Irish traveller wins £1,500 compensation after claiming discrimination when pub landlady refused to serve him

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

This is the moment an Irish man claims he was told he wasn’t being served in a Bristol pub because he was a traveller.

Michael McDonagh, 28, was refused a drink by Wendy Buck when he went into The Pegasus pub and filmed himself asking her for an explanation.

He can be heard explaining he had been to the pub “hundreds” of times before and claimed he had “never caused any problems”.

Mrs Buck claimed she barred him because she thought he had been involved in a fight at the Bristol boozer 15 months earlier and not because he was a traveller.

But at the end of the conversation he asked her: “Are you saying you’re not allowing travellers in this pub?” and she replied: “We’re not allowing travellers in this pub.”

The traveller community is protected under the Equality Act 2010 and McDonagh said refusing to serve him was based on discrimination.

Wendy Buck was filmed refusing to serve traveller Michael McDonagh at the Pegasus pub in Bristol (SWNS)

He took the case to Bristol Civil Court which has now ruled in his favour and won him £1,500 in compensation.

It found that he was discriminated against directly by Mrs Buck and vicariously by the company that owned the pub in Southmead, Bristol.

The court added that there was no ‘anti travellers’ policy at the pub so there was no need for an injunction stopping it.

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Mrs Buck was ordered to pay McDonagh £1,500 damages within 21 days and £365 court costs.

The three-minute altercation between the pair in November 2015 showed McDonagh ask Mrs Buck 18 times if he was being banned because he was traveller.

Deputy District Judge Chris Whiteley said: “McDonagh was persistent in raising it, no fewer than 18 times. Clearly he was trying to get Mrs Buck to agree with him.

Mrs Buck claimed she barred Mr McDonagh because she thought he had been involved in a fight (SWNS)

“Mrs Buck denies him being a traveller [was] the reason – once directly and twice by implication.

“She admits it is the reason once and the other 14 times she doesn’t respond or is unclear.

“It didn’t look to me like an attempt to get rid of Mr McDonagh but rather to avoid dealing with what was primarily on her mind.

“Mr McDonagh was persistent, not unreasonably so – he was entitled to an explanation. He was persistent but he was not aggressive or violent.”

The company that owned the pub was found to have vicariously discriminated against Mr McDonagh (SWNS)

Mrs Buck claimed Mr McDonagh was being a “persistent nuisance” and she only agreed with him to make him go away as she felt threatened.

But the judge said he found her answers were inconsistent.

The judge said she failed to deny she was barring Mr McDonagh because he was a traveller a number of times.

After the trial Mr McDonagh’s lawyer Will Stone from the Avon and Bristol Law Centre said: “I’m happy.

“The fact that Mr McDonagh had to wait two years in this case is a shame but he did get a result and it shows that you shouldn’t put up with discrimination.”