A chain of British holiday parks kept an “undesirable guests” list of surnames in an attempt to keep out members of the Irish Traveller community, the UK equalities watchdog said yesterday.
The list kept by Pontins, which was displayed on a staff intranet site, contained about 40 largely Irish names, including Cash, Delaney, Gallagher, Murphy and O’Brien. News of the list was broken by the i newspaper.
Pontins’ owner has entered into a legal agreement with the human rights watchdog after a whistleblower revealed it was using an “undesirable guests” list to exclude Gypsies and Travellers.
Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited is working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to prevent racial discrimination after a Pontins employee said the holiday park company was operating a discriminatory bookings policy.
The EHRC verified the claims and said practices included a list of Irish surnames with staff required to block potential customers with those names from booking.
It said staff monitored calls and refused or cancelled bookings made by 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.
Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited said it was working to enhance its staff training and procedures to further promote equality throughout the business.