Pontins used list of 'undesirable' Irish names to keep Travellers out of holiday park

  • Rupert Evelyn has the latest

Pontins made a list of 'undesirable guests' which included common Irish surnames in a bid to prevent Traveller families from booking.

The company, which has holiday parks in Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-super-Mare, has now signed a legal agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to prevent racial discrimination.

The discriminatory practices were brought to the attention of EHRC by a whistleblower within Pontins.

The EHRC found the company was monitoring calls to its contact centre and refusing or cancelling any bookings that were made by people with an Irish accent or surname.

Staff were required to block any potential guests from a list of Irish surnames, published on its intranet page, titled ‘undesirable guests’.

Pontins Holiday Park at Brean Sands in Burnham-on-Sea Credit: ITV News

Alastair Pringle, Executive Director at the EHRC, said “It is hard not to draw comparisons with an ‘undesirable guests’ list and the signs displayed in hotel windows 50 years ago, explicitly barring Irish people and Black people. Banning people from services based on their race is discrimination and is unlawful. To say that such policies are outdated is an understatement.

“It is right to challenge such practices and any business that believes this is acceptable should think again before they find themselves facing legal action. We will continue to work with Pontins and Britannia Jinky Jersey to ensure that our agreement is adhered to and its practices improve.”

A spokesperson from Britannia Jinky Jersey, the company which owns Pontins, said “Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited has agreed to work together with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to further enhance its staff training and procedures in order to further promote equality throughout its business.”

As part of the legal agreement, Pontins must:

  • Conduct an investigation into the ‘Undesirable guests’ list to ensure appropriate action is taken within the organisation and that lessons are learned;

  • Commission a review of its current intelligence system, booking policies and commercial vehicle policy to ensure they are not operating in a discriminatory way, and consider any recommendations;

  • Provide enhanced training on equality law for staff in its Human Resources team and members of Senior Management;

  • Provide training on equality and diversity for all customer facing staff on an annual basis;

  • Appoint Equality, Diversity and Inclusion champions across the organisation.

Read more: