One of Britain’s largest campsite operators was chosen on Tuesday to set up a secret blacklist aimed at curbing access to Irish travelers. The Pontins, which operate five campuses in England and one in Wales, leaked the Equality Commission and Human Rights (EHRC) list in February 2020 after a whistleblower at the company.
The list of “unwanted” holidays, which include common family names in the Irish traveler community, was roaming internally in the Pontins, instructing booking agents: “We don’t want these customers”.
EHRC Executive Director Alastair Pringle said the list was reminiscent of the 1950s era in Britain when some landlords rented rooms and warned: “No Black, No Irish”. “To say that such policies are outdated is an understanding,” Pringle said in a statement. “Any business that thinks it is acceptable must give some consideration before prosecuting itself,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the British government supported the EHRC’s action, describing the allegations against Pontins as “completely unacceptable”. “No one in Britain should be discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity,” he said.
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The EHRC said on Tuesday that it had signed a “legally binding agreement” with Britannia Jinky Jersey Ltd., the parent company of Pontins, forcing the company to change its booking system and appoint diversity managers. “Britannia Jinky Jersey Ltd. has agreed to work with the Commission for the EHRC to further improve the training and procedures of its employees to promote equality in all its functions,” said a spokesperson for the Pontins .
If the Pontins do not implement the necessary changes, the group risks being the subject of further investigation and possible legal action under the Equality Act.
Irish travelers also form a nomadic community outside Ireland, from which they draw their origins, most notably in the United Kingdom and the United States.
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