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Pic of the week: A victory for dogged determination

They say man's best friend is his dog and that's certainly the case for Co Down's James Cosgrove.

The 51-year-old is blind and wherever he goes, he is accompanied by his faithful four-legged companion - golden Labrador retriever, Imogen.

However, last May, James, from Newtownards, was turned away from the Bangla Indian restaurant in Bangor, because he had his beloved guide dog with him. A waiter told Mr Cosgrove, who was with a sighted friend, that dogs weren't allowed.

Mr Cosgrove, who relies on Imogen, was left embarrassed and upset, particularly as it happened in front of other customers.

This week, a court found in his favour after he brought a case against the restaurant. His guide dog, of course, was with him as he celebrated his legal victory.

Speaking after the court case, Mr Cosgrove said: "I go everywhere with Imogen. On the day this happened, I felt terrible being denied admission in front of other people. Even though my friend explained what the law is, it made no difference."

The waiter checked with management, he came back and said they could either tie the dog up outside or order a carry-out.

Mr Cosgrove's case was backed by the Equality Commission. The restaurant owner agreed to pay him £1,250 plus legal costs and apologised unreservedly to him.

Mr Cosgrove said:"Because I was able to take my case, with the help of the Equality Commission, the owner of the restaurant has apologised and agreed to look at changes to the restaurant's policies so that this doesn't happen to someone else - and that's really what I want," he added.

The restaurant owner undertook to liaise with the Equality Commission on disability laws.

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