Northern Ireland

Translink pulls Rathcoole buses for third night

Translink is to restrict bus services in Rathcoole for a third consecutive night after trouble in the area earlier this week.

A spokesperson said the decision had been taken following consultation with employees and the PSNI.

The company it would continue to monitor the situation but it was likely the restrictions would remain in place over the weekend.

Local clergy met members of the PUP on Thursday to discuss the violence.

The UVF has been blamed for involvement in the disturbances which saw two buses destroyed and other vehicles hijacked and burned out.

Billy Davidson of the Newtownabbey Methodist Mission said the UVF denied orchestrating the violence.

The group admitted, however, that individual members may have been there.

Mr Davidson said the clergymen expressed to the PUP their "disappointment and sadness at the two nights of rioting".

"They would say that certainly the trouble was not orchestrated by the UVF, certainly from the point of view of having being sanctioned by their leadership," Mr Davidson said.

"However, they said it may well have been that there were UVF personnel there on the ground at the time."

He said the UVF objected to the manner in which the PSNI carried out house searches in the area at the beginning of the week.

"Certainly, that seemed to be an issue for them, that it was not done with sensitivity and that was part of what provoked this response from so many young people," Mr Davidson said.

"We recognise, obviously, that the police have a job to do and if they have to go into an area to carry out these searches then that has to be done.

"We weren't there at that particular time, but we certainly call upon those who are carrying out those searches to do it with sensitivity."

Translink said the last service from Belfast city centre to Rathcoole will leave at 1900BST with the last departure from Rathcoole at 1900BST.

Passengers are advised to contact the Translink Contact Centre on (028) 90 66 66 30 or view the latest travel news online at www.translink.co.uk.

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