WHEN Cambridgeshire based Irish Post reader Paddy McEvoy learnt of the Pontins anti-Irish blacklist he was so incensed by the firm's discriminatory policy that he felt compelled to write a letter.
In it, he reminds the shamed holiday park - which was investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) after a whistleblower revealed it had a list of 40 common Irish surnames which were barred from booking holidays - that it had 'not only shot yourself in the foot, you have blown your toes off'.
Read the letter in full below...
Dear Pontins, I am Irish.
I searched in vain for my name on your blacklist but couldn’t find it, probably because it wasn’t there.
Well I say it wasn’t there but it really was, because the purpose of the blacklist was to keep a certain type of Irish person out.
So my name might as well have been on it because it still succeeded in keeping me and thousands of others out.
Now, I’m not a regular at Pontins. In fact, I’ve never been to Pontins.
But I’m writing this to let you know that not only shall I never pass the portals of any Pontins, but I shall exhort all the Irish people I know to give picky Pontins a wide berth.
You see, you would have been more honest to go the whole hog, come clean and stick up: ‘No Tinkers, No Travellers, No Irish’ signs and have done with it, rather than the ham-fisted way you went about trying to bar a certain element of Irish.
Then we would have been clear about where we all stand with regard to the patronising welcome we ‘passable’ Irish might expect at the Portentous Pleasure-Packed Pontins Party.
Can you imagine what it would be like for Irish people arriving at a Pontins in the future? ‘You’re OK because you’re the right sort of Irish. You’re not one of those awful Murphys, or Delaneys, or McMahons or…’. What a welcome!
What sort of Irish person, or decent English/Welsh/Scots person would feel relaxed about such a sectarian selection process?
What sort of Irish person could or would feel at home under such circumstances, giving the Judas look to thousands of their fellow Irish people?
Why not hang a large Shamrock around their neck on arrival and plonk on a leprechaun hat, when they have passed the nomenclature assessment, just to prove they are kosher, ‘one of us’, and not the untermenschen on the banned list?
You have not only shot yourselves in the foot, Pontins, you have blown your toes off.
I’ve no doubt you get some tricky types occasionally, (and not all Irish, I’ll bet), but that’s what happens when you run a huxter outfit offering cheap and cheerful £59 holidays.
It’s your business to deal with matters arising, but to alienate a whole nation and all those others who will now refuse to stay at one of your discriminatory resorts is something you won’t live down for a long time.
Nor should you. It’s your Ratner moment.
The bright side is that you will have an influx of the ‘right sort’ of holidaymakers, who will choose Pontins in the certain expectation of not meeting any pesky Irish with funny names. (Remind them to bring their Union Jack underwear and their ‘Get Brexit Done’ banners with them.) What a blast that will be.
Shame I’ll be missing all the fun.