Greville Arm's Hotel, Granard
Equal Status Act 2000 - Direct discrimination, section 3(1)(a) - Discrimination on the Race ground, section 3(2)(h) - Supply of goods and services, section 5(1) - Refusal of service in a Hotel
This dispute concerns a complaint by Edward Kelly that he was discriminated against, contrary to Sections 3(1), 3(2)(a) and 3(2)(h) of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004, by Ms Christina Flood of the Greville Arm's Hotel, Granard on the grounds of race. The complainant states that when he visited the Greville Arm's Hotel, Granard with a friend on 18 October 2002, he was informed by the owner, Ms Christina Flood that he was not being served.
Delegation under the Equal Status Act, 2000
This complaint were referred 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 has delegated this complaint to myself, Brian O'Byrne, 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, 2000.
Mr Kelly has lived in Granard all his life.
He had never visited the Greville Arm's Hotel prior to 2002
Each weekend, he usually met Padraig Cunningham and some other friends for drink in Granard.
On Friday 18 October 2002, Mr Cunningham asked Mr Kelly to accompany him to a party that Mr Cunningham's girlfriend had been invited to in the Greville Arms Hotel.
At the Hearing on 17 January 2006, Mr Cunningham gave evidence that when they arrived in the bar of the hotel, his girlfriend came to him and told him that Ms Flood, the manager, had told her she was not serving Mr Kelly as she did not want "his kind" in the hotel.
At the Hearing, Mr Kelly said that he believed that this comment was a reference to the fact that other Kellys in the town had a bad name and that her comment constituted discrimination on the race ground under equality legislation.
At the Hearing, it was pointed out to Mr Kelly that this allegation against Ms Flood was hearsay evidence in the absence of direct evidence at the Hearing from Mr Cunningham's girlfriend.
Mr Kelly said that he later spoke to Ms Flood directly who told him that he was not been admitted because he had not got an invitation
Evidence of Respondent and her Witness
Ms Christina Flood said that Mr Kelly was not known to her prior to 18 October.
She said that she had let out the bar that night to a staff member who was having a 21st birthday party.
Most of the regular customers would have been invited and those that weren't would have been told about the party in advance to avoid disappointment when they arrived
During the night, Ms Flood would consult with the party host if there was a doubt in her mind as to whether an arrival had been invited.
This was the case with Mr Kelly. When she saw him, she checked with the host who told her he had not been invited. She then approached Mr Kelly personally and explained to him that it was a private party and that he would have to leave.
Mr Kelly was one of a few people turned away that night and she was surprised that a complaint of discrimination was received subsequently. She said that she never made a comment like "your kind" to anyone that evening
Ms Elaine Neilon, who was bar duty that evening, also gave evidence that she saw Ms Flood consulting with the host when Mr Kelly arrived and then talking to him before he left
Conclusions of the Equality Officer
The Equal Status Acts 2000 - 2004 identify a number of grounds under which it is illegal to discriminate against an individual. "Race" is one of these grounds and the Acts provide that discrimination occurs on the race ground where a person is treated differently because "they are of different race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origin"
In this particular case, the complainant is a white male from Ireland who believes that he suffered discrimination on the race ground because a comment relating to his "kind" was allegedly made by Ms Flood on 18 October 2002.
Having given consideration to this point, I find that I cannot accept that Mr Kelly is covered by the race ground as provided for by the Equal Status Acts. As I see it, the race ground is designed to afford protection from discrimination to those of a different colour, nationality or ethnic origin who reside in Ireland and clearly Mr Kelly does not fall under any one of these categories.
In the circumstances, I find that I cannot accept that Mr Kelly's complaint is admissible under the Equal Status Acts and, accordingly, I find for the respondents in the matter.
I find that a prima facie case of discrimination has not been established by the complainant on the race ground.
Accordingly, I find in favour of the respondents in the matter
27 February 2006