Today, an investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that Pontins holiday parks used a blacklist titled “Undesirable Guests” and made up of mostly Irish surnames, to refuse bookings by Gypsies and Travellers.
The list, seen by i News, was given to call handlers to identify potential holidaymakers as “unwelcome”, as well as monitoring calls and refusing or cancelling bookings made by some people with Irish accents.
Speaking about the Pontins blacklist, Sarah Mann, Director at Friends, Families and Travellers:
“Prejudice and discrimination towards Gypsy and Traveller people is alive and thriving in society. It is shameful that Pontins have acted in this way for so long before they were stopped. We know from our helpline that they are not the only holiday camp who have these practices. Our thanks go to the Pontin’s whistleblower for doing the right thing and to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for using their powers. We all have a choice when we see discrimination – to stand by or to challenge it. Nobody should be treated differently because of their ethnicity.”
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gypsies, Travellers and Roma said:
“As a human being, as a Docherty, as Co-chair of the APPG on Gypsies, Travellers and Roma and Vice Chair of the Irish in Britain APPG – I am utterly appalled by this discriminatory policy. For many Gypsies and Travellers, the experience of prejudice is a daily one, and the exposure of this policy highlights the entrenched racism that exists. In this instance, the discriminatory policy is plain to see, but there will be countless other yet to be exposed. We commend the Equality and Human Rights Commission on challenging this and to the whistle-blower who stepped forward. May this be a warning shot across the bow to others who uphold this last bastion of racism.”
Notes for Editor
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.
Sami McLaren, Communications Officer
Tel: 07436 228910 Email: [email protected]
‘Pontins used blacklist of common Irish surnames to keep Traveller families out of holiday parks’. i News. March 2021. Read here.