Law assailed as `licence' for apartheid


PUBLICANS are campaigning to retain a "licence to practise apartheid" a travellers' group has claimed, writes Padraig O'Morain.

New equality legislation due to be published this year by the Minister for Equality and Law Reform, Mr Taylor, is expected; to make it illegal to refuse services on a variety of grounds, including membership of the travelling community.

But the Vintners' Federation of Ireland has complained that the loss of the "right to refuse" would mean publicans could no longer deny service to drug pushers, criminals or troublemakers.

The federation's view has been backed by Fianna Fail. The Fianna Fail Parliamentary Party recently passed a motion supporting the right to refuse admission to certain groups.

But the real motivation of publicans is to be able to continue to refuse service to people because they are travellers or because of their colour, their sexual orientation or their disabilities, according to the current Pavee Point Newsletter, published by the Dublin Travellers' Education and Development Group.

"This appears to be what is really behind their campaign," an editorial in the newsletter says.