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Yes i remember you contacting me about a certain Lynx. I've known Michael since 2005 and from personal experience he is a great guy and does try to go out his way to help you, for that reason i have always been honest with him and will not rip him off like some others have done in the past.
When i received a text from Michael just after 6am in the morning telling me what had happened (was in Leeds that weekend engaged on a photoshoot) i really did not know what to make of what i was hearing. My initial reaction was either mindless vandals had gotten into the museum and set buses alight, or when Michael mentioned the office was also burnt, that some electrical fire had started in the office and had spread to the buses parked very close by.!!
Once i started to read statements on the site such as 'Bombs', 'Fuses', 'Detonators' etc, then it did really start to get to me that this was not a random act, but obviously something that had been planned to cause maximum damage and disruption to Michael, which therefor makes me want to question do i really want to actually go back to the museum on the grounds that i don't really know what i'm getting involved with with regarding those determined to carry out such attacks.
From a personal point of view, when i'm over, which can be from a week to nearly two weeks, i usually stay on site in the museum grounds. You can imagine how scary that can be staying out in the middle of nowhere all by yourself at times. That said, it's not been unknown for me to take a late night wander round the yard in the car just to check everything is ok. The question i have to ask myself is 'What if this happened when i was over and stumbled across the act' and if you are dealing with people into 'Bombs', 'Fuses', 'Detonators' then what else could they do - that alone is not worth thinking about, especially when you are on your own in the middle of nowhere and cut off.!!!
I'm sure Michael himself will understand fully how i feel as what has happened just does not affect Michael, but those of us willing to give up time to help out at the museum. If this is some sort of statement aimed at Michael collecting buses from the north and bringing them south, then those of us bringing them south and also working on them could also be as much targets - i really hope this is not the case, but as things are at the moment we just do not know and its all speculation.
Please give Michael my best wishes when you speak to him next. Maybe im nieve but i thought the north/south divide had been laid to rest (or at least had come to an understanding)? If the threats and fire are because of this, then is it really worth putting your health/life at risk! That goes for Michael aswell. After all, you can replace a vehicle but family/friends etc...... Reading your reply certainly makes you sit up and think, who would have thought bus preservation would lead to bomb attacks, its frightening to think about it! Anyway, hope your well, thanks for your help in the past, its appreciated!
Best wishes, Martin
I could well totally be over-reacting to the whole situation, but as you said, it does make you sit up and think, more so when statements like bombs, Fuses, Detonators and only the Ulsterbuses were hit - it does seem like shades of the old north/south divide issues.
On the other hand though, as soon as any visitor walks into the main museum yard, all you are greeted with is wall to wall Ulsterbus Tigers in the main yard. Yes there is other non Ulsterbus vehicles in the main yard, but these are tucked away out of sight at the left side and back of the yard and only accessible once you negotiate around rows of Tigers. Assuming for a moment this has nothing to do with the north/south divide whatsoever and was some nutter with a grievance against Michael, they are not going to be selective about what buses they hit, only the ones closer and easily accessible to make a quick getaway - unfortunately all the ones close enough to get in and out the yard are the Ulsterbus Tigers unfortunately.
As i said, everything is all iff's and but's and pure speculation, but no one knows for sure why and who and this is the scary part.
Just listening to the radio this morning and it seems trouble has flaired in belfast again, with use of guns! Surely the divide cant be starting again? This will have a knock -on affect with every day life and surely this will only cause more anger towards the museum. Reading Michaels latest update and looking at the pics, the loss is awful, and such a sad sight to see. I will send Michael a personal email to see if we can help each other in some way. Fingers crossed, this was a one off and they will leave people and the museum alone. Best wishes, Martin
After reading the latest post on the website, I find it very hard to beleive that a criminal or terrorist gang would travel to Cork from Armagh. Unless of course you had really pi55ed someone off big style. However, I would suggest that information or suspicions, whether they come from Gardai or other sources should be kept to oneself until arrests/charges have been made, otherwise you run the risk of tipping the investigations hand and maybe undoing any progress made.