “We have launched an internal investigation into a reported incident last Friday evening.

“Netting has been installed at Central Station to prevent pigeons from roosting. If a pigeon manages to get inside the netting, we call in our pest control contractors.”

Recalling the incident, Ms Cunningham said: “I use the train once a week. I’m always looking up at the wire mesh above the platform where I see pigeons getting stuck and Translink let them die, they don’t accept any responsibility.

“I went to an office, one man was sitting there and I told him about the pigeon and asked if he was contacting someone about it.”

She continued: “He said ‘I’ll get someone down to get it shot’, I was really shocked.”

“Then he saw my phone and stood up. He raised his voice and said ‘You’re not allowed to record this’.”

“I thought he was going to take my phone away. I took two steps away and complained to another staff member that I was being harassed.”

She said one of the security men told her she could stay if she proved she hadn’t recorded anything on her phone.

After scrolling through her pictures on her phone, she was allowed to continue on her journey. However, Ms Cunningham was left far from satisfied, adding: “It was really bad.”

She has submitted an official complaint to Translink on the matter.

Belfast Telegraph

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