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Man with Traveller heritage wins discrimination case after Conservative club refused to host christening

 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

A man who was barred from booking a christening party for his daughter at a Conservative club due to his Irish Traveller heritage has received compensation.

The man, who wished to remain nameless, took action after being told by a staff member at Park Conservative club in Cardiff that Irish Travellers were banned from hosting parties amid behaviour concerns.

After challenging the decision, the claimant was told the club had voted to exclude all Irish Traveller clients because of past instances of drug-taking, abuse of staff and damage to furniture.

According to the legal action letter, which included extracts from a phone conversation recorded by the claimant, he asked: “Just to double check, the board said we can’t have parties because we are Travellers?”

To which the staff member responded: “Yeah.”

When the man suggested that if someone from a different ethnicity caused trouble that the club would not have banned them the staff member agreed, saying: “I totally agree with you, you know it’s like saying one black man comes in here, caused trouble, all black men are banned.”

The claimant replied: “No, that wouldn’t happen, but why is the board saying that it is OK to ban every Traveller based on the actions of a few individuals?”

The staff member offered to set up a meeting with the club secretary to discuss the issue but no meeting was organised.

After being rejected, he said he had to book the event at a different venue for an additional £1,480.

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.”

Although the club did not accept any liability, it agreed to pay the man and his daughter compensation in a settlement while five staff members and officials agreed to undergo cultural awareness training.

A spokesperson for the club said it was “sincerely apologetic” for the incident and said that a mistake had been made.

The case was funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) with Kishwer Falkner, the chair of the EHRC, saying: “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.”