Irish Republican Socialist Party spokesperson Martin McMonagle has described an incident on board the Derry to Belfast train on Sunday in which IRSP members and supporters were attacked by members of the PSNI as outrageous, blatant sectarianism.
He began, “The IRSP condemns outright the unprovoked attack on members and supporters of our party who were returning to Belfast following their participation in the Bloody Sunday march in Derry at the weekend. The incident began when the conductor on board the train learned that the victims had just attended the march in Derry. Previous to this the conductor had engaged in friendly chat but according to witnesses his demeanor immediately changed when he found out where they had been.
“In a very dramatic and dangerous situation a large number of passengers were forced from the train by the PSNI, including women and children, no reason was given, the PSNI simply entered the train in riot gear and before speaking immediately launched a savage attack on our members, supporters and others in the carriage. They arrested a number of passengers and forced the rest on to the street in Coleraine to make their own way home. Fearing for their personal safety after being abandoned in a strange town the passengers managed to get to a safe area in Coleraine and from there managed to obtain lifts and taxis.
Members of the IRSP were injured, including a broken arm and the effects of cs gas inhalation, following the unprovoked attack.
Mr McMonagle went on, “In scenes reminiscent of times gone by the PSNI were waiting in large numbers at Coleraine for the train to come to a halt in a blatant set piece situation. Accounts given to the IRSP indicate that there were between sixteen and twenty PSNI landrovers parked up around the train station in Coleraine with their blue lights flashing. When the train came to a halt the PSNI immediately began attacking all those on the carriage using implements such as extendable batons and CS gas spray. One member of the IRSP has sustained a broken arm among other injuries. Other members of the party were arrested and we suspect the usual lame line of “anyone with a complaint should contact the police ombudsman” will no doubt be trotted out by the PSNI press office.
Mr McMonagle concluded by saying, “This is further evidence of the sectarian nature of the PSNI and in light of this incident certain members of staff at translink as well. There is a responsibility on Sinn Fein minister Connor Murphy to launch an indepth inquiry into the events and to take all necessary actions to prevent a repeat. We have also advised all those affected to seek immediate legal advice with a view to taking legal action against both Translink and the PSNI”