Northern Ireland

Blind man wins Bangor restaurant settlement over guide dog

James Cosgrove with his guide dog
Image caption James Cosgrove said it felt terrible to be denied admission to the restaurant

A blind man from County Down has welcomed the settlement of a case he took against a restaurant that turned him away because he was with his guide dog.

James Cosgrove was told by the management of the Bangla Restaurant in Bangor that dogs were not allowed.

He was told he could either tie the dog up outside, or order a takeaway.

The restaurant's owner has apologised to him and agreed to pay £1,250 plus legal costs.

"I go everywhere with Imogen," Mr Cosgrove said.

"On the day this happened, I felt terrible being denied admission in front of other people. Even though my friend explained what the law is, it made no difference.

"Because I was able to take my case with the help of the Equality Commission, the owner of the restaurant has apologised and agreed to look at changes to the restaurant's policies so that this doesn't happen to someone else, and that's really what I want."

Mary Kitson, senior legal officer with the Equality Commission, said: "This is a straightforward case in which lack of knowledge of the law led to unlawful discrimination taking place.

"Disability discrimination is, sadly, more common than people might think - our legal team gets more calls every year about disability discrimination than any other equality ground."