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Thursday 4 March 2021

No Irish. Holidaymakers banned because of their surnames

A leading British holiday company has admitted it used list of Irish names in a bid to exclude gypsies and "travellers" from its holiday parks.

Pontins has agreed to change its work practices after disclosure the disclosure it refused or cancelled bookings made by certain people with an Irish accent or surname.

The racism was investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission after it was revealed by a whistleblower, the BBC, iNews and other British media outlets reported. 

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said such discrimination was "completely unacceptable".

The EHRC said Pontins had an "undesirable guests" list on its intranet of mainly common Irish names to identify people it did not want at its parks. The names allegedly included Boyle, Keefe, Gallagher, O'Donnell, McGuiness, Murphy, and O'Reilly.

The EHRC said Pontins staff monitored calls and refused or cancelled bookings made by certain people with an Irish accent or surname, and Pontins' commercial vehicle policy excluded gypsies and travellers from its holiday parks.

By declining to provide its services to guests of a certain race or ethnic group, Pontins was "directly discriminating on the basis of race" and breached the 2010 Equality Act, the EHRC said.

Alastair Pringle, executive director at EHRC, said: "It is hard not to draw comparisons with an 'undesirable guests' list and the signs displayed in hotel windows fifty years ago, explicitly barring Irish people and black people.

"Banning people from services based on their race is discrimination and is unlawful. To say that such policies are outdated is an understatement."
Pontins aims at the family market and offers budget holidays.


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