A blacklist distributed by the vacation park operator Pontins telling its staff not to book lodging for individuals with Irish surnames, has been referred to as “completely unacceptable” by Downing Street.
The list of “undesireable visitors” was sent out to reserving operators who were told “we do not desire these visitors on our parks”. It stated: “Please watch out for the following names for ANY future reservations.”
The list, that included names such as Carney, Boylan, McGuinness and O’Mahoney, was an example of “anti-Traveller discrimination”, a spokesperson for Boris Johnson said. The document had an image of a wizard holding up a wand and staff stating: “You will not pass.”
The connected memo said “numerous guests are undesirable at Pontins, however a few of these will still try and book– specifically in the school vacations,” but the list just offered surnames.
A whistleblower who approached the Equalities and Person Rights Commission with the policy likewise exposed the firm had been monitoring calls within its contact centre and declining reservations made by people with an Irish accent or surname and was utilizing its business lorries policy to leave out Gypsies and Tourists.
The EHRC stated the practices amounted to racial discrimination and breached the Equality Act 2010.
” This is totally undesirable,” the Downing Street spokesperson stated. “No one in the UK must be discriminated against because of race or ethnicity, it’s ideal that the equality of the Human Rights Commission examine and address this particular issue of anti-Traveller discrimination.”
The sweeping blacklist, initially reported in the I, was described the EHRC in February 2020.
” It is difficult not to draw contrasts with an unfavorable guests list and the signs displayed in hotel windows 50 years ago, explicitly barring Irish individuals and black people,” stated Alastair Pringle, EHRC executive director.
” Prohibiting individuals from services based upon their race is discrimination and is unlawful. To state that such policies are outdated is an understatement. It is best to challenge such practices and any business that thinks this is appropriate should think again before they find themselves dealing with legal action.”
The first Pontins was established after the 2nd world war on a former United States military base and expanded throughout a midcentury heyday. However it now runs simply 6 holiday parks including in Prestatyn, Lowestoft and Southport. It is owned by Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited, which stated in a declaration it “has consented to interact with the Equality and Person Rights Commission to even more improve its staff training and treatments in order to more promote equality throughout its company”.
EHRC stated Pontins has actually signed a legally binding agreement to prevent racial discrimination.
Sarah Mann, director at Friends, Families and Travellers, a charity that works on behalf of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers stated the blacklist was “outrageous”.
” Prejudice and discrimination towards Gypsy and Tourist people lives and thriving in society,” she said.
” It is outrageous that Pontins have acted in this way for so long prior to they were stopped. We know from our helpline that they are not the only vacation camp who have these practices.
” Our thanks go to the Pontin’s whistleblower for doing the ideal thing and to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for using their powers. All of us have an option when we see discrimination– to wait or to challenge it.”
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, co-founder of the all-party parliamentary group on Gypsies, Travellers and Roma said he was “absolutely speechless”.
“We know this sort of blacklisting has been going on for years, we have actually just not been able to show it. The wider discrimination versus the Gypsy and Visitor community is extraordinary and targeting particularly the Irish Gypsy neighborhood in the 21st century is astonishing.”