Northern Ireland

West Belfast bus service diverted due to safety concerns

Lagmore View Image copyright © Copyright Albert Bridge Geograph
Image caption There were two attacks on buses passing through the Lagmore View estate this week

A west Belfast bus service is to be diverted due to safety concerns for Translink drivers.

Buses passing through the Lagmore View estate were attacked twice in the space of three days last week.

In the second incident - on Friday night - the driver's side window was smashed with a brick.

Attacks on buses in the area have been an ongoing problem for a number of years.

Unite Regional Officer Davy Thompson said it is not only drivers, but passengers who are at risk.

"Although it appears the focus of these attacks is the bus drivers themselves, it is only a matter of time until a member of the travelling public - perhaps even a child - is injured or maimed as a result," he said.

'Impact on vulnerable'

"In the past, services have been withdrawn for a period of months, only to return after assurances have been received from local political and community representatives.

"Unfortunately, it now appears that, despite those best efforts, there are some in the estate who, for whatever reason, are determined that bus services will not operate in the area."

Mr Thompson said the the impact of withdrawal will "fall heaviest on the most vulnerable in this deprived community".

He added: "As everyone will know, over decades our drivers have taken huge risks to provide services across this city, but the safety of our members and the travelling public must come first.

"It remains our hope that services might one day return to the area, but at present we cannot foresee the circumstances under which that would occur".

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