The civil suit was brought on the grounds of discrimination by the Irish Traveller Movement against McSorleys night club, College St, Killarney, at Killarney District Court.
The women said they felt they were turned away from the event for Aware because they were members of the Travelling community. They arrived with tickets but “an Irish bouncer” insisted no such event was taking place.
McSorleys claimed the women were refused entry because they were unsteady on their feet; that the nightclub had no policy of discrimination against Travellers and some 30 members of the Travelling community were at the event.
Solicitor Eoin Brosnan said owner Pat Sheahan had a clean record going back 18 years in the licensed trade and no such claim had been taken against him before.
Mother of three Margaret Rose O’Neill, aged 24, of Forrest Close, Killarney, said she had lost her husband in 2010 to suicide and members of her extended family had also died in this way.
Aware had supported her and she always contributed.
She bought €10 tickets to the event for Aware, held at the nightclub on Feb 15, 2013. One of the tickets was for her friend Linda Mongan, who had lost her husband to suicide just 10 weeks previously. Linda’s sister also decided to go.
At around 11pm when the three approached the doors of the nightclub and gave the tickets to a man, he said: “There’s nothing going on here tonight.” Other people were going in with tickets for the event.
“I told him I lost my husband to suicide. He laughed at us. He actually laughed at us. I was very, very hurt. I felt mentally abused, I felt so hurt.”
Ms O’Neill, who does not drink, called gardaí but was told it was a civil matter.
Linda Mongan, aged 23, a mother of one of Hazelwood Drive, Killarney, had not been drinking. Being turned away had “a shocking” effect on her.
Nightclub owner Mr Sheahan said pre-drinking was a big issue in the nightclub and pub trade and security staff were vigilant about intoxicated people in the interests of safety.
After two and a half hours of evidence, and hearing the judge was deferring a decision to allow the bouncer to be called, solicitor Eoin Brosnan said his client would meet the claim.
Judge Kelleher awarded each woman €1,000 in compensation and costs.