A HOLIDAY camp told staff to refuse bookings for “undesirable guests” with Irish surnames, a report revealed.

Pontins was reportedly using a system to operate a blacklist for Gypsy and Traveller families from staying at its resorts, including at Camber Sands, Sussex.

An investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that the company had been using the blacklist of mainly Irish surnames as part of a policy of refusing bookings to its holiday parks.

The list was revealed by inews.co.uk and included Boyle, Delaney, Gallagher, McGinley, McMahon, Murphy and O’Donnell.

Staff were told “we do not want these guests on our parks”.

A whistleblower reportedly showed how the list was posted on Pontins call handler staff intranet in a memo.

The EHRC said that 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 had “breached the Equality Act”.

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

“We have been informed by our operations director that we do not want these guests on our parks.”

The latter part was written in bold, and then a list containing 40 surnames was included.

The memo continued: “If you find any undesirable guests trying to book we need to refuse the booking using the T&C below.

“Our right to decline the booking - we can decline any booking at our discretion. We reserve the right to cancel or terminate your holiday and that of the rest of your party at any time.”

Staff were advised to ask for a supervisor or manager to enforce the blacklist.

The EHRC said Pontins had been monitoring calls to its contact centre and refusing or cancelling bookings made by some people with Irish accents or surnames, as well as using its commercial vehicles policy to exclude Gypsies and Travellers from its holiday parks.

Pontins is operated by Britannia Hotels, which has been rated as the country’s worst hotel chain by consumer group Which?

But the company, Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited, has signed an agreement with EHRC to prevent discrimination.

The company said: “(We have) agreed to work together with the EHRC to further enhance its staff training and procedures in order to further promote equality throughout its business”.

The Traveller Movement, a charity which promotes inclusion and community engagement with Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, said it was “disappointed but unsurprised” to hear of the “appalling” blacklist.

Chief executive Yvonne MacNamara said: “We’ve heard holiday camps do this sort of thing all the time. We are pleased to see the EHRC taking this course of action and really using its powers appropriately.

“We hope this sets a precedent, both for whistle blowers and for other holiday camp providers. This treatment of Irish Travellers is completely unacceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated.”