Women object to Limerick hotel's public dance licence

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

The Kilmurry Lodge Hotel

The Kilmurry Lodge Hotel

TWO women whose partners are Travellers have failed in their objection against the renewal of a public dance licence by a city hotel.

Elizabeth McNamara and Hazel Hackett objected to the application by Kilmurray Lodge Hotel Ltd claiming they had been discriminated against because of the company they were in when they arrived at the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel earlier this year.

Solicitor Darach McCarthy said it was his client’s case that the company is “not of good character” and is therefore unfit to hold a licence given what happened. 

Judge David Waters was told the company is the licencee and that it operates a licenced premises at the popular hotel in Castletroy.

In her evidence, Ms McNamara said she made a reservation through hotels.com to stay at the hotel on the night of February 25, last.

The booking, the court heard, was for three rooms and related to three couples.

Ms McNamara told Mr McCarthy that one of the couples were married earlier in the day and that it was the intention of all six people to “go to the hotel to avail of dinner and drinks as residents”.

Ms McNamara said having arrived at the hotel at around 4pm, a diffculty arose which resulted in the hotel cancelling the booking and a full refund being issued.

She claimed she was told by a member of staff that the booking was not coming up on the system and that there were no available rooms at the hotel.

Solicitor Gearóid McGann, representing the respondent company, said his client was not disputing that the booking had been made but said the reason for the cancellation was that none of the guests had a valid credit card which was required by the hotel.

Receptionist Anna Hanczur confirmed the booking had been uploaded to the hotel’s computer system and that she had followed hotel policy by asking each of the women to fill out individual guest registration cards before handing over the room keys.

She said she also requested a valid credit card to “secure the  booking” in accordance with procedure.

“Once we have a swiped the credit card, it allows customers to charge any extras – such as food,” she said.

Mr McCarthy put it to the witness that a “fiction was created” to avoid having to allow his clients into the hotel after the identity of their partners was established.

He said while neither of the objectors are members of “an ethnic minority” they believe they were refused entry because of the company they were in.

“I feel we were discriminated against due to the ethnicity of the people we were with,” said Ms Hackett.

Duty manager Anthony  Walsh rejected this assertion saying he was unaware who the women were with as the three men had remained in the car park and had not come into the hotel.

“I never met these ladies before, I didn’t know who they were. I never saw their partners, I didn’t see who was or wasn’t with them,” he said.

Mr Walsh said he had been called to reception on the day as none of the women had a valid credit card – an assertion which was disputed by Ms McNamara.

“I did have a credit card, I had the one which was used to make the booking,” she said

Later, Ms Hackett said the card was in the name of Ms McNamara’s partner and that it was in her handbag.

Mr Walsh confirmed that he had contacted hotels.com to cancel the booking as the women were anxious they would receive a refund.

Dismissing the objection, Judge Waters said there was a “direct conflict” as to what had happened and what was said when the women arrived at the hotel and that he was not satisfied to refuse the application.