Translink investigating violent scenes on train packed with sports fans

The Enterprise at Belfast's Central Station. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
The Enterprise at Belfast's Central Station. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

Translink are investigating a mass brawl – thought to have involved rival GAA fans – which led to an overcrowded Belfast-bound train making an emergency stop outside Drogheda.

The Garda were called and although no arrests were made, several passengers were removed from the train which was carrying a large number of Armagh and Tyrone fans as well as Liverpool fans from the Province who had traveled to see their team play in Dublin.

Marie Sinnamon, who used the Entreprise service to travel to Dublin with her husband Andrew to watch the Liverpool play Athelico Bilbao in a friendly match at the Aviva Stadium, told of the “crush” at Dublin Connolly train station as hundreds of sports fans arrived en masse on Saturday night. Armagh had faced Tyrone at Croke Park in an All-Ireland quarter final the same day.

Passengers described the overcrowded conditions on the train, with some claiming people were forced to sit on the floor for the journey home. There were further reports that many on board the train had consumed large quantities of alcohol.

Before the train arrived in Drogheda, a fight broke out and soon after the train came to an emergency stop.

A passenger is reported to have told the Irish News he saw fans of both Armagh and Tyrone GAA teams involved in an “almighty fight”, adding that children were screaming and an elderly woman was so frightened she pushed the emergency stop button.

Video footage shared by Belfast Live appears to show rival fans engaging in fist fights.

The train remained outside Drogheda for around 30 minutes so that the Garda could be in place at Drogheda station for the train’s arrival.

A spokesperson for Translink said: “We can confirm an incident occurred on board the 8.50pm Enterprise train travelling from Dublin Connolly to Belfast on Saturday evening (August 5) involving some disruptive passengers. Some passengers were involved in an affray on board.

“The Train Manager raised concerns and the Garda were called. The train stopped at Drogheda to allow them to board and deal with the situation. A number of passengers were removed and the Garda continued to travel on the train to Dundalk.

“The incident resulted in a delay to the Enterprise service arriving into Belfast.”

The spokesperson pointed out that three other special trains operated from Dublin to Belfast “without incident”.

A Garda spokesperson confirmed they attended Drogheda station on Saturday at around 10pm but no arrests were made.