Traveller women awarded €1,000 each for being refused entry to charity event

Margaret Rose O’Neill and Linda Mongan, of whose husbands died by suicide, were turned away from McSorleys nightclub, Killarney

The civil suit was brought by the Irish Traveller Movement on the grounds of discrimination

The civil suit was brought by the Irish Traveller Movement on the grounds of discrimination


Two young women, both of whose husbands had died by suicide, were each awarded €1,000 by a court yesterday on foot of being refused entry into a popular nightclub which was hosting a mental illness charity event.

The civil suit was brought on the grounds of discrimination by the Irish Traveller Movement against McSorleys nightclub, College Street, Killarney, at Killarney District court yesterday.

The two women said they felt they were turned away from the charity event for Aware because they were members of the Travelling community.

They had arrived with tickets but “an Irish bouncer” insisted no such event was taking place.

Margaret Rose O’Neill (24), Forrest Close Killarney, a mother of three and a Traveller, said she had lost her husband in 2010 to suicide. Members of her extended family had also died in this way, she told Aoife Lynch, for the Traveller Movement.

One of the tickets was for her friend Linda Mongan, who had lost her husband, also to suicide, just 10 weeks previously and her sister also decided to go.

However, at about 11pm, when the three of them approached the large doors of the nightclub and gave the tickets to a doorman he said “there’s nothing going on here tonight”. Other people were going in with tickets for the event.

“I told him I lost my husband to suicide. He laughed at us, he actually laughed at us. I was very very hurt, I felt mentally abused, I felt so hurt.”

McSorleys claimed the young women were refused entry because they were unsteady on their feet; that the nightclub had no policy of discrimination against Travellers and some 30 members of the Traveller Community were at the event.

Judge Olann Kelleher awarded each woman €1,000 in compensation and costs for a solicitor to the Irish Traveller Movement.