Disgraceful hijacking of public bus by cowards – Infrastructure Minister
Police are appealing for information following the hijacking of a bus in the Abbot Drive area of Newtownards this morning (1 November).
At approximately 6.30am, two masked and armed men boarded the bus and poured fuel over the vehicle before setting it alight.
The driver managed to get off the bus unharmed but has been left badly shaken by the incident.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has condemned those responsible for hijacking a bus in Newtownards this morning.
Minister Mallon said:
“Today’s attack on Translink by two masked men is disgraceful. Two masked men forced their way on to a bus and set it alight. Thankfully no one was hurt in this incident but those responsible for this attack need to stop now.
“I utterly condemn this cowardly act. Our transport workers are frontline public workers who provide a critical community service, those who seek to instil fear into the lives of ordinary people are criminals and nothing else.
“My thoughts are with the bus driver who was subject to this attack. All bus drivers deserve to feel safe as they go about their job. These public servants, men and women, are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. They transport our health workers to hospitals, all of us to and from work, children to school, they are a fundamental part of our society. They deserve to be safe and they deserve our respect and gratitude. The cowards who attacked it have done nothing more than attack their own community.
“My Department and Translink are working closely with the PSNI and we stand firmly with our transport workers against all threats, violence and intimidation.”
TUV leader Jim Allister said the burning of the bus gives Protocol supporters finger pointing opportunities.
“If today’s destruction of a bus is supposed to have been an anti-Protocol protest, then, it is wholly counter-productive,” said Mr Allister.
“Bus burning, or any violence, is wrong and serves no purpose other than to give Protocol supporters finger pointing opportunities.
“I have long said that concerted political action is essential to defeat and remove the iniquitous Protocol. It is that which will work and which will leave no room for that which brings discredit to the cause.”
Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have any information in relation to it, is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 444 of 01/11/21.
A report can be submitted online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/.
Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org