I wish I was back home in …….????

A row has erupted after a tourist was informed that no such place existed when looking to purchase a bus ticket to Derry at Belfast Central Station. Billy Armstrong, UUP MLA for Mid-Ulster, found nothing wrong with the behaviour of the Translink employee, comparing it to a tourist requesting a ticket for ‘Belfast’ but asking for ‘Coalisland’ instead on today’s Talkback (5-10 mins in), a remark surely deserving of some less than flattering award…..
UPDATE:
Apologies are in order to Billy Armstrong from myself and a visit to the dentist to clear the ears arranged. On Talkback today, Billy did not outline a comparison like that sketched above, but rather used the analogy of asking to visit ‘Island’ when meaning ‘Coalisland.’ Mea culpa Billy.

  • Blatant sectarian discrimination by Translink. Utterly appalling.

    I’m sure that tourists will enjoy the way that are treated on their visits here. They will have a few nice stories to tell about local hospitality when they get back home…

  • interested

    macswiney.
    Indeed – and when they finally got to Londonderry just think, they might have dared to visit the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall and got the same treatment as several other groups of tourists got in recent weeks.

    Stupid pettyness from a fairly stupid Translink worker who believed he was going to save the Union by playing the hard-man to tourists. Mind you, still prefer that than getting stoned and petrol-bombed as I was trying to exit a visitor attraction.

  • Chris Donnelly

    interested

    Very sorry to hear about the treatment meted out to you and others. There are no excuses for such acts of sectarianism.

  • bootman

    I would prefer the translink treatment to getting stoned too but only one of these actions has been approved by an elected rep.

  • The Dubliner

    It’s blackly comical, isn’t it? You can just picture an uptight little man insisting that bewildered tourists share his petty-minded bigotry. I wonder if he told them that there is a place called Londonderry and it is the same place as the one called Derry and offered them tickets to it or if he left them bewildered as to whether the place had vanished off the map due to a nuclear holocaust or suchlike. I wonder what the Northern Ireland Tourist Board make of it?

  • interested

    bootman,
    Fair enough – I was ignoring the Billy Armstrong stuff though as I don’t believe its right to mock the afflicted.

  • Is Derry not the official name of the city anyway – forgetting about what the county is or is not named?

  • Bigger Picture

    Right “blatant sectarianism” is a little strong for what the guy did but i agree with interested that it was completely petty. but…

    The name’s Londonderry people, that’s official. That does not stop you calling it Derry or whatever else for that matter but on all official documentation etc it should be Londonderry, it’s only proper and respectful. What’s the alternative?? “oo it should be officially Derry because the prods came over and changed it!”. In society if we want to move on we have to put these issues to rest. Please call Londonderry Derry if you want, as long as you realise that is not it’s official name.

  • Simon

    You can buy bus tickets at Central Station?

  • Bigger Picture

    Adam

    other way round i think. The county is Derry but the city is Londonderry. I could be wrong though.

  • Harry Flashman

    OK time for the Derry/Londonderry jokes.

    Cop at Aughnacloy checkpoint;

    “Where are you going sir?”

    “Derry”

    “Don’t you mean Londonderry sir?”

    “No, Derry.”

    “OK just pull over here and wait sir”

    30 minutes`later.

    “Going to Londonderry sir?”

    “No still Derry’

    “OK wait a moment later.”

    Twenty minutes later.

    “Still going to Derry sir?”

    “No”

    “Oh yes? Going to Londonderry then are we sir?”

    “Naw, I’m going to Strabane”

  • interested

    Maybe you missed this Adam…
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6297907.stm

    Happy to clear up that misunderstanding….

  • interested

    Bigger Picture,
    The County has absolutely no reason to be called ‘Derry’. AFAIK the County was previously called County Coleraine before the name was changed to Co Londonderry. So, when John Dallat and others refer to some place called Co Derry they really are talking about a place which doesn’t exist, and has never existed.

    Mind you – good job that tourist didn’t ask John Dallat how to get to Northern Ireland. He’d just have got directed to some geographical description called the ‘north of Ireland’.

  • Wee slabber

    That Translink moron should be reminded who pays his wages – the traveller! Regardless of their political hue, or religious conviction. He is not there to do people favours. He is being paid to provide a service. I hope he is taken to task for his disgusting behaviour. Get a life, you bigoted git!

  • Bigger Picture

    Interested

    Thanks as i said i could be wrong and you’ve proved that lol. Stems from having absolutley no connection from that part of the world i suppose!!

  • Harry Flashman

    One minor point worth mentioning is that I’m not entirely convinced that I wouldn’t get precisely the same reaction from a Bus Eireann employee at Bus Aras in Dublin if I asked for a ticket to “Londonderry”.

    Am I wrong?

  • Liam

    He just can’t accept that everyone outside Britain sees Ireland as one country anyway. It’s so petty, it is officially called ‘Londonderry’ only because it was changed from the original ‘Derry’ by an authority that most people calling it Derry don’t accept anyway.

  • PeaceandJustice

    The most funny thing I read was from the SDLP’s John Dallat.

    “I do accept that the problem is perhaps not as bad as it used to be when they used to have someone standing at Platform Two in Belfast screaming at all passengers to the North-West, ‘This train goes to Londonderry’, he said.

    “That at least has stopped but there is a problem still in existence and it needs to be addressed.”

    How outrageous … someone shouting out the name of the place the train is going to … whatever next! It seems the SDLP are the ones trying to out-green the Sinn Fein IRA death squads. And in the process, make themselves look like a joke. Yes, the Translink person should have sold her the ticket and told her that it was to Londonderry, the official name of the city. But does John Dallat not have anything better to do that stir up sectarianism?

  • Dewi

    I love the Derry / Londonderry threads – the original was Doire (with an accent somewhere) – why not revert to that ?

  • Derry

    Why do people not from the city even care? Its my city and I couldn’t care less if one wants to call it Londonderry, but when someone uses the name Derry surely that has to be respected. 80% of the city want it to be known as Derry, they are who matter, not some bigoted MLA or non-educated worker for translink. Grow some tolerance.

  • gaelgannaire

    Dewi,

    Mine is very much a minority view and and am not from Londonderry / Derry / Doire / Doire Cholmcille / Doire Chalgaigh but I have always been fascinated by Derry people seeking that name only, to the exclusion of others.

    I would drop ‘Derry’, have the city named officially bilingually ‘Doire Cholmcille / Londonderry’.

    But Derry people will always want Derry and Londonderry people will always want Londonderry.

  • Where?

    Shouldn’t John Dallat want them to go to Coleraine anyway?

    He doesn’t even represent the City.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Am I wrong?< >How outrageous … someone shouting out the name of the place the train is going to … whatever next!<

  • Harry, I don’t know how those who actually work for Bus Éireann would react, but if it were me I would hand over the ticket and say “Here you go, one ticket for Derry.” The passenger has their ticket, I’ve made my point, we’re all happy.

  • Liam

    “How outrageous … someone shouting out the name of the place the train is going to … whatever next! It seems the SDLP are the ones trying to out-green the Sinn Fein IRA death squads. And in the process, make themselves look like a joke. Yes, the Translink person should have sold her the ticket and told her that it was to Londonderry, the official name of the city. But does John Dallat not have anything better to do that stir up sectarianism?”

    Why is it every time the the SDLP do anything remotely representative of nationalism they are accused of “out-greening” Sinn Fein? The only death squads still roaming the streets by the way are the loyalist ones.
    The SDLP are a nationalist party and speaking out against mindless bigotry is something that should be applauded, that Translink employee put a tourist at great inconvenience with his actions and what sort of message does that send to the world? John Dallat is a diligent MLA and I am proud to have him representing my area.

  • Aaron McDaid

    This hasn’t got much to do with politics. It isn’t even relevant for this thread to discuss what the name should be. This is to do with a devious spin from an MLA.

    Does MLA Armstrong really think that there are Translink employees are unaware that Derry is another name for Londonderry? If that employee wants to call it Londonderry, he/she could have simply said “That’s officially called Londonderry and here are some Londonderry tickets”

    I dare MLA Armstrong to say on record that he believes there are Translink employees genuinely unaware that Derry is another name for the place they call Londonderry. He’d have to tell such a lie to maintain any consistency in his argument.

  • snakebrain

    How often has this happened and gone unreported? I wouldn’t bother reporting it to anybody if I phoned to find out about a bus to NY, and the operator told me there were no buses to NY because they had some weird hang-up and thought it should be called New Amsterdam.

    When you call Translink for timetable info, there’s a little message before you’re put through that says “Your call will be recorded for business purposes.” There’s obviously nobody listening to them anyway.

    Incidentally, just what kind of business purposes?

  • inuit_g

    One minor point worth mentioning is that I’m not entirely convinced that I wouldn’t get precisely the same reaction from a Bus Eireann employee at Bus Aras in Dublin if I asked for a ticket to “Londonderry”.

    Am I wrong?

    As a staunch Young Unionist at Trinity College Dublin back a few years ago, I remember a few times asking for a ticket to “Londonderry” at Busáras and being served politely with it every time.

  • Harry Flashman – if you wanted to really screw with Bus Eireann you could ask for a ticket to Rath Luirc or An Daingean…

  • PeaceandJustice

    Come on Liam, you have to laugh at John Dallat complaining about someone shouting out the destination of a train i.e. Londonderry. It’s like something you would hear in a comedy.

    Of course it is wrong to inconvenience tourists. But I didn’t hear many SDLP folk complaining about the SF IRA display of real looking weapons around the City Hall in Belfast the other Sunday. Not great for tourists. But then again, it’s easier for John Dallat to play the sectarian card.

    As for the SF IRA death squads, yes they’ve been moved off the streets … and into Stormont.

  • CW

    “One minor point worth mentioning is that I’m not entirely convinced that I wouldn’t get precisely the same reaction from a Bus Eireann employee at Bus Aras in Dublin if I asked for a ticket to “Londonderry”. ”

    Probably not, Harry, as the chances are he’d be a Polish guy working long hours and probably studying part time, so wouldn’t give a toss about the name of the place and would be more concerned about returning to Czestochowa or Zobrze (try asking for a ticket to one of these places in Belfast!)and using his hard-earned money to set up a business.

    In the spirit of consistency and pedantry, I wonder if the ticket sellet in Belfast would if asked for a ticket to Carrick or Ards (rather than the official names Carrickfergus or Newtownards) would have pointed out that no such places exist?

  • Yokel

    Just name the place as Crap Airport.

  • CW

    Maybe Billy Armstrong could go the full hog and point out to the Apprentice Boys of <1>Derry that they’re named after a place that doesn’t exist.

    Presumably he would also take issue with the line in “The Sash” – “It was worn at Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne”?

    Of course, the anti-Londonderry brigade can be just as bad, but irony knows no bounds.

  • Harry Flashman

    *As a staunch Young Unionist at Trinity College Dublin back a few years ago,*

    What did you study? I read history and Dr Bill Vaughan was the last vestige of the old order left at that time (twenty years`ago). He was one carnaptious oul’ fecker I have to say

    **>>Am I wrong?<

  • Prince Eoghan

    No Harry I’ll gie ye that!

  • nmc

    NIR sucks where are you now? Mustn’t have internet access in Albania…

    Translink is an organisation that has no concept of customer service. Next time someone asks you to sign a petition to “save our railway” tell them to fuck right off, then maybe someday the company will be folded and replaced with an operator who cares about customer service. Up until that point, expect to be treated like shit, because they know if you have no car you can either walk or catch a translink service.

  • John Bull

    Would the reaction have been the same if the buyer had asked for a ticket to Carrick or Ards (rather than the official names Carrickfergus or Newtownards). Could the caller be guarenteed the same obtuse reply? I think not…It was NOT about what is or what is not the official name. Dublin is Baile atha Cliath if we take that road. You ever get corrected for using that? It was about making another small minded political point, and if there is one thing that tourists from around the world need to know, i think we can all agree, it’s that sectarian bigotry is alive and in rude health in Northern Ireland. ‘Come Visit us guys, its still 1690 here!’ Well done that employee.

  • bootman

    “But I didn’t hear many SDLP folk complaining about the SF IRA display of real looking weapons around the City Hall in Belfast the other Sunday. Not great for tourists.” –PAJ

    Actually the touristst I saw seemed to enjoy the spectacle.

  • Fraggle

    Anyone know what happened to the tourist?

    The translink guy needs to be fired.

    The MLA is quite frankly retarded with that Coalisland thing.

    Harry, hard luck with the being wrong thing.

  • interested

    Bootman,
    Would these be the same tourists who were making comments in the Anderstown News about events which never took place on 11th July night in East Belfast.

    Give me the name and address of your tourist and I’ll believe you.

  • Fraggle

    Just listened to the Talkback. Turns out that the tourist ended up getting a train to Derry when the final destination was Dungiven. This idiot translink guy really ought be fired.

  • mchinadog

    Republicans and Nationalists need not crumble it is they that have politised the name of the City of Londonderry not Translink, Unionists or any one else for that matter, and I sincerely hope that Translink do not chastise the person who said there is no place called Derry as he/she was 100% correct. When the John Dallats of this world realise that Londonderry is the legal name of the city and should be recognised as that perhaps then it will not be as contentious as it is as present and the shortened version of the name may be acceptable to some other than Republicans and Nationalists. Translink and others who use the name Londonderry are calling the city by its proper name, would anyone think of calling the City of Belfast, Lisburn or Newry anything other than their proper name. Londonderry should be marketed by all as Londonderry then confusion or mischief making would not arise.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JB,

    “Dublin is Baile atha Cliath if we take that road”

    Does anyone know why Dublin is Baile atha Cliath. I thought that Dublin came from Dub(dark) and Linn(pool). So, why isn’t the Gaelic version near enough exactly the same as the Anglacised version?

  • John Bull

    bit off topic but according to Wiki:

    The common name for the city in Modern Irish is ‘Baile Átha Cliath’ (‘The Settlement of the Ford of the Reed Hurdles’), which refers to the settlement founded in 988 by High King Mael Sechnaill II, that adjoined the town of Dubh Linn proper at the Black Pool. It seems also that the seafaring Vikings and Normans thought of the place in terms of a pool deep enough for harbouring ships, while the Gaelic speakers saw the place in terms of a ford over a major river.

  • gaelgannaire

    Chongail,

    They were originally different places, they grew into each other.

    cf. Buda+pest.

  • bystander

    the tourist in question was going to Ballykelly so the directions given by her friends didnt help much. all she needed to do was get the bus to dungiven where she was to be lifted. heard SF on radio foyle saying they told us so, nobody can find this city because of the dammed prods.

  • Just to spoke to a friend who is an Ulsterbus driver and he states that there is huge anger among ataff about what happened. Their Union has already approached Translink Management asking for an explanation.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JB/gaelgannaire,

    Cheers for the info. Do you know what name existed first?

  • esmereldavillalobos

    Ho-hum – are we not all sick of the name debate yet? Better things to do with your time guys, I hope you aren’t all doing this at work!

    Nothing to see here, move along now.

  • Tourist

    Time to grow up. Clearly both terms are acceptable to use and the national bus operator should train its staff in better customer service.

    If Billy Armstrong should ever go to a foreign country and did not pronounce a place name the way the locals liked, how would he like to be treated?

  • gaelgannaire

    Chongail,

    No.

    But Duibhlinn seems to be defunct in Irish at an early stage whilst an anglicisation form of Baile Átha Cliath has never emerged despite being universal in Irish

  • Prince Eoghan

    There is probably 100 plus posts on both your threads this morning Chris. Yet you have still to be called a bigot or had assorted other abuse thrown at you.

    Are you losing your touch, or is it because the weans are at school?

  • flaming lips

    I don’t even really know any Protestants who call it Londonderry, maybe it’s because they are all young liberal types.

  • Rory

    Perhaps if the employee was from “Billfawst” he would only recognise the sought destination as “Darry”.

  • lib2016

    It´s twenty years ago now but in my time it was considered polite, even sensible for a public servant to adopt the usage preferred by whomever he was addressing. For Translink to get it wrong seems really strange – the question must come up all the time.

  • oberver

    just checked a map and nope, no place called derry on it, there is a Londonderry though

    time nationalists realised theyre still liveing in Northern Ireland

  • oldruss

    I’ve not yet had the pleasure of traveling in the six counties, but this kind of mind numbing discourtesy does nothing to make it more likely that I’ll be spending my Yankee dollars (whatever they’re worth these days) in the north any time soon.

    We Yanks are befuddled enough as it is, so to have been told that the city to which I thought I wanted to travel does not even exist, would have, no doubt, induced an onset of “visitors’ paralysis”, in much the same way as your roundabouts did on several occasions, when I was driving round the country on my last Aer Lingus fly-drive vacation to Ireland.

  • Prince Eoghan

    oberver???? Why the name change?

    >>just checked a map and nope, no place called derry on it, there is a Londonderry though<

  • Congal Claen

    Hi gaelgannaire,

    Is Duibhlinn pronounced the same way as Dublin?

  • oldruss

    BTW-My Aer Lingus road map of Ireland only lists the city of “Derry”; so perhaps that poor tourist was not wrong to have called it such.

  • get yer facts right

    It seems that Chris, who reported this story within 5 minutes of the comment cannot retell it very well! – from what I can remember Billy Armstrong compared the ‘derry incident’ to someone asking for a bus to ‘the island’ – would anyone that’s not from around Coalisland know that this is where he’d be referring to??? i would reckon a bus driver in Belfast would say ‘there’s no bus running there!’

    My point being, Chris, if you’re going to report a story, get it right! The following slagging match was uncalled for …

  • gaelgannaire

    Chongail,

    /duvliN/.

  • Harry Flashman

    *It´s twenty years ago now but in my time it was considered polite, even sensible for a public servant to adopt the usage preferred by whomever he was addressing*

    Really? Twenty years ago public servants felt obliged to serve the public? In which parallel universe?

    I’ve never met a public servant who felt that way, in any jurisdiction, anywhere.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi gaelgannaire,

    Cheers for the info…

  • The Beagle

    I hope that Ulsterbus person doesn’t get the sack – the railways need more people travelling on them!!

    The views are better, anyway..!

    Though I have to laugh at Dallat – blatant bigotry of NIR staff shouting “this train goes to Londonderry” indeed!!

    Would he rather have them shouting “This train goes to Londonderry or Derry or Foyle or Stroke City or Doire or the Maiden City (no offence intended to any passengers who’s preferred name I have not used) – oh wait, the train’s gone…”

  • Next time the train passenger stats from Belfast to (London)derry just imagine how much higher they would be if all intending passengers could find someone to sell them a ticket there 🙂

  • william

    No wonder translinks losing money and hopefully now Derry passengers as well – i for one wont travel with them again.
    PS I bet this sectarian bigot has never ever been to Derry and by the sounds of it can’t read either!

  • Pancho’ Horse

    ……….. sure what do you expect from mannerless ex-colonials? Didn’t the Indians change to Mumbai and the ‘South Africans’ and Billy! we know where you live – do you? (In case anybody thinks this is a latent sectarian threat, please be advised that it is not) If the ‘British’ had to let us go, the country would revert to an Irish speaking paradise, wouldn’t it?

  • Mick Fealty

    All,

    I am sure Chris will correct his quotation of Billy Armstrong above, since the commenter ‘get yer facts right’ above has it right… (someone asking for a bus to ‘the island’ – would anyone that’s not from around Coalisland know that this is where he’d be referring to) just go to playback, and press the ‘5 mins on’ button… it’s worth listening to the end, where Armstrong appears to agree that it was not an acceptable response…

    FYI:

    Derry is the name of the City Council, and the Footnall and Rugby Clubs. It’s also part of the vernacular amongst the relatively small Protestant population still living there.

    But Londonderry is the one and only official name of the city itself.

  • Outsider

    Didn’t an SDLP party member recently call a DUP man who had lost both legs in an IRA bomb ‘Stumpy. What did the SDLP do but refuse to comment on the issue.

    This is a complete overreaction to this predictable thread its time some people such Dallat got their priorities right.

    Incidentally both city and county are called Londonderry, I know the arguement has been used that Nationalists are in the majority in Londonderry therefore the name should be changed, it this something Unionist would need to get used to being a minority in a UI?

    P.S Chris Donnelly, have you nothing better to do?

  • Gareth

    Although what that Translink man did was wrong, after having watched the Newsline report, I think that man who she was visiting, being in the hospitality industry himself, might have told her that it has two names to be on the safe side. If he knew the bus was going to say Londonderry on it, it might have be useful to know – no matter what you think its name should be. Purely practical. Like when you go to Austria it’s a good idea to know Vienna = Wien. Be well prepared and take no chances of getting lost.

  • Septic Serpent

    I have watched this one run and run but finally have to declare an interest as something very similar happened to me at the Great Victoria Street bus station. I have one of those gut feelings that I may have met the same Translink employee a couple of years ago.

    I was leaving an elderly relative to get on the Maiden City Flier (As the L’Derry – Belfast service is called by Ulsterbus) and not knowing which rank it left from I decided to ask the peaked capped inspector in the central information box. I rather misguidedly asked him from where did the Derry bus leave and he looked at me with a sense of bewilderment then turned to his colleague and continued talking. I asked him again and he shouted at me that there were no buses to Derry but if I wanted one to LONDONDERRY (His emphasis) then I should check the screens and maybe thats why I hadnt been able to find where the bus was leaving from !!!!

    In other words he was insinuating that I had checked the screens looking for Derry and had stupidly overlooked Londonderry !!

    On reflection my feelings at the time were that the man was just taking the opportunity to make a cheap point at the expense of a customer. I felt like a scolded schoolboy who had made an elementary grammatical error rather than someone who simply without thinking referred to the city by the name that I would normally use and which would be difficult to actually misinterpret. It goes without saying that nearly everybody who lives there regardless of community background refers to it as Derry although those of a unionist persuasion would be more likely to use the “L” word if filling in a form or addressing an envelope.

  • enemy-insurgent

    “Blatant sectarian discrimination by Translink. Utterly appalling. ”

    It’s not appalling at all. It’s simply pathetic. Nothing more, nothing less.

    To be honest I’ve come to expect little else from the small minded idiots in this country and quite frankly anyone who is “appalled” by it is probably just as pathetic as the person who made the comment.

  • Turgon

    This is a really rather silly thread.

    The tourist is the most innocent person in all this.

    The person selling the ticket was clearly being very foolish and bigoted.

    Billy Armsrtrong’s explanation was really pretty daft. Though in fairness Chris Donnelly’s initial blog made Armstrong’s comment look much more foolish.

    Chris Donnelly should have checked his facts as there was more than enough in this to make at least two Prods look foolish (Armstrong and the translink employee).

    John Dallat denouncing the use of the word Londonderry as bigoted is also daft.

    Incidentally I often heard this self same train described as both the Derry and Londonderry train in both Ballymoney and Coleraine when I was a student. Neither Ballymoney nor Coleraine being exactly hot beds of nationslism.

    The most sensible remark I have heard here is lib 2016 whose suggestion that public servants used the term that had been used to them. This is the strategy I have tended to use and seems to avoid most offence.

    The alternative is to use the assorted get out words. For example if you are ever going to or visiting anyone in hospital in the afore mentioned city they are always in or you are going to Altnagelvin which again seems to keep honour on all sides.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Aaron McDaid:

    Does MLA Armstrong really think that there are Translink employees are unaware that Derry is another name for Londonderry? If that employee wants to call it Londonderry, he/she could have simply said “That’s officially called Londonderry and here are some Londonderry tickets”

    Yeah, but that’s not what he said. The problem here is less about what the city is called, and more about an employee of a business refusing to serve a paying customer for no vaguely sensible reason whatsoever. This is nothing short of outrageous. If that person were working in the private sector, they would be facing serious disciplinary proceedings and (especially due to the media attention) possibly even dismissal – I hope this is the case in Translink. Customers are the start and end of a service business like this and refusing to serve them for getting the name of a city wrong is unacceptable.

    John Bull, I agree with you. There is no reason for people to take offence at the unofficial name, for many people, of a city.

    Almost everyone I know (unionist and non-unionist refers to the city as Derry, or sometimes Londonderry. It just doesn’t matter. This is truly a case where this is not a matter of Prods and Taigs, it’s a matter of assholes and non-assholes.

  • It should be some craic when the Irish Language Act is introduced and buffoons like this will have to deal with people looking for a ‘ticéad’ to ‘Doire’- perhaps Translink should train some of their staff up in the comprehension of basic English now before they’re required to verse them in the use of the Irish language in the near future.

  • Dewi

    Anyway – Karen i think sang this on here a fortnight ago (and the haunting song has got in me head). Which is the best version ? Our dwt angel

    Our your man Van

  • Billy

    This employee should be removed from public facing duties until they are capable of leaving their political views at home. If they prove incapable of doing so, then they should be sacked.

    The reality is that people use both Londonderry and Derry. NI is supposed to be trying to draw in tourist income. An incident like this will really help.

    If you work in a public facing job in NI, you will come across people who use terms like North of Ireland, Mainland, 6 counties etc. Whether or not, you agree/disagree with any of these terms in irrelevant.

    If people cannot get polite and professional service from a company because an employee doesn’t agree with their terminology, they will vote with their feet and go somewhere else where they will.

    Discriminating against people for using either Derry or Londonderry is wrong.

    I’m sure there are plenty of people seeking employment who would have no problem politely selling tickets to Londonderry or Derry regardless of their own background.

    If this employee is incapable of doing their job in an impartial and professional manner, they should be sacked and replaced with someone who can.

    I am glad that John Dallat is highlighting this issue and generating as much bad publicity as possible for Translink.

    Translink needs to take firm action to show their employees that this type of behaviour will NOT be tolerated. They are there to provide all their customers with professional and polite service – NOT to espouse their political views.

  • Dawkins

    I’m reminded of a visit I made to Holland several years ago. I was in Amsterdam and wished to travel to the Hague to see Ajax play an away game. I went to the ticket window in the train station.

    Dawkins: A return to The Hague, please.

    Seller: To where, mijnheer?

    Dawkins: The Hague.

    Seller: Is that here in the Netherlands, mijnheer?

    Dawkins: It was the last time I looked. It’s about an hour to the south I believe. The Hague. You know: where the Dutch Parliament sits.

    Seller: Oh, you mean Den Haag, mijnheer.

    Dawkins: Whatever.

    Well, of course it never happened. The Dutch are are a grown-up people, as are all Europeans. What those unfortunate tourists experienced is an idiocy unique to Northern Ireland.

    I can’t quite believe that an MLA could put his bígotry before his reason and confirm to the listening universe that this place is one big open-air loony bin mental institution.

    Jeeze.

  • Colm

    Well said Billy and unionist defenders of that employee should accept that it is the petty rudeness that is the issue here not the political slant of the the man. For exactly the same reason if he had been a nationalist refusing to recognise Londonderry he would have deserved the same censure and nationalists should accept that too.

  • IJP

    Actually, for Mr Armstrong’s information, a much more accurate parallel would be referring to “Carrickfergus” as “Carrick”. Is he suggesting anyone in Translink would say “There’s no such place on the network”?

    Dallat’s basically right. Mind, there are more important issues in Coleraine (I was there today myself) just as elsewhere in NI – like markets, house prices, job security, rates rises…

  • Dewi

    And this one is better

  • Kidso

    I remember going to Ballymena in the train with my 9 year old daughter, who was never on this train before. it was full of passengers, the mid Atlantic announcer announced the up coming stations it included Londonderry. My daughter very loudly reminded me that ‘ITS NOT LONDONDERRY ITS DERRY’ we got some very discocerting looks. Its funny now but not then. I thought we were going to be bonfire fuel.

  • Dawkins

    Kidso,

    This is what I was alluding to in my post. In no other European country would a nine-year-old be exercised by a stranger using a variant of a city’s name.

    You say it’s “funny” now. Outsiders like me consider it tragic.

  • rural deweller

    What a clown Armstrong is.This is the man who saved the cranes at Harland and Wolfe.Why oh why does he not shout his mouth and let people who can talk for the uup get on with it.

  • Dewi

    And best of all – nos da

  • kidso

    it is tragic isnt it? i instilled the thought in her head that that city was called Derry. Now it doesnt matter, fact is im relatively poor. I want holidays for me and my daughter. no country belongs to no person. countries dont exist. they are artificial constructs designed to keep rich people rich. thats it

  • Dewi

    Kidso – don’t despair. Your daughter sounds as if she can speak up for herself at least.

  • kidso

    your right there Dewi she does.

  • Dawkins

    Sorry guys, but I’m wondering if Kidso’s daughter is actually speaking up for herself. Seems to me (once again as an outsider) that the dear child is speaking up for countless generations of peeps who’ve preceded her.

    With the greatest respect, Kidso, I’m asking myself whether it’s fair to burden a little girl with so much historical baggage.

    Those are my 2 cents as a truly disinterested party.

  • Dewi

    And the absolute best – sorry.

  • Dawkins

    Dewi,

    Awesome. Her playing is flawless; her every singing note is pure; her presentation is perfect.

    A consummate artist. And being a mean-spirited bastard, I don’t give praise lightly :0)

  • Dewi

    And what a song Dawkins – can’t get it out of my head.

  • Dawkins

    Nor me, Dewi! I’d loved to have been in that audience.

  • Harry Flashman

    *The Dutch are are a grown-up people, as are all Europeans.*

    I’m in broad agreement that the Translink employee was a boorish oaf but I can’t agree that “all” Europeans are as enlightened and open-minded as you suggest. There are parts of Poland, Belgium and of course the former Yugoslavia (ask a Greek bus conductor for a ticket to Macedonia and see where you end up) where lovely Europeans get just as hot under the collar as we do about place names.

  • Dawkins

    Harry,

    Simply not true, mate. I’ve been to those places and can tell you that their brave citizens respect the tourist and his “ignorance” of local ideosyncrasies.

    The NI experience is unique. Bury not thy head in the sand but face the fact that there’s a lot of growing up to do.

  • Harry Flashman

    I’ve been in a restaurant in Barcelona where the waiter pretended he did not understand Spanish insisting that he only understood Catalan, utter bollox.

    Trust me, there’s plenty of European bigots out there too you know.

  • Diluted Orange

    John Dallat

    [i]”I do accept that the problem is perhaps not as bad as it used to be when they used to have someone standing at Platform Two in Belfast screaming at all passengers to the North-West, ‘This train goes to Londonderry’.[/i]

    Huh? Sorry but is it not common practice for train officials to shout out a train’s destination as it is about to leave the station? Just because they don’t use your particular pseudonym of choice for the city at hand doesn’t make it a ‘problem’ now surely?

    Comrade Stalin

    [i]This is truly a case where this is not a matter of Prods and Taigs, it’s a matter of assholes and non-assholes.[/i]

    N’er a truer word spoken. Personally, I would extend this mantra to apply to every sectarian issue in Northern Ireland today. Maybe they should include this advice in the tourist brochures, just so the tourists catch the drift before they come, eh?

    For any tourists to NI, I would love to say that the whole Londonderry/Derry saga is just an anachronism in our enlightened, peaceful times but unfortunately it isn’t. This incident is symptomatic of the little petty grievances that still remain in all walks of life here. For instance, we live in a region where even the Deputy First Minister can’t bring himself to utter the very name of the place he’s been installed as the 2nd highest ranking government official of.

    Yes, the jobsworth ticket seller at Central Station should have just kept his super-Prod mentality bottled up inside instead of farcically reacting to an innocent tourist’s ‘mistake’, but even if he loses his job he can assure himself that the Union is still intact and it’s in no small part down to his brave act of defiance in the face of Pan-Nationalist tourist tyranny. At least the tourist can now say that they’ve had a true Northern Irish experience, one which doesn’t just include painted smiles and a pretence that the Prods and the Catholics all get on together now.

    To give the seller the benefit of the doubt, maybe this story has been misreported and he was in fact only informing the traveller, in case they got confused, that the city has 2 names. However, I’m pretty sure they’d have got the jist fairly quickly upon gazing out the bus window on the journey to Stroke City to see 80% of the roadsigns earmarked ‘LONDONDERRY’ by the helpful and equally petty Republican graffiti artists along the way.

    As an aside might I suggest that Nationalists refer to ‘Lisburn’ from now on as ‘Dublin-Lisburn’ in the vain hope that a similar episode of Translink tribalism occurs – thus sparing some tourists, at least, the misfortune of ever having to go there?

  • observer

    Anyone know what happened to the tourist?

    The translink guy needs to be fired.

    -guarantee that no action will be taken against the guy. he has actually done nothing wrong. there is no place called derry. any action taken against him will end up in a tribunal.

  • Dewi

    “I’ve been in a restaurant in Barcelona where the waiter pretended he did not understand Spanish insisting that he only understood Catalan, utter bollox.”

    How do u know he understood Spanish ?