Irish Republican News · February 10, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Tourists caught up in sectarian violence

The ‘Paddywagon’ company, which uses green minibuses decorated with leprechauns and shamrocks, released photographs of a bus which was targeted in Belfast on Tuesday.

The attack took place shortly after 10pm following a soccer friendly with Wales. Around forty tourists were left traumatised by the ordeal.

Paddywagon Northern Ire-land Ltd said #1,000 worth of damage was caused to one large coach and #2,000 to a new eight-seat Mercedes.

Two of the firm’s coaches were also burnt in Belfast in 2001.

Steve McPhilemy of Paddywagon said 40 Australian and American budget travellers had left Belfast “with a very negative image of the city and of Northern Ireland”.

“Before the attack groups of Northern Ireland fans had congregated opposite the coaches and were chanting obscenities at the green coaches with a cartoon leprechaun on the side,” he said.

“It is ironic that the famed ‘green and white army’ would be offended by a bus of the same colour as the shirts of their beloved Northern Ireland team.”

A Catholic man sustained serious injuries, including a collapsed lung, in a sectarian attack in Garvagh, County Derry this week.

The man was in a stable condition at the hospital in Coleraine following the attack on Monday evening. The victim also suffered serious head and facial injuries and bruising to his body.

Coleraine Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard said the assault showed a “sectarian underbelly” in Garvagh.

“Whatever tensions are behind this particular incident it is wrong and one man has been hospitalised with serious injuries.”

He said it was clear there was a “hard element” in Garvagh who could not accept people of a different religion or political outlook.

Two Irish-themed backpacker’s tourist buses have been the victim of a sectarian attack by supporters of the ‘Northern Ireland’ football team.

Meanwhile, a Protestant youth has become the victim of a serious attack in Derry’s Waterside amid increasing sectarian clashes in the area.

The teenager was struck on the head with a pole in a clash with a group of men in the Bond’s Hill area early on Saturday morning.

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© 2007 Irish Republican News