Ms. Nora O'Reilly
(Represented by Waterford Traveller Community Development Project)
Noddy's Bar Ltd.
(Represented by Purcell Cullen Kennedy Solicitors)
Ms. O'Reilly 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, the Director then delegated the case to me, Bernadette Treanor, 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. The hearing of the case took place on 20th June 2006.
Summary of the Complainant's case
In evidence at the hearing the complainant stated that she had heard a rumour about her having caused trouble in Noddy's Bar and her being barred from it. She decided to go into the Bar to clarify this. When she went in on 10th June 2002 she was told by the boss that they would not serve her and that she should talk to the bouncer. The bouncer said that she should come back in a week. When she spoke to him a week later he said that management would not let her in. When she asked why she the bouncer said that he did not know why. Ms. O'Reilly stated that there were settled and Traveller people in the bar when she went in and was refused. She stated that she does not often go out to drink and that she was never in the bar before or since.
On her notification form signed on 13th June 2002 Ms. O'Reilly stated that when entering on 10th June 2002 she was stopped by the bouncer and told that she was not allowed in. She told the bouncer that she was a regular and always went in there. When he said that she could not get in she said thanks and walked away.
The complainant's case is that the respondent would not have refused a non-Traveller in similar circumstances. She denies being involved in a previous incident in the pub.
Summary of the Respondent's Case
The respondent did not attend the hearing or present any evidence in response to the allegation of discrimination. However, the respondent's representative did attend and cross-examined the complainant. He highlighted the discrepancies between Ms. O'Reilly's evidence during the hearing and the notification sent to the respondent in 2002. When pressed Ms. O'Reilly stated that she might have been a regular a few years ago.
Conclusions of the Equality Officer
The complainant's version of events as presented at the hearing and in her notification vary to such an extent that one might think she was describing two different incidents. In one version she went into the bar, never having been in before or since, was refused in front of people who knew her, and tried to sort it out with the bouncer. In the other version she was stopped at the door by the bouncer, said she was a regular, and never gained entry on that occasion. I am satisfied that Ms. O'Reilly's evidence on the matter is unreliable. On that basis I am not satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that she was refused in circumstances that could amount to discrimination on the Traveller ground. I find that she has not established a prima facie case of discrimination.
I find that the complainant has not established a prima facie case of discrimination on the Traveller ground and therefore this decision is in favour of the respondent.