South Armagh lorry driver escapes loyalist attack
BY DEIRDRE FEEHAN
Lorry driver Joe Lyons, from Forkhill, in South Armagh, believes he was targeted by loyalists near the North Derry town of Coleraine at the end of March.
The South Armagh man says that a motorbike pulled up beside him on the outskirts of the town and a gun was pointed at him, but it failed to fire.
Lyons, accusing loyalists of trying to kill him, says he now fears for his life as he makes deliveries to the area every week.
He says the incident happened as he pulled out of a lay-by outside Coleraine shortly after 10am on Tuesday 28 March. ``This is a regular journey for me. I make deliveries every Tuesday and Thursday to the area.
``I had just pulled out of a lay-by when a motorbike just seemed to come from nowhere and was right up alongside the lorry.
``The next thing, the pillion passenger pulled a gun out from under his jacket and pointed it into the cab - I thought I was dead.''
Lyons said the gunman made a gesture as if to shoot but nothing happened and the motorbike sped off in the direction of Coleraine.
``I still can't believe it happened - it's something you never think will happen to you. My family are still cut up and I am refusing to go back down to Coleraine, which is one of my regular runs.
``As far as I am concerned, it had to be loyalists, as it was very clear the lorry came from South Armagh.
``I want to warn other people because who knows what might happen next time.''
Sinn Féin Assembly member Conor Murphy urged nationalists to be vigilant in the wake of the incident.