THE owner of the Pontins holiday park chain has entered into a legal agreement with the human rights watchdog after it was revealed they had been using a list of “undesirable” surnames to target minorities.

An Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) investigation found that the list, which included names such as Lee, Stokes, and McHarg, had been used to block people from booking a place at the holiday parks.

Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited is now working with the EHRC to prevent racial discrimination after a Pontins employee said the holiday park company was operating a discriminatory bookings policy.

The EHRC verified the claims and said practices included a list of Irish surnames published on its intranet page, with staff required to block potential customers with those names from booking.

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It said staff monitored calls and refused or cancelled bookings made by people with an Irish accent or surname, and Pontins’ commercial vehicle policy excluded Gypsies and Travellers from its holiday parks.

By declining to provide its services to guests of a certain race or ethnic group, Pontins was “directly discriminating on the basis of race” and breached the 2010 Equality Act, the EHRC said.

The list, published originally by iNews, is topped with a cartoon referencing the Lord of the Rings character Gandalf along with his famous line “You shall not pass”.

It states: “Please be aware that several guests are unwelcome at Pontins, however some of these will still try and book - especially during school holidays.”

Staff are urged by the document to block anyone from a long list of names from booking at the parks. It says that, if they are unsure, they should flag a manager who will guide them through the process.

The names on the list include but are not limited to: Boyle, Carr, Cash, Connors, Doherty, Gallagher, Horan, Lee, McCully, McGinn, Murphy, Nolan, O’Brien, O’Reilly, Stokes, and Ward.

Reacting to the news, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf hit out at the “corporate racism”.

He tweeted: “No ifs, no buts, this is corporate racism, pure and simple.

“Anti-traveller, anti-Roma and anti-Irish racism still very much an issue in 2021, shameful.”

Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited said it was working to enhance its staff training and procedures to further promote equality throughout the business.

Alastair Pringle, EHRC executive director, said: “It is hard not to draw comparisons with an undesirable guests list and the signs displayed in hotel windows 50 years ago, explicitly barring Irish people and black people.

“Banning people from services based on their race is discrimination and is unlawful. To say that such policies are outdated is an understatement.

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“It is right to challenge such practices and any business that believes this is acceptable should think again before they find themselves facing legal action.

“We will continue to work with Pontins and Britannia Jinky Jersey to ensure that our agreement is adhered to and its practices improve.”

A spokesperson from Britannia Jinky Jersey said: “Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited has agreed to work together with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to further enhance its staff training and procedures in order to further promote equality throughout its business.”

As part of the agreement, Pontins must investigate the “undesirable guests” list, take appropriate action and ensure lessons are learned.

It must commission a review into its booking and commercial vehicle policy and consider any recommendations, and provide equality and diversity training for staff each year.

If it does not adhere to these terms, the EHRC can launch a full investigation.