22/06/2023 0 Comments
The claimant was at Emerald Park, formerly known as Tayto Park the amusement centre, and sought priority to skip a queue because of her disability. She showed the operators her disability driver’s badge, her driver’s license for an adapted car and her Public Services Card but could not find medical correspondence to prove to their satisfaction that she had an ‘inability to queue’.
She claimed that her ability to queue was severely impaired as she suffered from muscle seizures, spasms and incontinence as a result of spina bifida and neurosarcoidosis. This left her to rely on mobility aids including crutches, a wheelchair and the mobility scooter she brought on a family day out to the theme park in September 2021.
As a result of the staff at the park refusing to accept her documents establishing that she was disabled, she was excluded from the activities of the park. She then issued proceedings against the park.
The respondent park submitted that the medical documentation was sought to make sure the queue system was not being abused by members of the public who did not need such special treatment and they denied that the claimant was discriminated against.
The park submitted that out of 730,0 00 visitors to their park in the previous year, between eight and ten per cent had a disability and special arrangements were put in place to ensure they did not have to queue too long. They regretted the experience the claimant had gone through but submitted that they were convinced that she had not been discriminated against in any meaningful way.
The Adjudicating Officer said that there was no way or procedure at the park by which a person could appeal the decision to refuse her request and found that the respondent was unreasonable, inflexible and contrary to the spirit of the Equal Status Act and awarded the claimant €3,000 in compensation.
Alison Walsh v Ashbourne Visitor Centre Limited T/A Emerald Park WRC ADJ-00037622.