Margaret & Noreen O’Brien
Scruffy’s Bar, Kerry
(Represented by Niall Brosnan & Co. Solicitors)
Summary of the Complainant’s case
On 1st June 2003 the complainants had just finished a Chinese meal and attempted to gain entry to the respondent premises to join Noreen’s husband. They had not been drinking. They were stopped at the door and told “Not tonight ladies, locals only”. When she said she wanted to speak to her husband she was told by another bouncer that they were not going in. They left then because of the embarrassment.
Summary of the Respondent’s Case
The respondent indicated that the alleged incident took place on a busy June Bank Holiday and that up to 30 people might be refused without any log of the incident being kept. He stated that Travellers were served in the bar weekly. In raising the issue of delay on the part of the Tribunal the respondent’s representative indicated that there was no specific defence available in this case.
Conclusions of the Equality Officer
I am satisfied and the respondent accepted that the complainants are members of the Traveller community. I am also satisfied that the alleged refusal took place. Having reviewed the papers submitted in this case it is clear that the notification of the respondent took place within the required two months which would have afforded the respondent an opportunity to address the matter before too much time had elapsed.
On the absence of any other objectively justifiable reason for the refusal an inference of discrimination on the Traveller ground arises. In accordance with Section 26 of the Act I find an inference of discrimination arises and that the complainants have established a prima facie case that they were refused because of their membership of the Traveller community. The respondent has not presented any evidence which would support a rebuttal of the prima facie case.
I find that the complainants were discriminated against because of their membership of the Traveller ground when they were refused access to the respondent premises on June 1st 2003. I hereby order the respondent to pay €300 to each of the complainants for the effects of the discrimination.
7th March 2008