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Diabetic claims discrimination over pub injection incident
9:00am Sunday 9th March 2014 in News
A DIABETIC claims he is being discriminated against after being asked to leave a pub when he injected insulin in full view of customers.
Neil Simpson, who has type-1 diabetes and must inject around five times a day, claims he was unfairly ejected by the landlady of O'Donoghue's pub on Spittal Street last week.
The 46-year-old, who has battled the condition for 40 years, said he was pulled aside by Eileen O’Donoghue after administering insulin in a needle through his jeans at the bar while watching football with friends.
And the businessman, who runs a string of shoe repair and key cutting shops, is angry over what he feels is discrimination simply for having the condition - an allegation Ms O'Donoghue and her husband strongly deny.
He said: "I have injected my insulin in restaurants, airports and public places all over the world, and no-one has ever batted an eyelid.
"What has happened is unacceptable and it is discrimination, simple as that. I have to take my insulin, I have no choice.
"It’s not like I was rolling my sleeve up and putting a belt round my arm, it was just through my clothes. I’m not going to do it in the toilet as with the greatest respect it’s the least hygienic place in the building.
"There are 1.5million people with diabetes in this country so I’m not just standing up for myself but lots others too."
Ms O'Donoghue, and her husband John Ashton, who run the pub together, insist they do not discriminate against diabetics.
As a qualified nurse, she said she fully understands Mr Simpson has medical needs and added she took him aside to speak to him quietly about the episode.
The couple claim that he was told on several occasions not inject in full view of customers at the bar as some may feel uncomfortable, and suggested the quieter back room of the pub would be a better option.
"We are not anti-diabetic in the slightest," said Mr Ashton. "He has been asked repeatedly by Eileen and myself not to inject in front of customers.
"The majority of diabetics are very discreet because some people are squeamish about needles, but the fact is he did it at the bar right next to the door.
"We do not have a policy against it, and we have to look after the majority of our customers."
Mr Simpson claims he was only told once before not to inject at the pub.
Diabetes UK, which represents diabetics across the UK, said it would not comment on individual cases but advises businesses to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate diabetics as part of the Equality Act.
However, online forum and advice site for sufferers diabetes.co.uk suggests users exercise discretion wherever possible in case people around them feel uncomfortable.
The advice states: "People on the Diabetes Forum generally state that injecting in a public place is usually not a problem and that only occasionally will it prompt a reaction in others.
"It’s worth being aware that some people around you may have a phobia of needles so it’s best to be as discreet as you can, especially around people you don’t know well."