Anne-Marie Walsh Reporting for the Irish Independent writes:
A blind man has been awarded €3,000 for suffering discrimination when a driver remarked “your wife is no use to you now” as he struggled to board a Dublin bus in his wheelchair.
Neill King said the driver made the comment after his wife got on the bus to ask people with a buggy if they would mind folding it up to make room for him.
The Equality Tribunal found that Dublin Bus was liable for the behaviour of the driver and its measures to train him in dealing with disabled customers were not enough “to prevent him from acting in a discriminatory manner”.
Mr King told the tribunal he had gone to the local bus stop to catch a bus to the city centre with his wife.
When a bus arrived, he said the driver told them they would have to wait for the next bus as he had a buggy on board.
However, Mr King’s wife had already boarded the bus and asked the people who owned the buggy if they would fold it.
When the buggy owners obliged, the driver lowered the wheelchair ramp. But as Mr King was boarding, his wheelchair began to tip over and the driver said “your wife is no use to you now, is she?”
He admitted he swore at the driver when they got into an argument after this.
Mr King later submitted a written complaint to Dublin Bus about he incident, which took place on March 29, 2003.
However, less than two months later on May 17, Mr King and his wife were approaching the same bus stop when he said the same driver pulled up and shouted at them:
“Do you remember me? I hope you have learned your lesson after your behaviour the last time.”