Bar staff should get anti-racism training, says Traveller activist

Comments follow settlement in case of four Travellers refused service in Maynooth bar

Further conditions of the settlement were that the staff involved attend a course of equality training and that the four men not speak publicly about the case.   Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Further conditions of the settlement were that the staff involved attend a course of equality training and that the four men not speak publicly about the case. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

 

Anti-racism training should be provided to all bar staff, according to the director of the Traveller support organisation, Pavee Point.

Ronnie Fay was speaking as she welcomed the settlement in a case of four Travellers who were refused service in a bar in Maynooth earlier this year.

The four men, students from Donegal, Kerry and Dublin, were refused service in the Roost bar in the Co Kildare town on April 4th.

They had just completed a weekend residential programme at Maynooth university on human rights and were planning to join Ms Fay and Anastasia Crickley, chairwoman of the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, for a drink.

They were refused service initially by a staff member and then by the bar manager.

The four took a case against owner of the bar, Laraville Properties Ltd, under the 2003 Intoxicating Liquor Act. Legal representation was provided by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC).

Legal assistance

Under Section 40 of the IHREC Act 2014, the Commission can, in certain circumstances, provide legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring a matter of human rights or equality of treatment before the courts.

The case, due to come before Naas district court last month, was settled before it went to hearing. Each of the men was paid €6,000, plus €500 each to go to a charity of their choice.

Further conditions of the settlement were that the staff involved attend a course of equality training and that the four men not speak publicly about the case.

Emily Logan, IHREC’s chief commissioner, welcomed the settlement, saying it sent a clear message “that discrimination in private services, including licensed premises is not acceptable and can be challenged”.

‘Shocked’

Ms Fay, who witnessed the incident, said she had been “shocked at the discrimination Travellers had to endure that evening.

“Sadly this continues to be the reality for many Travellers, despite equality legislation, as documented in the recent ESRI study in Travellers,” she said.

“It once against highlights the need for proactive anti-racism action plan in Ireland -the last one concluded in 2008. It also highlights the need for the Vintners Associations to encourage their members to provide anti-racism training for their staff.”

The outcome of the case was “no doubt strengthened by my being present on the night as well as Ms Crickley who also witnessed the incident”.

“It was made possible by the IHREC supporting the case. Most Travellers would not have this support.”

She said: “Licensed premises cases need to be brought back under the remit of the Work Relations Commission ( previously Equality Tribunal) as the majority of Travellers continue to be denied justice in the cases of discrimination by licensed premises including hotels for weddings; Christenings and Christmas parties.”