A Traveller woman who not allowed enter a hotel restaurant or bar during her stay at Treacy’s West County Hotel in Ennis, Co Clare, has lost her discrimination case against the hotel.
At Ennis District Court, Judge Mary Larkin dismissed the discrimination case taken by Rose Joyce against Timbertoes Ltd, trading as Treacy’s West County Hotel.
Currently, the hotel’s conference centre is the HSE's Covid-19 vaccination centre for the county.
Ms Joyce, of St Enda’s, Beechpark, Ennis, told the court that she was discriminated against because she is a Traveller when she was refused a drink at the hotel bar during a four-night stay in December 2019.
Ms Joyce stated that Clare County Council had booked the family in for the four nights after an electricity box went at their Ennis council home.
Judge Larkin, however, dismissed Ms Joyce’s claim after saying the hotel’s refusal to serve her a drink was not connected to her being a Traveller but was connected to her being previously barred from the hotel.
The judge stated that during the previous episode from 2018, Ms Joyce tried to impugn the reputation of a security guard at the hotel when she claimed that the man tried to interfere with a baby who was with her.
He said that Ms Joyce didn’t have the full use of the hotel in December 2019 because she was barred at the time from the 2018 incident.
"I am absolutely satisfied Ms Joyce knew that she barred from the hotel and absolutely satisfied that the hotel was within its rights to say to her ‘listen you can’t come into the public area’ and I’m not satisfied that this was made because she is a Traveller."
In evidence, the owner of the hotel, Patrick Treacy, told the court that concerning the prior 2018 incident, Ms Joyce pushed a baby against a security guard and claimed that the security guard had touched the baby.
He stated that gardaí checked CCTV footage of the incident and could see no evidence of the security guard touching the baby.
Mr Treacy said as a result of the incident, he made a decision to bar Rose Joyce from the hotel.
The December 2019 booking was taken by a member of staff from Clare County Council for Ms Joyce and her children. Mr Treacy stated that it was only realised after Ms Joyce’s first night at the hotel that she was in fact barred and the hotel told the council this and that she couldn't remain.
Mr Treacy stated that the hotel did allow Ms Joyce remain but on condition that she have no access to the public areas, such as the restaurant and the bar, and must stay in the confines of her room and go in and out of the hotel.
Mr Treacy said that the hotel “was not going to leave them on the street but we were very clear that she can’t use any of the hotel”.
The Joyce family stayed at the hotel for the four nights.
Judge Larkin didn’t award costs against Ms Joyce, saying: "I don’t intend to make matters worse than they already are for her."