Minister hails action on Port William site

Scottish Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie welcomed the action to remove the offending sign
Scottish Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie welcomed the action to remove the offending sign

Port William became the centre of a row over travellers’ rights as a sign at a local caravan site was dubbed as discriminatrory.

However, it was a brief controversy as the local group running the site immediately removed the sign when alerted to the offence it had caused.

The Port William Community Association acted fast after the Equality and Human Rights Commission upheld a complaint from travellers’ rights campaigner David Donaldson.

He had claimed that the sign, carrying a “no travellers” condition for use of the site, went against 51-year-old equality legislation. The ‘rule’ also appeared on the caravan park’s website and promotional leaflets.

The head of the commission’s legal section Lynn Welsh commented: “We are pleased Port William Community Association accepted that the rule is discriminatory and agreed immediately to remove it. This type of rule has been unlawful since 1968, so there really is no excuse for it appearing these days. Even if the owners didn’t actively discriminate against travellers wanting to use the site, reading this rule would have put off many from even trying.”

Activist Mr Donaldson said he was “very happy” to hear the rule had been removed, stating: “To be told that you are not welcome based solely on your ethnicity is a horrible feeling.”

Shaun Dodds, chairman of Port William Community Association, said: “We are sorry for any distress or hurt to any individual parties who use the Kings Green Caravan Park in the past or in the future and have taken the precaution of removing the signage from the website and the welcome pack.”

Scottish Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie MSP said: “There is no place for racism or discrimination in Scotland so we welcome this action from the Commission.

“We will soon publish a new gypsy/travellers’ action plan to address the issues faced in this community.

“This will set out the steps we will take to tackle discrimination against our gypsy/traveller communities.”