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Irish Travellers receive compensation after Conservative Club refuses to hold their Christening party

A father and daughter have received compensation in settlement of their claim for race discrimination and harassment after a Conservative Club in Cardiff refused to host their Christening party on learning they were Irish Travellers.

Posted on 01 September 2023

The father had enquired about holding his young daughter’s Christening party in a function room at Park Conservative Club in March 2022.

However, in a telephone call with a member of staff, he was told the club’s Board had recently voted to stop hosting Irish Travellers’ events.

The father was shocked by the response and phoned the staff member back, recording the subsequent conversation. During the second call he was informed that Irish Travellers were banned from holding parties at the venue due to problems at previous events. A number of offensive comments about the behaviour of Irish Travellers were made. After he protested that it was unfair to ban a whole ethnicity because of the actions of others, the staff member suggested setting up a meeting for him to meet the club secretary to discuss the matter. The father agreed to this but heard nothing further from the club.

The father and daughter, who wish to remain anonymous, took legal action against the club on the grounds it had racially discriminated against them both because they were Irish Travellers. The claim also included one of harassment against the father as a result of the staff member’s offensive comments about Travellers while he was attempting to make the booking.

The pair, who were represented by law firm Leigh Day and supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, settled their claim after Park Conservative Club agreed to pay them compensation. The settlement was reached with no admission of liability on the part of the club. As part of the settlement, three members of staff, a club official and a member of the club board have received cultural awareness training regarding the Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities.

The father said:

“To be told we were banned from booking this venue to celebrate my daughter’s Christening just because we are Irish Travellers was deeply upsetting for our family. It’s not right that people like me are treated so unfairly, often on a daily basis. I hope by bringing this case we can help bring this type of discrimination to an end so our community can enjoy the same rights as everyone else.”

Leigh Day solicitor Kate Egerton said:

“Unfortunately, many Irish Travellers continue to encounter persistent race discrimination. Staff at Park Conservative Club openly admitted it had banned Irish Travellers from holding events at the venue. Their actions displayed both commonly held prejudice and negative stereotypes, which are unfair and discriminatory. As well as paying compensation to our clients, it is right that staff and officials at the club have undergone cultural awareness training to ensure this type of discrimination is not repeated in future.”

Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

“No one should be discriminated against because of who they are, and members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities can often face harassment and discrimination due to negative stereotypes and deeply ingrained prejudices. We supported this case through our landmark fund for race discrimination cases, which was launched to tackle race discrimination and help victims seeks justice. As Britain’s equality regulator we are committed to taking action and using our legal powers to ensure no-one experiences discrimination. I hope those who have received training as part of this settlement are able to learn from this incident and ensure people from all communities are treated equally and with the respect they deserve in future.”

Kate Egerton
Discrimination Human rights

Kate Egerton

Kate Egerton is a senior associate solicitor in the human rights department.

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