Para Equestrian Ireland, which promotes sport for people with disabilities, has been ordered to pay 3,500 euros (£2,350) in compensation after it discriminated against a blind rider.
Joan Salmon, who won a bronze Paralympic medal for Ireland in 1996, took a case to the Irish Circuit Court in Dublin, following a dispute that prevented her from competing internationally. The dispute began three years ago when Para Equestrian Ireland refused to allow her to take her guide dog to an event in Scotland.
Initially, it said foot-and-mouth restrictions were to blame, but the Scots denied this, according to Salmon. Then, she claims, she was told that taking the dog would involve too much work.
When the media took up the issue, the organisation refused her entry to all events under its control until she provided a written apology for comments attributed to her. She did – but the apology was deemed inadequate.
Judge Katherine Delahunt ordered Para Equestrian Ireland to pay compensation for victimising Salmon and to admit her to all its events.
The Dublin-born rider was one of the sport’s brightest talents when, at 23, she lost her sight through diabetes.
“I’m just so happy I can compete internationally again,” she says.
In a statement, Para Equestrian Ireland said it regretted what had happened, and added that it would be abiding by the judgement.