Bellarena plaque unveiled by Queen removed next day over vandalism fears

Elizabeth II on her visit in January. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Elizabeth II on her visit in January. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

A plaque unveiled by Elizabeth II at Bellarena in June survived just 24 hours - for fear it would be attacked by vandals, it has emerged.

Rail Minister Chris Hazzard said the plaque, unveiled by the Queen when she was opening the new platform on January 28, was taken down the next day.

Mr Hazzard was asked by Foyle People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann why the plate was removed.

He explained: “Translink has advised that, because the halt at Bellarena is unmanned, it was concerned about the safety of the plaque and the possibility that it could be vandalised.

“Translink is currently looking at options to minimise this risk.”

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said it was disappointing and called on the Department of Infrastructure to have the plaque reinstated.

“It is a sad reflection on our society that, due to threats of vandalism, a plaque unveiled by Her Majesty the Queen during her visit the new platform at Bellarena train station had to be removed within 24 hours.

“It is worrying that despite the visit happening three months ago, the plaque has not been reinstated and a solution has not been found to mark this very significant opening.

“I call on the department to bring forward solutions to this situation as soon as possible. Those who would wish to damage such a sign are in a significant minority.”