Limerick publican set to stand pint to Traveller following legal action

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Email:

normap@limerickleader.ie

Limerick publican set to stand pint to Traveller following legal action

A LIMERICK publican has been asked to invite two members of the Harty family to his pub and stand them a drink.

But delivering her reserved judgement at Newcastle West court, Judge Mary Larkin found that the publican had not discriminated against Christy Harty of  Assumpta Park Newcastle West.

Mr Harty had sued Eamon O’Neill, the owner of Hallinans Bar, Askeaton claiming he had refused to serve him last July 29 because he was a member  of the Traveller community and was in breach of the Equal Status Act 2000.

A relative of Christy Harty, who was with him on that day, also brought a claim of discrimination but that case was dismissed at a hearing in March.

In her judgement last week, Judge Larkin noted there had been a previous altercation involving Harty family members on the same premises, following which some members of the family had been barred.

She noted too that on the evening in question, Christy Harty and his relative had come from another bar.

“He (Eamon O’Neill) was concerned they were drinking somewhere else which he is entitled to do,” the judge said.

She also noted: “Mr O’Neill in his evidence said he felt intimidated. He felt the necessity to protect his customers and himself.”

Mr Harty, she said,  was not refused because he was a member of the Traveller community but because of his association with the Harty family, a family that “had been associated with certain events leading to violence in the locality”.

Judge Larkin also noted Mr O’Neill’s evidence that he “does serve members of the Traveller community”.

She was not going to convict, she said. She asked Mr O’Neill to invite Christy Harty and the other man to have a drink in his bar  and to pay for them.

“That will prove to the court he has no prejudice as is being alleged here.”

Mr O’Neill said he was prepared to do as she asked.

Following the conclusion of the case, the judge made no order as to costs.