22 February 2006

Teen tells of horror stoning ordeal

Belfast Telegraph

By Clare Weir
22 February 2006

A Limavady teenager today told how he had shards of glass removed from his eye after a sectarian stoning attack on a bus in Belfast.

Aaron Shannon, who will turn 18 next week, was on an Ulsterbus carrying members of Ballynarrig Flute Band - including women and children - which was attacked as it passed the nationalist Markets area on Saturday.

Bricks were hurled, with one window shattering and showering Aaron with glass.

Shards were removed from his eye by specialists at Coleraine Hospital and he has been told he must wear a patch for several weeks.

But luckily his vision has not been affected in the long term.

Today he spoke of his ordeal - while his father revealed that his own car was hit with a brick during a shopping trip to Londonderry at the weekend.

Aaron, an apprentice electrician, who turned up for work as usual on Monday morning despite his ordeal, said: "I was just sitting on the bus chatting when something came through the window.

"The glass came in on top of me and bits went into my eye.

"Hopefully I'll be all right for my birthday. I was born on February 29 so I'll be celebrating on the 28th this year."

He said he went to hospital in Coleraine after the attack and suffered agony for several hours.

Aaron's father Arnold also revealed that the weekend had been a nightmare for his whole family after he and his grandson narrowly escaped a similar ordeal.

"We were up in Derry doing some shopping and I had parked outside William Jackson's house in the Fountain," he said.

"Me and my daughter's wee boy were out getting some fresh air and a crowd of thugs came in from the Bishop Street end and started to throw stones at the houses.

"When I shouted at them to stop, a brick came flying over and hit the wheel arch of the car and put a big dent in it.

The Belfast attack was condemned by DUP MLA for East Derry George Robinson.

"I have been informed that it is nothing short of a miracle that this incident did not result in total carnage," he said.

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