JUDGEMENT RESERVED IN CASE OF POPPY WEARING FAMILY BANNED FROM BAR

Northern Whig pub had to apologise over Poppy snub to former policeman

Northern Whig pub had to apologise over Poppy snub to former policeman

A BELFAST city centre pub is in the dock for refusing a former security member entry into its pub because he was wearing a poppy.

Former police Ted Cooke is suing the Norther Whig put in Bridge street for discrimination.

Mr Cooke was with his wife and daughter when he was refused entry in November last year.

Belfast Recorder’s Court heard Northern Whig security staff refused to let them in because they were wearing remembrance poppies.

As a result, Mr Cooke has brought a civil claim,  backed by the Equality Commission, against Botanic Inns Ltd, the pub chain that owned the Northern Whig at the time but which is now in administration.

Lawyers argued that being turned away from the bar constituted indirect discrimination.

It was contended that the poppy is an emblem mainly worn by one part of the community in Northern Ireland.

The actions of the door staff responsible were discriminatory under the Fair Employment and Treatment Order, according to their case.

Following further legal submissions, judgement in the case was reserved.

After the incident last November, the Northern Whig was forced to apologise over the incident.

In a message posted on Facebook, management apologised for what was referred to as an “error”.

“We would like to assure everyone that this is not the policy of the Northern Whig and that all our patrons are more than welcome to wear a poppy whilst visiting the Whig,” the post said.

“We have now made sure that all staff are aware of our policy and today’s earlier mistake will not happen again.”

The management added that the situation was due to a member of agency door staff, who had “only recently started working with us”, failing to seek clarification on the bar’s policy regarding poppies.

The apology received more than 850 ‘likes’ from Facebook users in just five hours and many added comments expressing anger at what had happened.

“I would like to assure you that we at the Northern Whig do not discriminate in any way and are more than happy to have any of our patrons wear the poppy as a sign of remembrance,” the post added.

It is not the first time the Northern Whig has had to apologise.

It previously said sorry in November 2009 over a similar incident.

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