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Hotel cleared over Traveller discrimination

DUBLIN'S West County Hotel has been cleared by a judge of discriminating against a Traveller mum who wanted to hold a christening party for her new baby.

Judge Mary Collins said she would have no hesitation in compensating Anne Marie Grogan in a breach of contract action but she could not, on evidence before her, label the hotel as having discriminated against her.

Ms Grogan, of The Steeples, Chapelizod, Dublin, told barrister Fran Rooney in the District Court that she had waited for three years for her first baby and wanted to celebrate the christening.

She had booked a function room up to near midnight on Friday, July 31 last for at least 50 with a bar, finger food, a cake and blue-for-a-boy balloons, decorations and napkins.


When she had revealed the christening would be carried out by priest to the travelling community, Father Derek of the Oblate Fathers in Inchicore, she said the hotel manager's attitude had changed.

He had ruled out having a bar in the function room and had confined the function from 5pm to 7pm. She had cancelled the party because she believed she was being discriminated against as a member of the travelling community.

Hotel Manager Gary Spain said the booking stated the christening would take place in Chapelizod Church and he knew they did not do christenings on Fridays. The Oblate Fathers had confirmed they were doing it in Inchicore.

He said it would have been uneconomic to have opened a bar for 50 in the function room. He had telephoned Ms Grogan for further details so he could put names of the mother, the baby and the priest on a welcome board.

Mr Spain said there had been no question of discriminating against her. He offered accommodation and a drinks service between five and seven but she had cancelled her booking through her solicitor.

Judge Collins, dismissing Ms Grogan's case, said she had a civil claim for breach of contract to be heard in May. It would be too much of a leap, however, to hold there had been discrimination under the Equal Status Act.