In Longford a student is denied membership of a snooker club on the basis of gender.

Carmel Breaden who is studying psychology at a Dublin University plays snooker regularly with her fiancé Liam Madden. On a visit home to Longford one weekend she applied for membership to a snooker club in Longford town. Her application was rejected because the club did not admit girls. Liam Madden however was told that he would be welcome there. 

The parish priest was Carmel's next port of call, but as Fr Kevin O'Sullivan told 'Newsround' the snooker club's male-only ethos has been in place for approximately forty years, and

If we accepted one girl as a member we would have to be geared to accept as many girls as wanted to enter.

'Newsround' established that the snooker club has accepted many more new members since Carmel Breaden's application was rejected, all of them male.  

Understandably annoyed, Carmel acknowledges that the issue has become a point of principal for her but  

My main aim to play snooker and billiards.

The club's discrimination against Carmel Breaden on the basis of gender does not sit well with her fiancé Liam Madden who is also captain of the Longford County football team. Having played in the club previously he is not aware of any rules which state that female membership is forbidden.  

One club committee member who spoke to 'Newsround' believes that if one girl was allowed in, more would follow, and anyway as Carmel is in Dublin during the week and only home in Longford at weekends, 

Would she really expect us to change our rules?

That is exactly what Carmel Breaden wants.  

A lack of separate toilets for women seems to be the main reason to deny her membership. An insufficient number of tables is another. Having grown up around the corner from the Temperance Hall, Carmel is familiar with the layout of the building, and says that female toilets are in fact available.  

Carmel was told that in order to gain access to these toilets she would have to pass through the main hall, disrupting young people playing badminton and table tennis there. 

Carmel Breaden has written to the Bishop of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. In his reply he expressed his confidence in the committee and made it clear that it would be extremely improper for him to interfere. 

There is really only one conclusion that Carmel Breaden can draw from all of this, 

I think that they genuinely must be anti-women.

A 'Newsround' report broadcast on 18 January 1976. The reporter is Peter McNiff.