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Belfast Live 2021 Belfast bus driver needs a while 39;to get himself straight39; colleagues .

Belfast Live 2021 Belfast bus driver needs a while 39;to get himself straight39; colleagues .

Belfast Live Belfast Live Belfast get bus while needs a … straight' colleagues himself 'to driver

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:00:00 +0100

Buses stood empty around Belfast City Hall this morning as his colleagues protested following last night's 'terrifying' attack

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Buses stood empty around Belfast City Hall this morning as his colleagues protested following last night’s ‘terrifying’ attack

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Buses stood empty around Belfast City Hall this morning as drivers protested an "unprovoked attack" that has left their colleague needing "a while to get himself straight".

A Metro bus was hijacked and burned out after being pelted with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and the Shankill Road in another night of loyalist violence on Wednesday.

Now bus drivers are warning they will not work in areas where riots are taking place overnight.

Unite representative, Michael Dornan, said: "I spoke with Colin earlier on.

He is badly shaken and it's going to take a while in order for him to get himself straight and come back.

"But I know the company and I know his trade union will give him all the help and support he needs."

One driver told Belfast Live: "He must have been absolutely terrified, I know I would have been.

It's terrible and it wasn't as if a lot of what happened last night, how can we put it, was a surprise.

"Everybody knew it was happening night after night and still he was sent up there – and he shouldn't have been."

Another said: "We learned more on social media last night than we did from our own bosses – that's the truth, and I was there all night."

As a result of what happened the drivers' unions called a meeting with Translink at 11.30am on Thursday, which it is understood is ongoing.

Mr Dornan told Belfast Live at city hall the "workforce are furious at the reckless and unprovoked attack on their colleague last night".

"As bus drivers we are there to serve the public, our aim is the safety and welfare of passengers.

We are not politicians, we are not a political voice for any community and we certainly don't represent those who have the influence to stop or start these riotous behaviours.

"What we can do, is we will not run some reckless life threatening gauntlet in order to get a bus from A to B and risk the lives of our drivers.

That's the message we are stating here today."

"This is a protest at the minute, but in any areas where there is riotous behaviour there will be a curfew from early evening until the next morning."

He said it "is up to the politicians and those that have the influence" to do something to ensure bus drivers feel safe.

"We can't stop it, the PSNI can monitor [and] prosecute and control it, but they can't stop it.

"Translink can't stop it.

The only people that can stop it is those that have that influence.

We are pleading with them to allow us to serve the public, their public, because we come from their community."

To the First and Deputy First Ministers he said: "My message to them is please get this sorted.

Please sit down and find common ground that people are not going to be attacked for doing their working job."

"I am seeking that until the representatives of the communities give us an assurance that it is safe to travel in there, otherwise we won't travel in there after six o'clock at night."

Patrick Mullholland, deputy General Secretary of NIPSA, also spoke in solidarity with drivers as they seek assurances about their safety.

"No worker should be attacked for doing their job," he told scores of bus drivers gathered outside city hall.

"We have a message for the politicians – enough is enough – we are not going back to the dark days.

Workers will stand, workers will resist and workers will be united.

"We will not see out communities torn apart.

The trade union movement will not stand for it and we will resist until the forces of reaction are backed down."

GMB's Eamon McCullough told us: "Both trade unions are meeting today with senior management to see an action plan – what we are going to do later on.

"Any areas that are contentious, the buses just won't go into them.

"But the drivers just need to be assured that nothing's going to happen for their welfare because last night could have been preventable because there's crowds hanging about.

"There needs to be some kind of plan and if we see crowds, we don't go in.

"That was very lucky last night because the person throwing the petrol bomb didn't know if the driver was on that or not and he could have been on it.

"It's all about solidarity today and the drivers all sticking together – it's good to see NIPSA here as well."

Carmel Gates from NIPSA said they felt it was "important to show our support" as the other unions have stood behind their members when they have been threatened by paramilitaries in the past.

Translink has been contacted for comment.

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Belfast Live Belfast Live

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:00:00 +0100

Northern Ireland Women are hoping to qualify for a major tournament for the first time

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Northern Ireland Women are hoping to qualify for a major tournament for the first time

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Northern Ireland Women take on the Ukraine in the first leg of their Euro 2022 play-off on Friday evening.

Kenny Shiels' side play the first leg away from home before returning to Belfast for the second instalment next Tuesday.

Northern Ireland are aiming to make history by qualifying for a major tournament for the first time.

Here is more info and how you can watch Friday's opening leg:

Ukraine vs Northern Ireland is at Kolos Stadium, Kovalivka, on Friday, April 9.

The game kicks off at 5pm UK time.

The game will be shown live on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport NI website and via the Red Button.

Thomas Kane and former Northern Ireland international Gail Redmond will commentate on both matches.

The winner of the play-off will secure a place at the UEFA EURO 2022 finals in England.

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– April 8, 2021
Belfast Live 2021 Belfast bus driver needs a while 39;to get himself straight39; colleagues .

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