A Chinese restaurant in Belfast has been ordered to pay two blind friends £2,000 in compensation after turning them away because they had a guide dog.
In December 2005, Andrea Hope and Jamie Coady called the Imperial City Chinese restaurant and made a reservation.
However, when they arrived at the eaterie they were told they could not sit in the restaurant with the dog and would have to tie the animal up outside or have a take-out meal.
The friends took their case to the Equality Commission and were awarded the money in an out of court settlement. The restaurant owners apologised and admitted a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.
Hope told the BBC: "When we went into the restaurant a woman came up and said we can't accept your dog. I said: 'Look, we phoned you. We told you there was a guide dog'. But they said we would have to tie the dog up outside while we ate in the restaurant. I told them I needed the dog.
“Then they said maybe we could take our food away with us, that they'd give us a takeaway.”
The Imperial City is now under new ownership and new owner Eileen Li.
By Kerstin Kühn