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Loyalist bandsmen chanted sectarian songs on train

Seamus McKinney

A PASSENGER on the Derry to Belfast train has accused bandsmen returning from the Apprentice Boys Relief of Derry march of intimidating people using the service.

The man said he was left feeling fearful by what he described as “vile sectarian chants and songs” from the bandsmen on the 5.30pm train last Saturday.

The passenger's complaint comes just weeks after Translink told SDLP assembly member John Dallat that police have been asked to investigate claims that different bandsmen sang sectarian songs and chanted “Kill All Taigs” while using the same service.

The passenger, who did not want to be named, was returning from a visit to Derry when bandsmen boarded.

“I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It was all about violence and very, very sectarian,” he said.

At one stage, the passenger said one of the bandsmen approached him and asked why he was not singing along.

“I didn't know what to say so I just said I was tired marching and that seemed to be ok for him.”

The man, who is from a non-nationalist background, said: “I can't understand why there were no police on the train. Where were the police?

“There were some people there who appeared to be security staff but they could do nothing and did not intervene,” he said.

The passenger said he has complained to Translink.

A spokeswoman for the company said significant preparation went into planning for all major events and private security was deployed where appropriate.

“Translink NI Railways are in constant contact with the PSNI prior to and during such events however, previous records show this was not a traditional journey made following this event, with no incidents previously reported.

“Our staff dealt with these difficult situations, in a very professional manner, providing a visible presence, segregating customers where possible and defusing the volatile situation,” she said.

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