Tuesday 16 July 2019

Dublin hotel offers Canadian paralympian €500 as gesture of goodwill following guide dog 'miscommunication'

Victoria Nolan with her guide dog Alan
Victoria Nolan with her guide dog Alan
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A Dublin hotel which initially told a blind Canadian paralympian that it does not accept guide dogs on its premises has offered her €500 as a gesture of goodwill following a "miscommunication".

Victoria Nolan, a medal-winning paralympic rower, booked three nights accommodation at Dublin Central Suites on Gardiner Street for the end of June.

Her husband, Eamonn Nolan, advised the hotel that a guide dog would be travelling with them and was told by a receptionist that this could not be accommodated.

However, the general manager of the hotel says there was a miscommunication and issued an apology to the Nolan family.

Dublin Central Suites has now vowed to amend its website to highlight how guide dogs are a clear exception to its no pets policy.

In an email to Mr and Mrs Nolan, the general manager said: "At no point was I aware that Ms Nolan was blind. The conversation between myself and the staff solely centered around our No Pets policy.

"For this I apologise again and would like to reiterate that it was certainly not our intention to discriminate in any shape or form.

"Guide dogs are a clear exception to our no pets policy in our internal documents and I have taken steps to ensure all reception staff are fully aware of this. I have also ordered our IT company to amend our website and make this explicit under the No Pets policy section.

"I completely understand how much hurt and distress this episode has caused you and Ms Nolan and the rest of your family and for this I would like to apologise again from the depth of my heart. To prove that we are genuinely sorry for the miscommunication incident.

"I would like to offer you, Ms Nolan and your family €500 as a gesture of goodwill."

The couple regularly travel to Ireland and said they were "bitterly disappointed" when the hotel told them a guide dog could not stay on the premises.

"No blind person should ever have to put up with this," Mr Nolan told Independent.ie.

The Nolan family has accepted the hotel's apology and now plans to donate a portion of the €500 to the Irish Guide Dogs Association.

"Travelling and booking accommodation for a family member living with blindness is not easy.

"Vicky and I are very happy to hear that the hotel are amending their no pets policy to include exceptions for guide dogs."

Mrs Nolan, who is also an author and TV personality in Toronto, has previously had negative experiences with taxis refusing to allow her to travel in Canada.

She appeared on CBC Toronto after an UberAssist driver locked his car and drove off when he realised she had a dog with her.

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