[Sinn Fein]

18 October 2002

`Blanket Ban' pub licenses should not be renewed - Ó Snodaigh

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice, Equality, and Human Rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has deplored the Westport District Court s decision to allow the license renewal for a pub that enforced a ``blanket ban''on Travellers, in open defiance of the equality law.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``I believe that the Licensing Court must consider both violations and open defiance of the Equal Status Act to be grounds for a publican s license not to be renewed. I commend the Mayo Travellers Support Group for standing up in court to challenge the blanket ban practice and to assert Travellers equal rights under the law.

``The Minister for Justice has assured me that he will not legislate for exemptions from equality legislation. I welcome his statement. However, I believe that the Minister needs to send a much stronger signal that open defiance of the Equal Status Act will not be tolerated.''

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