Thursday 18 July 2019

‘I was told no black people allowed’ – South African students refused entry to Dublin pub

Alcohol, stock photo
Alcohol, stock photo

Meadhbh McGrath

Two South African students living in Dublin have spoken of their experience of racism at a city centre pub.

Anathi and Ezile were refused entry to an unnamed establishment in Temple Bar on Sunday evening and were shocked to hear a security guard say that there were “no blacks allowed”.

“He was dead serious. We spoke to him to see if he was being serious or if maybe there was a language problem, but it was not a joke, not at all,” Anathi told RTE Radio One’s Liveline.

“I was denied access to a place because of my skin colour,” said Ezile, who has lived in Ireland for nine months and is currently studying for a Master’s degree in International Development at UCD.

When she arrived at the pub with Anathi and another South African friend, she said the security guard “stretched his arms out and said ‘no black people allowed’”.

They asked to speak to the manager of the pub to challenge the door policy, but the security guard refused.

Ezile described how they had to ask another representative to get the manager for them.

“He came told us about the admissions policy, and said they have a right to not disclose the reasons why they deny access to people,” she said.

“It was my first time experiencing such racism.”

The incident occurred just before 7pm, and Ezile said other patrons were permitted entry to the bar while they were speaking to the bouncer.

Outside of the bar, a group of five people were sitting at a table next to the door.

“No one intervened. No one said anything,” she said.

“It was sad, I felt really let down. I thought someone would eventually get up and say something, but no one stood up, they just watched us. It was so humiliating.”

Anathi added that a waiter had also passed by as they were being turned away.

“There were people going in and out, and we had to keep moving to the side to let people go through,” he said.

While he described Irish people as “very nice and friendly”, he was disappointed that no one spoke out.

They immediately headed to the Garda station, and were asked to return on Tuesday to make a statement.

“Last night we got calls saying it’s pointless, there’s nothing we can do because it’s not a criminal offence,” Ezile said.

She added: “I’m never going back there again. This morning I passed the same area when going to my internship, and I wasn’t at ease.

“On the bus, I was thinking what if some people are thinking ‘I’m not going to sit next to her because she’s black'? That’s what’s been going through my mind since Sunday.”

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