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Translink to launch investigation into sectarian abuse on train

A Co Armagh parent has urged Translink to increase security on trains at Christmas after his daughter was subjected to sectarian abuse
Gareth McKeown

A MAN has called for increased security on trains after his daughter was subjected to foul-mouthed sectarian abuse on a journey at the weekend.

The 23-year-old Armagh woman was returning home from her work Christmas party in Belfast by train to Portadown when chanting and jeering started.

Sectarian tunes belted out in the carriage included the infamous loyalist 'Billy Boys' which includes the lyrics 'We're up to our knees in Fenian blood.."

The woman said she was also confronted by one of the group who sat on her knee and asked if she was a "Fenian f***".

Translink have said they are investigating a number of incidents on the 10.10pm Belfast to Portadown train on Saturday night which also led to the train being delayed by half an hour.

Police removed two people from the train, first at Great Victoria Street in Belfast and then at Lisburn in relation to separate offences.

The father of the woman, who does not want to be identified, said his daughter was left shocked by what happened.

"When she came home she was really distraught, badly shaken and felt very intimated the whole time on the train," he said.

"Alcohol is no excuse. In a normal circumstance if anyone getting the train came upon a crowd like that it would put them off the train for life. It was ridiculous, there should be security on the carriages to prevent anything like that. There was nobody there to challenge them at all.

"The guy who asked if she was a Fenian f*** was in his 30s so wasn't a young man and while he was drunk she told me he was very irate and angry and asking if there were any other Fenian's on the train. She said she could see others were also getting uncomfortable and were getting very nervous putting their heads down. It's totally unacceptable," he added.

Sinn Féin MLA and transport spokesman Declan McAleer said there is "no place whatsoever for sectarianism in our society".

"Nobody should be subject to this type of abuse," he said.

 

"Our public transport system is one in which we are encouraging people to use, especially in the run up to Christmas. Such incidents will naturally detract from this.

"I welcome the fact that Translink are investigating this incident and I would encourage anyone with information to pass it to Translink or the PSNI," he added

A Translink spokesman said the investigation has been launched "which will include reviewing CCTV footage".

“Translink also continues to operate a reward scheme, which offers up to £1,000 reward to anyone who gives evidence leading to a successful prosecution," a spokesman said.

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