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Revealed: The full list of Irish surnames on Pontins ‘blacklist’

The holiday park was found to have engaged in ‘shocking discrimination’ by the UK human rights watchdog

Alexander Butler
Thursday 15 February 2024 19:55 GMT

The full list of surnames on a holiday park’s “blacklist” has been released as the company was found to have engaged in “shocking overt race discrimination”.

Pontins was found to have instructed staff to decline or cancel bookings made by people suspected of being Irish Travellers by referring to a list of banned surnames, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

It comes after a whistleblower originally revealed the discriminatory practices, having shared the list of “undesirable guests” with the EHRC in 2020.

Pontins has now been served with an unlawful act notice and must, by law, produce an action plan to set out how it intends to meet the EHRC’s recommendations.

The black list included over 30 common Irish surnames like O’Donnell, Carr, Gallagher and MacLaughlin. The full set of names are below:

  • Boylan
  • Boyle
  • Carney
  • Carr
  • Cash
  • Connors
  • Corcoran
  • Delaney
  • Doherty
  • Dorran
  • Gallagher
  • Horan
  • Keefe
  • Kell
  • Leahy
  • Lee
  • MacLaughlin
  • McAlwick
  • McCully
  • McDonagh
  • McGinley
  • McGinn
  • McGuiness
  • McHarg
  • McLaughan
  • McMahon
  • Millighan
  • Mongans
  • Murphy
  • Nolan
  • O’Brien
  • O’Connell
  • O’Donnell
  • O’Donoghue
  • O’Mahoney
  • O’Reilly
  • Sheriadan
  • Stokes
  • Walch
  • Ward

Pontins, owned by Britannia Jinky Jersey Ltd, also introduced a policy in 2018, which required guests to be on the electoral roll, a practice that was found to be discriminatory against Gypsies and Travellers, as people from these communities are far less likely to be registered to vote.

The EHRC has now ordered the firm to issue a public apology to the Gypsy and Traveller communities and introduce equality training, with a deadline for an action plan given as 9 April – otherwise Pontins could face criminal charges.

Pontins operated discriminatory practices against Irish Travellers and must change and apologise, the human rights watchdog has said (Alamy/PA)

Commenting on the investigation, Baroness Falkner said: “The discrimination faced by Irish Travellers, and other members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, has no place in 21st-century Britain. The impact of the discrimination faced by those who were refused bookings at Pontins cannot be overstated. People told us that the experience was ‘painful’ and made them feel ‘dehumanised’.

“As the equality regulator for Great Britain, it is our mission to ensure people are treated equally and fairly. Our investigation, with the help of a brave whistleblower, has shown that Pontins comprehensively failed to treat its customers equally and fairly. At the Equality and Human Rights Commission, we will always challenge such discrimination.

“Pontins broke the law. Pontins must now put right their wrongs. We will continue to hold them, and others who think they are above the law, to account.”

A spokesperson for Pontins said: “We are in the process of reviewing the unlawful act notice and investigation report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The specific incidents reported by the EHRC are historic issues, pre-dating 2018.

“The call centre where the incidents took place has now closed and the majority of the staff involved have now left Pontins. We apologise to all who may have been affected. Pontins is committed to ensuring ongoing compliance with the Equality Act 2010.”

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