Traveller Law Database

Case Title Case Year Decision Making Body Keywords Long Case Title

A Prospective Customer v. A Hotel/Wedding Venue ADJ-00026881

2021 Workplace Relations Commission Discrimination, Refused Access to Goods and Services, Hotel, Wedding Venue, Extension of Time Limit, Section 21 of the Equal Status Acts, Article 15 of the EU Racial Equality Directive 2000/43/EC, ES1 form

A prospective customer contacted a hotel regarding her wedding reception. The hotel refused to engage or provide her with information after learning her surname, which identified her as a Traveller. The Workplace Relations Commission found that discrimination had occurred, and the prospective customer was awarded €15,000.

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Ann Stokes v. Atlantic Troy Limited Charleville Park Hotel & Leisure Club ADJ-00026051

2022 Workplace Relations Commission EU Directive 97/80/EC, Hotel, Discrimination, Section 3 of the Equal Status Acts, Statistical Comparison, Unemployment, Objectively Justified, Discrimination by Association.

A group of three Travellers arrived at a hotel, having booked online but were refused accommodation on arriving, on the ground that a credit card was required. This was found by the Workplace Relations Commission to be discriminatory because the financial requirements involved in having a credit card put members of the Traveller Community at a significant disadvantage in comparison to others. The hotel’s policy was not objectively justified.

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Annalise Power v. Atlantic Troy Limited Charleville Park Hotel & Leisure Club ADJ-00026060

2022 Workplace Relations Commission EU Directive 97/80/EC, Hotel, Discrimination, Section 3 of the Equal Status Acts, Statistical Comparison, Unemployment, Objectively Justified, Discrimination by Association.

A group of three Travellers arrived at a hotel, having booked online but were refused accommodation on arriving, on the ground that a credit card was required. This was found by the Workplace Relations Commission to be discriminatory because the financial requirements involved in having a credit card put members of the Traveller Community at a significant disadvantage in comparison to others. The hotel’s policy was not objectively justified.  

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Bridget Power v. Atlantic Troy Limited Charleville Park Hotel ADJ-00026062

2022 Workplace Relations Commission EU Directive 97/80/EC, Hotel, Discrimination, Section 3 of the Equal Status Acts, Statistical Comparison, Unemployment, Objectively Justified, Discrimination by Association.

A group of three Travellers arrived at a hotel, having booked online but were refused accommodation on arriving, on the ground that a credit card was required. This was found by the Workplace Relations Commission to be discriminatory because the financial requirements involved in having a credit card put members of the Traveller Community at a significant disadvantage in comparison to others. The hotel’s policy was not objectively justified.  

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Annie McDonagh v. Fiddler's Creek Bar, Sligo DEC-S2002-119

2002 Equality Tribunal Equal Status Act 2000, Direct Discrimination, Refused Service, Disposal of Goods and Supply of Services, Equality Tribunal

The complainant was refused service in the respondents’ premises, on the basis of her membership of the Traveller Community. The Workplace Relations Commission found this to amount to discrimination contrary to Section 3(1) and 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Act 2000.

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Caroline Maughan v. Poundland Limited Dealz ADJ-0002-6693

2022 Workplace Relations Commission Section 25 of the Equal Status Acts, Discrimination, Sale of Goods and Services, Retail

The Complainant was successful in her case before the Workplace Relations Commission regarding being refused goods and services on a discriminatory basis, based on her membership of the Traveller Community. 

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Catherine Dooley, Bridget Dooley & Margaret Dooley v. The Cutting Crew Hairdressing Salon, Cork DEC-S2002-023/024/025

2022 Equality Tribunal Burden of Proof Directive (Council Directive 97/80/EC), Discrimination, Discrimination by Association, Refusal of Service, Prima Facie Case

Catherine Dooley, Bridget Dooley, and Margaret Dooley claimed before the Equality Tribunal that they were refused service at Cutting Crew Hairdressing Salon on the basis of their status as members of the Traveller Community. The salon argued that they were denied service due to previous unacceptable behaviour at the premises. The Equality Officer concluded that the Dooleys failed to establish a prima facie case under the Equal Status Act 2000 and found in favour of the salon.

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Buckland v. The United Kingdom (Application no. 40060/08) 

2012 European Court of Human Rights Article 8 ECHR, Possession Order, Mobile Homes Act 1983 (U.K.), Housing Act 2004 (U.K.), Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (U.K.)

Ms Buckland argued that the fact that she was not able to challenge the making of a possession order amounted to a violation of her rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Court of Human Rights held that there was no mechanism for her to challenge the making of the possession order, this was not a proportionate interference with her right to respect for her home and thus was a violation of her rights under Article 8. 

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Buckley v. The United Kingdom (Application Number 20348/92)

1996 European Court of Human Rights Article 8 ECHR, Article 14 ECHR, Culturally Appropriate Accommodation, Discrimination, Legitimate Interference, Enforcement Order, Planning Permission, Caravan Sites Act 1968, Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Gypsy, Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Circular 01/94 - Gypsy Sites and Planning,

The Applicant, Ms. Buckley, argued that a refusal of planning permission to station her caravans on rural land she owned was contrary to her right to private and family life under Article 8 ECHR. The European Court of Human Rights found that there was no breach of Mrs Buckley’s rights. The Local Authority had justified reasons to interfere with the Applicant’s Article 8 rights and the UK had given adequate consideration of her special minority rights against the general interest of the community. Buckley was the first case ever initiated by a Gypsy applicant referred to the Court by the then European Commission of Human Rights.

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Chapman v. the United Kingdom (Application Number 27238/95)

2001 European Court of Human Rights Article 8 ECHR, Article 14 ECHR, Article 6 ECHR, evictions, Access to Justice, Discrimination, Planning Permission, Proportionality,Caravan Sites Act 1968, Town and Country Planning Act 1990

The applicant, Ms. Chapman, had purchased a piece of land and intended to live on it in a caravan. She was refused planning permission and challenged this under Article 8 and 14 ECHR. The European Court of Human Rights found that there was no violation of those Articles applying the precedent set by Buckley v The United Kingdom (Application Number 20348/92) .

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Winterstein & Ors v. France (Application Number 27013/07) 

2013 European Court of Human Rights Right to Housing, Eviction, Municipal Plan, Environmental Protection, Proportionality, France, Article 8 ECHR, Article 14 ECHR

This case concerned the eviction of ‘gens de voyage’ or Travellers from a long-term halting site. This was justified by the French local authority as a breach of their land-use plan and owing to a need to protect the landscape of the site upon which the Traveller applicants were residing. The European Court of Human Rights found a disproportionate violation of the right to respect for private and family life and home under Article 8 of the ECHR, due to the lack of consideration of the proportionality of the eviction’s effect. Winterstein is considered a key case for the development of the right to culturally appropriate accommodation under Article 8 ECHR.

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Edward O’ Reilly v The Dragon Inn Pub, Tallaght DEC-S2002-017

2002 Equality Tribunal  Equal Status Act 2000, Direct Discrimination, Refused Access to Goods and Services, Previous Conduct, Pub,

 The complainant was refused service in a pub and argues it was based on their membership of the Traveller Community.  He submitted a claim to the Equality Tribunal under the Equal Status Act 2000. The respondents argue it was based on his already having enough to drink invoking s.15 of the Act. Equality Officer found that the complainant was not discriminated against on the Traveller community ground contrary to Section 3(1) and 3(2)(i) of the Equal Status Act and in terms of Section 15(1) of that Act which permits service providers to refuse service where to not do so may lead to disorder. 

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Eileen Delaney, Hannah Carthy, Cathleen O’ Reilly and Margaret O’ Reilly v. Biddy Early’s, Kilkenny DEC-S2002-041-044

2002 Equality Tribunal Equal Status Act 2000, Direct Discrimination, Refusal of Service, Pub,

This dispute concerns a complaint by four complainants that they were discriminated against on the ground of being Irish Travellers contrary to the Equal Status Act, 2000 in being denied admission to the respondent premises.  The Equality Officer found that the complainants had established a clear case of discrimination on the ground of being Travellers within the Equal Status Act, 2000.

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Ethel Brooks v. The Commissioner of An Garda Síochána ADJ-00012145

2019 Circuit Court Equal Status Acts 2000, ES1 Form, An Garda Siochana, Roma, Circuit Court appeal,

This is a discrimination case taken by Romani Academic Professor Ethel Brooks against An Garda Siochana due to an interaction occurring at Dublin Airport. She brought the complaint to the WRC where it was dismissed for technical reasons but reached a settlement agreement in the Circuit Court. The case highlights the high burden existing within the current equality system regarding how and where to take a non-discrimination case within the restrictive criteria and rules before the WRC. Professor Brooks was supported by the European Roma Rights Centre and the Free Legal Advice Centre in taking her claim to the Circuit Court. 

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James McCarthy v. Cork City Council ADJ-00018849 

2020 Workplace Relations Commission Discrimination, Gender Discrimination, Refusal of Service, Local Authority, Housing, ES1 Form

The Complainant submitted a complaint against the Council to the WRC arguing discrimination on grounds of gender and membership of the Traveller Community in accessing housing under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018. The adjudicator found discrimination had occurred based on McCarthy’s membership of the Traveller Community, but not on gender grounds.

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Marina McCarthy v. Gurranabrahar Credit Union ADJ-00025710

2020 Workplace Relations Commission Equal Status Acts, Discrimination, Refusal of Service, Banking

Ms McCarthy submitted a claim of discrimination against a Credit Union under the Equal Status Act 2000, due to their withholding of a letter of loan refusal, and hostile treatment of her in the application process. The Workplace Relations Commission found that this treatment arising from her membership of the Traveller Community was contrary to the Equal Status Act.

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McDonagh v. Navan Hire Ltd. DEC-S2004-017. 

2004 Equality Tribunal Discrimination, Indirect Discrimination, Video Evidence, Permanent Address,

The Complainant argued before the Equality Tribunal that he was refused permission to hire equipment from Navan Hire Ltd, on the grounds that he is a member of the Traveller Community. This was in relation to his permanent address being a halting site. The Equality Officer found in favour of the Complainant and stated that the respondent had failed to rebut the claim of direct and indirect discrimination made against him.

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Mitchell v Southern Health Board [2001] 12 E.L.R. 201

2001 Other Quasi-Judicial Body Discrimination, Prima facie, Burden of Proof, Physician, Job Interview, Qualifications, Council Directive 97/80 on the Burden of Proof in Cases of Discrimination Based on Sex

Mitchel is considered key precedent within cases establishing whether a prima facie case of discrimination exists and thus requires a shift in the burden of proof in line with the Racial Equality Directive 2000/43/EC. This dispute concerns a claim by Dr. Mitchell that the Southern Health Board discriminated against her on the grounds of her sex in terms of Section 2(a) of the Employment Equality Act, 1977 and in contravention of Section 3(1) and (3) of the Act in relation to access to the permanent post of Consultant Physician/Endocrinologist The Labour Court found that she had not proven on the balance of probabilities any of the assertions on which her complaint was based, so that there was no prima facie case of discrimination. 

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Clare County Council v McDonagh & Anor [2022] IESC 2 

2022 Supreme Court Article 40.5, Article 8 ECHR, Constitution, Mandatory Interlocutory Injunction, Proportionality, County Council, Trespass, Planning, Housing Authority

The Supreme Court overturned an interlocutory injunction which would have vacated a Traveller family who were unlawfully occupying a Council site. The decision was based on a proportionality assessment that hadn’t been performed by the lower Courts, and due to the protections offered by Article 45 of the Constitution and Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights. 

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Connors v United Kingdom Judgment (Application no. 66746/01)  

2004 European Court of Human Rights Right to respect for private and family life, City Council

The complainant, a Gypsy argued that the powers of eviction of local authorities amounted to illegitimate interference with Article 8, 6, 13 and Article 1 Protocol 1 ECHR. The European Court of Human Rights found that the UK government violated the Applicant’s right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights as a result of the respondent’s eviction procedures on halting sites.  

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Doherty & anor v South Dublin County Council & ors [2007] IEHC 4 

2007 High Court Culturally Appropriate Accommodation, Judicial Review, ECHR, Statutory Interpretation, Article 8 ECHR, Housing Act 1966,

This judicial review focused on whether State parties were obliged to provide the applicants, as members of the Traveller Community, with a new serviced caravan, rather than accommodation consisting of bricks and mortar. The Court found in favour of the respondents, deeming the offer of temporary accommodation in bricks and mortar sufficiently reasonable in the circumstances. In relation to the operation of the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 the court also found that it did not create new legal norms justiciable outside the Equality system framework established to deal with complaints.

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A Minor v. Atlantic Troy Limited T/A Charleville Park Hotel ADJ-00020727    

2022 Workplace Relations Commission Traveller, Housing Assistance, Social Welfare, Hotel, Accommodation, Credit Card, Discrimination, Amended Complaint, Leisure Facilities. 

A family were refused emergency hotel accommodation on the basis that the person who booked could not pay by credit card. The Workplace Relations Commission found this refusal to be a device to deny accommodation on two grounds that the persons received Housing Assistance and that they were members of the Traveller Community, contrary to sections 3(b) and 6 of the Equal Status Act 2000. 

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Anne Joyce v Michael Ryan Funeral Directors DEC-S2014-012 

2014 Workplace Relations Commission Discrimination, Refusal of Service, Funeral,

Anne Joyce brought a complaint against Michael Ryan Funeral Directors on the basis that they refused to facilitate the wake of her deceased son due to her status as an Irish Traveller. The Funeral Directors argued that Ms Joyce was refused service as it was against their policy to rent out the funeral home in the manner she requested. The Equality Officer found Ms Joyce’s evidence to be more credible and awarded her €6,384 in compensation for the distress caused.  

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C & Ors v. Galway County Council [2017] IEHC 784  

2017 High Court Article 8 ECHR, Emergency Accommodation, Educational Needs, Constitutional Rights, Accommodation, Right to Education

This case concerned an application to the High Court to quash a decision to cease emergency accommodation following a refusal of an offer for transitional accommodation. The High Court held that the applicant failed to establish grounds for the reversal of the decision.  

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Eileen Delaney, Hannah Carthy, Cathleen O'Reilly and Margaret O'Reilly v The Kil

2002 Equality Tribunal Indirect Discrimination, Refusal of Service, Burden of Proof,

The complainants were refused service in seven different premises on the 19th January 2001 in Kilkenny City on the ground that they are members of the Traveller Community. The publican denies these claims. The Equality Officer found under Section 3 of the Equal Status Act 2000 that a prima facie case of discrimination had occurred in the cases of three out of the four women present.  

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Hirtu and others v. France (Application no. 24720/13) 

2020 European Court of Human Rights Right to Privacy, Discrimination, Roma people, ECHR Article 3, ECHR Article 8, ECHR Article 13

The Roma applicants claimed that their enforced evictions from a camp where they had been residing for six months breached Art 3 (Freedom from Inhuman or Degrading Treatment), Art 8 (Right to Private and Family life), and Art 13 (Effective Remedy). The Court ruled that although there had been no breach of Article 3, there had been a violation of Articles 8, and 13 owing to the absence of a proportionality assessment of the evictions. The ECtHR further finding a breach of Article 13 owing to the applicants’ inability to obtain a judicial review of the domestic decisions. 

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Bridget O’Reilly v. Atlantic Troy Limited T/A Charleville Park Hotel ADJ-00020724  

2022 Workplace Relations Commission Housing Assistance, Social Welfare, Hotel, Accommodation, Credit Card,

A family were refused emergency hotel accommodation on the basis that the person who booked could not pay by credit card. The Workplace Relations Commission found this refusal to be a device to deny accommodation on two grounds that the persons received Housing Assistance and that they were members of the Traveller Community, contrary to sections 3(b) and 6 of the Equal Status Act 2000. 

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Philip O'Neill v. Atlantic Troy Limited T/A Charleville Park Hotel ADJ-00020725 

2022 Workplace Relations Commission Housing Assistance, Social Welfare, Hotel, Accommodation, Credit Card,

A family were refused emergency hotel accommodation on the basis that the person who booked could not pay by credit card. The Workplace Relations Commission found this refusal to be a device to deny accommodation on two grounds that the persons received Housing Assistance and that they were members of the Traveller Community, contrary to sections 3(b) and 6 of the Equal Status Act 2000. 

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Clare County Council v Bernard McDonagh and Helen McDonagh [2020] IECA 307 

2020 Court of Appeal Accommodation, Interlocutory Injunction, Mandatory Interlocutory Injunction, Traveller Specific Accommodation, Trespass, Article 8 ECHR

This is an appeal against an order made in the High Court (Clare County Council v. McDonagh [2019] IEHC 662). The Judge concluded that the appellants failed to establish any basis on which they could conclude that the High Court Judge erred in granting the interlocutory reliefs sought by the Council and refused the claims advanced by the appellants.  

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Clare County Council v Bernard McDonagh and Helen McDonagh [2021] IECA 140 

2021 Court of Appeal Appeal, Court of Appeal, Accommodation, Trespass, Local Authority,

This is a judgment as to costs of the Court of Appeal judgment delivered on 12 November 2020. The Judge concluded that all orders of the High Court stand and ordered that the costs of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal be made against Bernard and Helen McDonagh.   

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Clare County Council v. McDonagh [2019] IEHC 662 

2019 High Court Traveller Specific Accommodation, Trespass, Housing, Local Authority, Injunction, Estoppel,

The defendants claimed before the High Court that Clare Co. Co. had a statutory duty to provide them with accommodation after their accommodation became inhabitable due to an arson attack. The defendants case was based on a misunderstanding of allocation of public funding by Clare Co. Co. and so the counterclaim was dismissed by the Court 

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