Michael, John Jnr.,David & Martin McDonagh (minors suing by their father John McDonagh Snr.) (represented by O'Carroll & Co. Solicitors, Galway) V The Groove Yard Co. Ltd., Galway (represented by Mr. Conor Power, B.L., acting on instructions from Kennedy Fitzgerald, Solicitors, Galway)
1.1 This dispute concerns a claim by John McDonagh that on 19 June, 2001, four of his children were refused admission to a youth disco at Leisureland, Galway on the grounds that they are members of the Traveller community. The respondent denies that discrimination occurred. Mr. McDonagh Snr. referred a claim to the Director of Equality Investigations under the Equal Status Act 2000. In accordance with her powers under section 75 of the Employment Equality Act 1998 and under the Equal Status Act 2000, the Director then delegated the case to me, Dolores Kavanagh, an Equality Officer, for investigation, hearing and decision and for the exercise of other relevant functions of the Director under Part III of the Equal Status Act.
2. Summary of Complainant's Case.
2.1 Mr. McDonagh states that he dropped his children off at the youth disco circa 7.30 p.m. on 19 June, 2001. His daughter, who was chaperoning her brothers at the event was to ring him when the disco was over and he would then return and collect the children. Less than one hour later his daughter rang him to come and collect them as the four boys had each been refused admission. Mr. McDonagh is satisfied that the boys were refused entry to the disco because of their Traveller status.
3. Summary of Respondent's Case
3.1 The respondent states that the security officers refused entry to the four boys solely because the boys were deemed to be underage for the event.
4. Evidence of the Parties
4.1. Complainant's Evidence
Mr. John McDonagh Senior, witness.
Mr. McDonagh stated that:-
Written evidence submitted prior to Hearing
- On Tuesday, 19 June 2001 he drove his sons, Michael aged 13, John aged 14, David aged 12 and Martin aged 16, his daughter, Mary aged 18 and his nephew, Martin Mongan, aged 13 to a youth disco for teenagers which was being held at Leisureland, Salthill, Galway. He dropped them off at the disco at approximately 7.30 p.m., around 30 minutes before the doors were due to open.
- His daughter, Mary was accompanying the boys to make sure that they were safe and to ring him for a lift home when the disco was over.
- Mr. McDonagh then drove home.
- Less than an hour later his daughter rang him to say that they had not been allowed into the disco and to come and collect them. Mr. McDonagh returned to Leisureland.
- When he arrived at Leisureland the children explained that the boys had been in the company of some of their settled friends from the locality. Michael had been allowed in initially but when he went through the doors the bouncer had told him to stand to one side and had taken his ticket from him. The bouncer then handed Michael an envelope containing a refund and told him to leave.
- The other boys were in the queue and the bouncers approached them and asked them to step to one side. The boys were then told that they would not be allowed in.
- Mary had been admitted to the disco but, on discovering that the boys were not allowed in, did not stay.
- Mr. McDonagh met the bouncers on the steps of the venue and asked why the boys were not allowed into the disco. The bouncers replied that they had had some trouble with some young lads.
- Mr. McDonagh asked whether they had had any trouble with any of his sons and they replied that they had not had any trouble from them. Mr. McDonagh then asked why the boys had not been admitted to the disco if they had not caused any trouble.
- The bouncers then stated that they had had problems with forged tickets. Mr. McDonagh then asked why the boys were refunded their money if they were alleged to have forged passes. The bouncers did not reply.
- Mr. McDonagh then asked to speak with whoever was in charge. The bouncers told him that they were in charge of security and they refused to get anybody else for him to speak to.
- Mr. McDonagh asked the bouncers for their names, the name of the organisers of the disco and the name of the manager. They refused to give any details. The name of the security company, Sword Security, was written on their shirts and on a nearby van.
- The following day Mr. McDonagh rang Sword Security and asked for, and was given, the name of the organiser of the disco. He then rang Mr. James Gavin, organiser, and related what had happened and asked for an explanation. Mr. Gavin stated that he could not offer an explanation. When asked whether the exclusion of the boys from the disco was because of their Traveller status Mr. Gavin replied that it was not, but he still could not offer an explanation.
- Mr. McDonagh's children were made to feel extremely embarrassed and mortified. They are all very well behaved and are actively involved in sport and football in the community. They had planned to go to the disco for weeks beforehand with their friends from the settled community in Knocknacarra and the Salthill area. It was a big occasion for them to go to his disco.
- Some of their friends saw them being separated and taken aside from the queue and had asked them why they were not being allowed in, and the children were extremely embarrassed and humiliated.
- Mr. McDonagh's children had been to the disco before and there had never been a problem and he had never received a complaint about their behaviour. They were not requested to produce identification nor were their dates of birth or ages sought and, in fact, smaller and younger children were being admitted.
- The entire experience had been very humiliating for him and his family.
Oral Evidence presented at Hearing.
- Mr. McDonagh confirmed the written details of the alleged incident as above and confirmed that the details in his written submission were given on foot of his children's account of events as he was not personally present at Leisureland for much of the evening in question and did not, therefore, witness what had actually occurred.
- Mr. McDonagh stated that he was not aware that the disco was being held for 14-18 year olds (clearly stated in ads and on tickets) or that two of his children and his nephew were clearly under age for the event.
- After speaking with the security men at the venue on his return, Mr. McDonagh spoke with a Garda who was present nearby and confirmed with the Garda that none of his children had been involved in any trouble. The Garda advised Mr. McDonagh to speak to whoever was in charge of the event (all of which is confirmed by a written Garda statement submitted by Mr. McDonagh at the Hearing). He went back to the security men and requested the name of the person in charge and was told that "Mr. Gavin does not see anyone".
David McDonagh, complainant
- David McDonagh was aged 12 on the date of the alleged discrimination.
- He was taken out of the queue by Mr. Gilroy, security man at the disco, and was given a refund.
- He was queuing with some friends, not his brothers or sister at the time he was taken out of the queue. While initially stating that he was not aware that the disco was for teens aged between 14 years and 18 years David McDonagh confirmed in the course of the Hearing that he was "chancing his arm" trying to gain admission to the disco as he was under age but stated that friends of his who were the same age or younger were actually admitted to the venue.
- He did not go to stand with his brothers when he was told he would not be admitted but, instead went to a nearby wall to await his father's return after the disco (due to return circa midnight).
- He was not given any reason for being refused admission to the disco.
- He was joined by his brother Martin about five minutes later. His brother had also been refused admission.
Martin McDonagh, complainant.
- Martin McDonagh was aged 16 at the time of the alleged discrimination. He queued for a while before being taken out of the queue by a security man who asked him to wait there. When the crowd went into the disco he was told to leave.
- No reason was given as to why he was being refused admission. He had been to the disco previously and had had no trouble in being admitted.
Michael McDonagh, complainant
- Michael McDonagh was aged 13 at the time of the alleged discrimination. He had been admitted to the hallway of the building where the disco was being held and had handed in his ticket at the desk before the security man took him out of the queue and gave him a refund.
- He went outside and met up with his brothers at the wall to await their father's arrival at midnight. While waiting at the wall he noticed a group of around twenty others, all Travellers, near the barriers, all of whom had been refused admission to the disco.
John McDonagh, complainant
- John McDonagh was aged 14 at the time of the alleged discrimination. He was taken out of the queue outside the venue for the disco by Mr. Folman, security officer and he was given a refund.
- He doesn't go out a lot but when he does it would generally be to Leisureland. He had been to the disco previously and had not had any trouble in gaining admission to it on those occasions.
- He did not say anything when he was taken out of the queue because he was anxious to be admitted. He was conscious of the age limits and did raise it at one point, telling the bouncer that he was 16 years old.
- His cousin, Martin Mongan was also taken from the queue and had stated to the security man that he was 16 years old but was ignored (he was actually thirteen years old at the time).
- He went to wait with his brothers when he was refused admission. He did not see anybody else outside the venue or outside the barriers, other than his brothers, while waiting for his father to collect him.
Mary McDonagh, daughter of Mr. John McDonagh Snr.
- Ms. McDonagh was aged 18 at the time of the alleged discrimination.
- She was in the queue for the disco ahead of her brothers and was admitted. She waited inside the venue for her brothers to be admitted.
- She saw her brothers being taken from the queue and Michael, who was pulled out of the queue inside the doors of the venue came to stand with her when he was refused admission.
- Her cousin, Martin Mongan, who had been refused admission also, and who was inside the doors of the venue, told her that the boys (her brothers) were not going to get in.
- She went to the phone in the hallway of the premises and called her father and told him to come and collect them, that the boys had been refused admission.
- She had been to the disco previously and had been admitted. The complainant's representative summarised on behalf of her clients stating that:-
- The complainants were refused admission to the disco and it was indicated that this would have been for one of four reasons. It was clearly not for three of the reasons stated and the respondent's solicitor in a letter had specifically stated that it was on the grounds that the children were outside the age limits for the event.
- The letter from the respondent's solicitor was written before the report of the incident had been forwarded by Sword Security. This report did not specify a reason for the refusals but again elaborated the four possible reasons for same. It was to be questioned therefore how the respondent's solicitor could state that the refusals were based on age alone.
- In a total of twenty plus refusals on the night in question five members of one Traveller family had been refused admission ( four sons and nephew). This would indicate that the bias against Travellers on the part of the respondent was high.
- The complainants were refused entry because they are members of the Traveller community and for no other reason.
- Two of the complainants at the time of the refusal were the correct age to attend the disco. They were also refused entry and were given no explanation for the refusal. The complainant's representative clarified that the Mr. McDonagh was not grounding a complaint on his own behalf or on behalf of his nephew, Martin Mongan, in this matter, and that Mary McDonagh was not a complainant because she was eighteen at the time of the incident, i.e. she was in a position to lodge a complaint in her own right and had not done so, and was admitted to the disco, therefore discrimination in her particular case did not arise. Mr. McDonagh was grounding a complaint on behalf of his four sons who were allegedly discriminated against, and who were under eighteen at the time of the alleged discrimination.
4.2 Respondent's Evidence
Written evidence submitted prior to Hearing
The respondent's solicitor had submitted a copy of the written reply which had been forwarded to the complainant on foot of the notification of the complaint to the respondent.
This letter stated that:-
- The correct respondent in this matter was the Groove Yard Co. Ltd. and the event on 19 June, 2001 had been organised by that company.
- The company had been organising similar events for a number of years and therefore has a lot of experience in such matters. The event in question was run in conjunction with the Salthill Gardaí to ensure that the disco is a success for all concerned.
- The security personnel on duty on the evening in question have a lot of experience in dealing with these youth discos. The age limit is strictly enforced at these youth discos. The disco in question was for the age group 14-17 year olds. The security personnel were aware at all times that that this age limit was to be strictly enforced. When the complainants were refused entry to the disco it was on the sole basis that they were under age.
- When Mr. McDonagh returned to Leisureland to collect his children the security guard who had refused the children entry had gone into the disco itself and was replaced byanother guard. This guard was unaware of the reason of the reason for the children being refused entry. He was therefore unable to enlighten Mr. McDonagh as to that reason.
- Both Sword Security and the Groove Yard Co. Ltd. Are fully aware of the provisions of the Equal Status Act, 2000. It is their contention that they in no way discriminated against Mr. McDonagh's children on the night in question.
- The youth discos are run under a strict policy of refusing admission on one of four grounds, namely;- age; forged tickets; children having drink consumed; children who are believed to be troublemakers.
Mr. McDonagh's children were refused entry to the disco because they were deemed to be under age and for no other reason.
Oral evidence presented at Hearing
Mr. James Gavin, Groove Yard Co. Ltd, (Organiser of Youth Disco)
Mr. Gavin stated that:-
- The youth discos are organised with the support of the Gardaí, local schools and first aid organisations.
- The discos are advertised in posters, newspaper advertisements and local radio (copy advertisements submitted at Hearing).
- There are approximately 4-5 discos per annum which are organised around school holidays.
- There are strict entry requirements (as elaborated above) and barriers are erected around the venue, and the queue, for safety reasons.
- There is usually a Garda presence and some 18-22 security officers on duty at each disco. Some are deployed outside to monitor the queue and others are deployed inside the venue.
- Mr. Gavin is usually outside the venue for a while before the doors open, but, as he is the main DJ for each event he then goes inside and takes his place on stage. It is for this reason that he would not be available to speak to people seeking him out after the disco has started. Full discretion is given to the security personnel at that point to deal with matters arising.
- The age group profile of those attending the disco is generally 14-16 year olds because 17 and 18 year olds feel that they are too old to be with 14-16 year olds.
- Admission of those below the 14 year age limit is very strict because the target age group would feel that the crowd is too young and this could affect attendance.
- Mr. Gavin would normally be at the gate before the event begins and would "hammer it into the security officers" that the lower age limit in particular is to be enforced.
- Attendance at each event would average out at between 900 and 1,100.
- Mr. Gavin recalls the phone call from Mr. McDonagh the day after the event in question. Mr. McDonagh seemed stressed about his children not being admitted but Mr. Gavin could not give him any specific reason for the refusal and explained to Mr. McDonagh that there are four grounds on which the refusal might have been based.
- Mr. Gavin is quite certain that David and Michael McDonagh have been to discos at Leisureland since 19 June 2001 because on one such occasion Michael McDonagh had stated "my dad is suing you" to him.
- Mr. Gavin stated that there is no policy of refusing or restricting entry to the discos toTraveller children. He was aware that on occasion he had presented prizes on stage to Traveller children at such events. He knew that they were Travellers on some occasions because he would, from time to time, recognise them as Travellers. In general he could not distinguish between Travellers and non-Travellers.
- Mr. Gavin was not aware of the refusals or Mr. McDonagh's request to speak with him until he received the phone call from Mr. McDonagh the following day. If he had been aware that Mr. McDonagh wished to speak to him he could not have left the stage anyway.
- Mr. Gavin made inquiries about the matter following the call from Mr. McDonagh but was not in a position to inform Mr. McDonagh of the outcome of those inquiries as Mr. McDonagh had not provided him with a contact number or address.
Mr. Kenneth Folman, Security Officer Mr. Folman stated that:-
- He was the 2nd supervisor on duty at the venue on the night in question. He was "floating" between the first fence and the cash desk. He would recognise David and Michael McDonagh from previous encounters, for example on one occasion when he was in Smith's Toy Store, David was there with some companions and they became very cheeky towards him. Mr. Folman was unsure whether this encounter was before or after the evening on which the complainants were refused entry to the disco.
- He and the other security officers always use their own discretion and judgement in relation to the age of those seeking admission to the venue. Even where a seemingly valid date of birth is supplied, which from experience he is aware can be rehearsed or falsified anyway, if the security personnel have any concerns or are unconvinced, they exercise their own discretion as to whether to admit someone to the event.
- The security personnel at the youth discos are issued, for convenience, with a number of envelopes containing refunds to be given to those ticket holders who are refused admission. On the night in question about 15-20, or perhaps more, were taken out of the queue and refused admission.
- Mr. Folman was sure that if Michael McDonagh was taken out of the queue inside the doors of the venue then it was he who would have asked him to step aside as it was his duty to do so at that location on the night in question. He could not recall whether he gave a refund to Michael McDonagh, but he should have done so if he took him out of the queue.
- Mr. Folman was certain that he was inside the doors of the venue at the time John McDonagh Jnr. says that he was taken out of the queue outside the building and could not therefore have been the one who asked John McDonagh to step aside.
Mr. Michael Gilroy, Security Officer Mr. Gilroy stated that:-
- He was on duty at the disco at Leisureland, Galway on the date in question.
- The queue began to form at around 7.30p.m. But the doors were not due to open until 8p.m.
- Barriers had been erected for crowd control, as was usual at such events. Security personnel scan the queue at the barriers as a first check for signs of trouble, age of attendees etc.
- There is no legal requirement for under eighteen year olds to carry identification, therefore checking for age is more difficult and requires asking for dates of birth etc. and then exercising judgement as to whether the information given is correct.
- To the best of his recollection the four complainants approached Mr. Gilroy at the barrier. He asked them to step aside and asked them for their dates of birth. One of the four gave his age as being over fourteen. The other three stated that they were not over 14. Mr. Gilroy gave refunds to the four in question (precise details could not be recalled).
- Later on Mr. Gilroy went inside the venue to help out and another security officer took over from him. This person would not be in a position to state to Mr. McDonagh Snr. why the four boys had not been admitted, but would simply have given the four reasons why people are turned away in general.
- While Mr. Gilroy was patrolling inside the venue he was called back outside because Mr. McDonagh wished to speak to him. Mr. Gilroy notified the head of security, Ian Greely, that Mr. McDonagh wished to speak to him and Mr. Greely came out and spoke with Mr. McDonagh. Mr. Greely was not in attendance at the Hearing because he was abroad.
- An incident report was completed that evening (copy to be submitted after the Hearing), based upon which Mr. Greely forwarded a written report (original (undated) was submitted at Hearing) to Mr. Gavin.
- The complainant's representative clarified that Mr. Gilroy could not have stopped or questioned Michael McDonagh because he was stopped inside the doors of the venue and told to leave. Mr. Gilroy stated that he could not recall specific/precise details of who hestopped and that he would not have taken people out of line either. As he was on duty at the gate of the venue and other security personnel were responsible for removing people from the queue, he would not. He was fairly sure that the four people, as described above, had approached him at the gate and been stopped at that point.
- Mr. Gilroy stated that Sword Security had no policy of restricting or refusing admission to Travellers and had, in fact, provided security at events organised by local Traveller development groups at which Travellers had priority to enter, but which were also open to the general public.
Mr. Conor Power, B.L., summarised on behalf of the respondent stating that:-
- There were a number of inconsistencies in the evidence from Mr. McDonagh and his children. For example, Michael had stated that he received a refund inside the venue on the night in question, but the written statement from Mr. McDonagh, stated that he sought a refund on Michael's behalf after he returned to collect his children. Also Mary McDonagh had stated that she had seen her brothers taken from the queue outside, but it was not possible to see the length of the queue from where she had stated that she was standing. It would only have been possible for her to have a clear view of the head of the queue where Mr. Gilroy was stationed. If Ms. McDonagh had seen her brothers taken from the queue at that point this would be consistent with Mr. Gilroy's recollection of events.
- In order to show that there was discrimination it is necessary to show that there was less favourable treatment on the ground claimed. In this instance his client did not dispute that the complainants are covered by the ground, i.e. Traveller ground, but did dispute the reason for the refusal to admit the complainants.
- The event in question is very tightly policed and it was stated in ads and on the tickets that security is a priority for the organisers and there is zero tolerance for any breach of the four rules elaborated earlier. Age was a vital feature of the refusals in this matter and it was clear from the evidence presented by the complainants that they were keenly aware of the age requrements and that if the under age boys were refused, they might all be refused.
- While it is to be regretted that the boys night out was ruined, the rules of admission were patently clear. Age was the reason for the refusals and under the Equal Status Act there are no grounds for age discrimination for anyone aged under eighteen.
- Many others were refused admission on the night in question. It is fully accepted that Mr. McDonagh's children are not troublemakers, did not have alcohol taken on the night in question nor were they in possession of forged tickets. However, despite the fact that they were refused on the age basis, all of them received a refund which the tickets and ads show was not required on the part of the respondent.
- Three of the complainants had stated themselves that they had previously been admitted to the disco. It was clear therefore that the respondent does not operate a discriminatory policy. It is more than sheer coincidence that three of the individuals seeking to gain admission were under age. John McDonagh Jnr., one of the complainants, was 14 at the time of the alleged discrimination and it must therefore be accepted that it would have been possible to think that he was too young at the time.
- In all of the time that these events have been running only these complaints had ever arisen on the Traveller ground. The respondent had clearly stated that attendance at each event was in the region of 900-1,100. While proof of age is not a legal requirement, the production of same by the children at the time could have resolved the matter immediately. The onus was on those seeking to gain admission to prove that they were the correct age to do so.
- It is to be expected that the basis of the complaint against the respondent would be clear. This was not the case. The details provided by Mr. McDonagh Snr. were based on the account of his children at the time and, in the course of the Hearing, the individual accounts had been unclear and at times contradictory.
- It is not in the interest of the respondent or the security firm to foment complaints of this nature and it is a fact that others thought to be too young (primarily) or too old to attend at the disco were also excluded.
5 Matters for consideration
5.1 The matter referred for investigation turns upon whether or not the complainant was discriminated against contrary to Section 3 (1)(a) or and 3 (2)(i) of the Equal Status Act 2000 in terms of Section 5 (1) of that Act.
5.2 Section 3 (1)(a) provides that discrimination shall be taken to occur where: "On any of the grounds specified.......a person is treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated".
5.3 Section 3 (2) provides that: "As between any two persons , the discriminatory grounds (and the description of those grounds for the purposes of this Act) are: ......... (i) that one is a member of the Traveller community and the other is not."
5.4 Section 5 (1) states that "a person shall not discriminate in disposing of goods to the public generally or a section of the public or in providing a service, whether the disposal or provision is for consideration or otherwise and whether the service provided can be availed of only by a section of the public ".
5.5 At the outset, I must first consider whether the existence of a prima facie case has been established by the complainants. There are three key elements which need to be established to show that a prima facie case exists. These are:
(a) Membership of a discriminatory ground (e.g. the Traveller community ground)
(b) Evidence of specific treatment of the complainants by the respondent
(c) Evidence that the treatment received by the complainants was less favourable than the treatment someone, not covered by that ground, would have received in similar circumstances.
If and when those elements are established, the burden of proof shifts, meaning that the difference in treatment is assumed to be discriminatory on the relevant ground. In such cases the claimant does not need to prove that there is a link between the difference and the membership of the ground, instead the respondent has to prove that there is not. If they succeed in establishing prima facie evidence, the burden of proof then shifts to the respondent to rebut the inference of discrimination.
6. Conclusions of the Equality Officer
6.1 I am satisfied that the complainants are members of the Traveller community in accordance with (a) at 5.5 above and this is not disputed by the respondent. The complainants have provided written and oral evidence of refusal of admission, when seeking admission to the youth disco on 19 June, 2001, by the respondent, which has been confirmed by the respondent, and this fulfils (b) at 5.5 above.
6.2 In relation to key element (c) at 5.5 above I am satisfied that the complainants have not established that they were treated less favourably than children not covered by the ground for the following reasons:-
(i) The respondent has established to my satisfaction that the age limits applicable to the youth disco are very strictly enforced. Two of the complainants, David and Michael McDonagh were clearly underage at the time of the event and were aware that this was the case. Having met them, I can state that they are of very youthful appearance and it is reasonable, and likely, that they would be taken to be even younger than their actual age. I am satisfied that it was for age reasons that they, specifically, were refused admission.
(ii) Another of the complainants, John McDonagh Jnr., was only fourteen at the time of the alleged discrimination and, like his brothers, could pass for someone much younger. I am satisfied, therefore, that it is reasonable that the security staff on duty on 19 June, 2001 could have taken him for being under age for the disco.
(iii) The complainants, in giving oral evidence, were unclear, at times evasive and inconsistent in their accounts as to what actually happened and were frequently prompted by their father, who was not present at the time when the issues he was prompting them about were unfolding. While I fully accept that they might be muddled to a degree in their recollection given the time lapse since the event, and that they were likely somewhat intimidated by having to appear before, and give evidence at, a Hearing in this matter, I cannot accept that their father could be aware of things that occurred in his absence. I have therefore had to disregard information provided directly by Mr. McDonagh Snr. about events which occurred in his absence. With regard to the inconsistencies which arose I would clarify for example, that Mary McDonagh stated that she spoke with her cousin, Martin Mongan, inside the venue and he informed her that her brothers had been refused admission. By implication this means that Martin Mongan was admitted to the building in which Mary McDonagh was located at the time. However, John McDonagh Jnr. stated in his evidence that he witnessed Martin Mongan being taken out of the queue outside and heard Martin Mongan give his age as being 16. This means that either Martin Mongan was not admitted to the building and could not therefore have spoken to Mary McDonagh, or that John McDonagh could not have seen Martin Mongan taken out of the queue outside.
If John McDonagh Jnr's account is accurate, he is stating that his cousin told a direct lie to the security men about his age. Similarly, John McDonagh Jnr. himself stated in evidence that, while he was not asked for his age when he was taken out of the queue, he had volunteered his age to the security men, and he too had lied to the security men and stated that he was sixteen at the time, which was unnecessary as he was actually fourteen at the time and of the right age to attend.
It is clear that the natural assumption on the part of the boys when they were refused entry to the disco was that age , and not their Traveller status, was the main reason for the refusal and they deliberately misinformed the security personnel in that regard.
(iv) Three of the complainants gave evidence that they had attended the disco prior to the night in question and had been admitted, despite the fact that one of them would have been under age at the time. As their Traveller status was unchanged at that time this indicates that there is no policy of discrimination against Travellers on the part of the respondent.
The only question that remains unresolved to my complete satisfaction is the refusal of admission to Martin McDonagh, who was 16 years old at the time. On balance, having reviewed all of the evidence I find that the complainants have failed to show grounds to believe that this specific refusal was discriminatory, or that it could not reasonably equally have resulted from, for example, Martin's having been associated with his younger brothers while queuing. I am satisfied that this was in fact the case, and that the respondent's evidence is more compelling in this regard.
I find that the complainants were refused admission to the youth disco at Leisureland, Galway on 19 June, 2001, which was organised by the respondent, on the basis of their age. Section 3 (3) of the Equal Status Act 2000 provides that "treating a person who has not attained the age of 18 years less favourably or more favourably than another, whatever that other person's age, shall not be regarded as discrimination on the age ground." Accordingly, as each of the complainants was under eighteen years at the time of the refusal of admission the question of discrimination on the age ground cannot arise.
I find that the complainants were not discriminated against on the Traveller community ground contrary to Section 3(1) and 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Act and in terms of Section 5(1) of that Act.
30 January, 2003