LONDON (Reuters) – A British chain of vacation parks was till just lately utilizing an “undesirable visitor listing” to cease folks with Irish surnames from making bookings, an anti-discrimination watchdog mentioned on Tuesday.
The listing used internally at Pontins and obtained by the i newspaper included surnames generally present in Eire and throughout the Irish diaspora in Britain, resembling Doherty, Gallagher, Murphy, Nolan, O’Brien and O’Connell.
The listing was geared toward stopping Gypsies and Irish Travellers from staying at Pontins amenities, in keeping with a whistleblower who contacted the Equality and Human Rights Fee.
“It’s onerous not to attract comparisons with an ‘undesirable visitors’ listing and the indicators displayed in resort home windows 50 years in the past, explicitly barring Irish folks and Black folks,” mentioned Alastair Pringle, the fee’s govt director.
“Banning folks from providers primarily based on their race is discrimination and is illegal. To say that such insurance policies are outdated is an understatement.”
The whistleblower instructed the i that whereas working within the reserving division at Pontins, which runs six vacation parks in England and Wales, he was instructed to refuse or cancel bookings requested by prospects whose names had been on the listing.
Britannia Jinky Jersey Restricted, the corporate that owns Pontins, signed a legally binding settlement with the fee through which it pledged to forestall discriminatory practices.
“Britannia Jinky Jersey Restricted has agreed to work along with the Equality and Human Rights Fee to additional improve its employees coaching and procedures with the intention to additional promote equality all through its enterprise,” a spokesman mentioned in an announcement posted by the Fee.
The corporate couldn’t instantly be reached by Reuters for additional remark or clarification of the coverage.
Irish greater schooling minister Simon Harris, considered one of many who reacted to the case in Eire, mentioned he was saddened and angered.
“As a toddler, my household and I holidayed in Pontins many occasions. Childhood reminiscences of a cheerful place and good occasions are actually changed by a way of disgust that such prejudice would exist,” he mentioned on Twitter.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the listing as “utterly unacceptable”.
(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and Elizabeth Piper in London, Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Modifying by Angus MacSwan)
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