For The Times Tim Lives In


816d52_fc8f016d66a7135a6f96cb2ca29942d9.jpg_srz_400_514_85_22_0.50_1.20_0Last week, US comedian Tim Renkow (above), who has Cerebral Palsy, took an early flight from London to Dublin.

Tim was performing that night at the Stag’s Head, Dame Court, and had a pre-booked room at The Times Hostel, in nearby College Street.

Tim’s friend Susan Warren writes:

Tim approached The Times hostel at approximately 8am on Saturday and the front door was closed in his face, after assuming this was a misunderstanding (as it was so early) he returned at approximately 9am. Without giving him an opportunity to speak the reception staff claimed the hostel was full and he needed to leave.

He attempted to explain he had a room booked but before he had a chance to be heard the guards were called to remove him from their grounds as they assumed he was drunk/homeless.

At this point he was too embarrassed to fight his corner any further. He ended up having to find alternative accommodation down the road in a vulnerable state. We have attempted to contact the hostel so they can apologise directly to Tim and explain their behaviour and take some accountability.

The hostel has not answered our calls or emails [Broadsheet contacted the hostel for comment but they have yet to respond] and this has left Tim, his friends and family hurt and frustrated. I am contacting you so this may be taken seriously and support given to Tim and all other Cerebral Palsy suffers to be given fair and equal treatment. Thank you.


Tim Renkow

124 thoughts on “For The Times Tim Lives In

  1. Susan warren

    Thank you sincerely for your public support on this matter. Inequality and bias like this can be turned into a positive step towards awareness for disability with efforts like this. Thank you and I hope the times hostel finally respond to our emails/calls and publicaly apologise to for the suffering their actions caused Tim. Susan.

  2. Alan

    They owe more than an apology, sickening behaviour, surly the guards should have realised that he was not drunk.

    1. Tom

      That’s the worst part of it, its not just a private calamity – the state itself is implicated through the actions of the gardaí.

      1. ex pat

        I would have expected more from the Gardai, their job is to get to the bottom of things and not just side with a hostel that may or may not have a reasonable defence as to why a guest that has paid over their cash is being refused access to their room at a time in the morning that would suggest that he was not under the influence of anything.

        1. IDB

          I just re-read it there. Did the Gardai actually arrive and remove him? It looks as if he heard the Gardai were called so he left to find somewhere else.
          It’s definitely despicable behaviour from the hostel staff, but I’m not sure the Gardai are implicated.

        2. Roeland Peeters

          Don’t expect more from the Gardai… Once I was nearly broadsided (on the road from Galway to Ennis) by a Guard who had clearly been drinking. He nearly rammed me with his patrol vehicle, not giving right of way (!) and then proceeded to ask me my papers and everything!

        1. Joe

          Was the Garda or the security guards – either way terrible, 2013 the year of the sorry-no-room-at-the-inn. And we’re a Christian country. For shame

  3. Doubledown1138

    What an appalling story. Send him a message of support on Twitter to assure him we’re not all ignorant fools. Sickening.


    1. bucko

      if I ran a hostel and someone drunk and bumbling arrived I would slam the door in thier face, end of. Sadly that is how people with CP present. Obviously it’s not thier fault, and I’m sure lot’s of people with CP are nice (I’m sure lot’s are morons), but this is not such an apalling story, just a misunderstanding. It happens, get over it… you ignorant fool.

        1. Barry Jones

          Yes, get back under your bridge and stick your head in the sand. You wouldn’t want to be aware of all the facts and both sides of the story now, would you?

        1. Dubhlinn_Dweller

          I’ve realised from other threads that this tool is a boring little troll

      1. dr_octagon

        Are you sure you running a hostel ins’t setting the bar a little high? You can barely spell…

        1. bucko

          “Are you sure you running a hostel ins’t setting the bar a little high? You can barely spell…”

          8th word. How do you spell kettle and pot???

      2. Finbarr warren

        If anything Bucko it’s you is the ignorant one. Anyone who hasn’t the balls to state their name says it all

  4. ex pat

    I hope some journalist takes this one up. Questions/ details I’d ask would be

    1. How long has the hostel been trading – I’ve not come across this one before and had beers in Doyles not a million years ago.

    2. A copy of the Disability Access Certificate.

    3. A copy of the change of use planning consent from ancillary to hostel.

    4. Where on the website they reserved the right to issue pfo’s without notice.

    5. Why their staff reacted in such an obscene manner.

    This side of the story as presented sickens me; if it is a true account of the facts then this hostel has no place making money out of the environment the rest of us create for tourists to enjoy.

    Really sorry for Tim that this is the reception he received; 99.99% of us are not like this.

  5. John E. Bravo

    Really terrible incident, my sympathy to Tim for having had to experience it.

    One point though, on the post: it’s not clear from the account whether the guards or the hostel staff are being referred to when it says: “the guards were called to remove him from their grounds as they [the guards or the staff calling the guards?] assumed he was drunk/homeless.”

    Given – as Alan and Tom point out above – the implications for Gardaí best practice and culpability, it would be good to get clarity on this.

    1. halcyon days

      The structure of the sentence would imply the hostel staff.
      ‘They’ (the staff) called the guards as they thought he was drunk/homeless.

    2. Tom

      Good point, though even if it’s the hostel staff being referred to there, it was still the duty of the gardaí to determine whether the bloke was in fact drunk. They either erred in discharging that duty or didn’t bother to discharge it all.

      Also, why would being homeless be an impediment to having access to a hotel room you’ve paid for? It’s a bit like barring travellers from buying houses.

      1. John E. Bravo

        My reading of it is that the staff called the guards, and rather than wait to have suffer more and argue more, Tim left.

    3. John E. Bravo

      Also, I’m not an apologist for the guards, I’d genuinely like to know whether they got to the hostel before Tim left, and how did they act if they did.

      1. Tom

        Absolutely. As the post above stands it might have the effect of unfairly implicating the siochaliní if they knew nothing of the incident.

        If someone is going to run with this story, as they should, that would have to be a major part of the questioning.

  6. Mt

    Disgusting. If they don’t want to feel the online wrath Madison’s felt they’d do well to start begging for forgiveness now. Ignoring emails and calls is pouring petrol on their own fire.

    1. halcyon days

      Main manager probably isn’t working on a Sunday. Shift managers are probably shitting it, or are too inexperienced to realise what a storm could be brewing for them on Monday.

      1. halcyon days

        Scratch that, I just re-read it and saw it happened last week, I assumed it just happened on Friday or Saturday.

        1. Gary Flood

          Which means the good people at Times Hostels have been stonewalling a client for over a week. A story’s still a story. It’d make a grand palate for Liveline tomorrow, once they’ve gotten over the bus strike.
          “They’re just lying idle, Joe. Lying idle in the depots and bus stations. Where are the army in all of this, Joe, I ask you?”

          1. Barry Jones

            From what I make of this, Tim did not send an email to the Times until this Saturday. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) His friends posted on Facebook on Thursday, but posted on the wrong Facebook page. So obviously the Times would not see this.

            I think we all need to take a step back and learn more of the facts before pointing fingers at this business.

            Obviously I feel for Tim, and it’s a shame this had to happen. But misunderstandings occur everyday. At least give the people at the Times the chance to share their side of the story (which is sounds like Broadsheet did not try very hard to do).

  7. Psyched

    Surprised to see this is coming to light only now if it happened a week ago. Absolutely disgraceful.

    1. DB

      You obviously don’t run a business, there’s two sides to every story and wait until you hear both before posting such nonsense

      1. Buzz

        Oh really, well why don’t they tell their story so instead of avoiding all requests for a comment as per the above:

        “The hostel has not answered our calls or emails [Broadsheet contacted the hostel for comment but they have yet to respond].”

  8. ConSki

    i wonder what level of drunken abuse and general misbehaviour the hostel and its staff endures on an ongoing basis?

    Obviously the staff made an enormous mistake. A mistake nevertheless.

    All feels a bit Joe Duffy here…

    1. Lush

      If a mistake were made, it should be apologised for.
      The hostel seems, so far, unwilling to do that.
      Therein lies the issue.

    2. Friday

      It’s not acceptable to assume that anyone with ataxia/slurring their speech/acting Not Like Us is drunk. The assumption means that people who present atypically need to be on the defensive all the time, and they need to justify themselves/prove they’re not drunk.

  9. Am I still on This Island

    Well of course we have all the facts here and the hotel is EVIL! Two sides to every story the above could be accurate then again their could be details missing

  10. Mickolikesmaps

    How retarded are the staff there???? Is it that hard to tell the difference between a drunk person and someone with cerebral palsy??? Jaysus this country is full of clowns

        1. Eoin

          You don’t see anything wrong with using the word retarded as an insult under a post about someone who was apparently discriminated for having a disability?

          1. Conor

            Well sure most of the staff are probably not Irish anyway, as is usual with hostels…would be backpackers from around the world most likely

  11. Pasquale

    Dear Tim, Susan and everyone else,

    My name is Pasquale and I am writing on behalf of Times Hostels.
    Before proceeding with any clarifications, I would like to publicly apologise for what I can only define as a huge misunderstanding.

    As some of you may know already, we accommodate over 50.000 people every year, people coming from every part of the world, with different backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs and orientations. We have had in the past several groups, including of course people with disabilities and we have never experienced any problems.

    It is our goal to provide beds to people, not to judge them; defining a hostel discriminating and prejudicing would therefore be a bit contradictory in my opinion and would make our job extremely pointless.

    Having said so, please allow me to explain everything you have pointed out so far.
    Up until two days ago (Friday 10th May 2013), the hostel management has never received any calls/e-mails from Mr. Renkow or anybody else inquiring about this situation. On Friday a member of the press showed up in our property and was asking to speak to a member of the management in order to clarify this misunderstanding; I have received a call from my receptionist, went down to learn for the first time about this incident and was happy to clarify everything with the press gentleman. I will gladly write down here everything I said to him already.

    Let’s start with the “door closed in his face”: I don’t know if any of you have ever visited our property, but our front door has a spring that makes it close automatically once somebody gets in. My receptionist was behind the counter and obviously had no control on the door. Furthermore, there is a buzzer outside in case the door is locked (which happens during the night as a security measure).

    Mr. Renkow had returned an hour later and approached the counter. It is not written anywhere in the previous statements but this person’s condition unfortunately makes him communicate with a bit of difficulties. I am afraid it is not true that my receptionist did not give him the opportunity to speak but he was actually trying to understand: he asked his name several times but could not find him on the long check-in list we had that day, he then asked him if he had a confirmation e-mail printed out which unfortunately he did not. He then asked him to write his name down but he was not able to. My receptionist then assumed that he was a walk-in looking for a bed and told him that unfortunately we were fully booked. He also printed out a list of available hostels in the city and gave him directions.

    As I said before, we have had many people with disabilities in our property over the years and, especially for people with speech difficulties, we have often received an e-mail or a phone call advising on the guest’s arrival, but not in this case.

    I can guarantee that the assumption of my receptionist assuming the person was drunk/homeless is wrong. The assumption of my receptionist calling the Garda for Mr. Renkow is also wrong. There are a few missing points in the previous statements, another one would be that the receptionist area was packed and there were two people causing problems. My receptionist called the Garda way before Mr. Renkow entered the property and once they arrived the two people that caused problems were gone and the Garda were advised that the problem was already solved. They then left. Mr. Renkow was Not escorted out by the guards. When the guards left Mr. Renkow started to be clearly upset having thought that they were called for him.

    In regards to “Broadsheet contacted the hostel for comment but they have yet to respond” Broadsheet contacted us last night at 23:22. Ms. Susan Warren contacted us yesterday at 17:37. I am afraid the management do not work on a Saturday/Sunday. The matter is although important and that is why I am replying on a Sunday afternoon.

    We have been receiving since today a great amount of threatening e-mails and phone calls and harsh comments, but before judging it is always best to listen to both sides of the story.

    As I said to the reporter on Friday, I would love to meet Mr. Renkow in person and apologise for the misunderstanding, but I have not heard from him yet (it has been only two days and it is week-end though).

    Should you have further questions or comments, please do reply, Times Hostels is open to any discussions.

    Kind regards,

    1. DB

      Having met and worked with Pasquale I can only say he is a likeable, honest guy and would not inconvenience a fly, its a terrible situation but Pasquale is being sincere here and he and his business does not deserve to be dragged through the mudover a mis-understanding.

    2. Alan

      seriously a half hearted apology, claiming not our fault, it was Tim’s. Only on this now as it is turning into a PR nightmare. All emails/facebook comments and phone calls regarding this should be replied to as well and a public apology made on facebook. Claiming management do not work on a Saturday/Sunday is just not good enough.

        1. Alan

          Speaking as someone who has worked in a telephone customer service support role, I have dealt with many people with speech difficulties. What happened with Tim in the “apology” was a fob off. The receptionist should have worked with Tim to find out exactly the issue at hand. Obviously the contact that The Times Hostel has had about this is now in dispute (see other comments below this one). Also the apology blames his disability for what happened. Disabilities should never be used as an excuse for shitty customer service.

          1. j.k.

            I’ve also worked in customer service. People with disabilities don’t want other people to ignore the fact that they have a disability that is stupid and patronizing. The fact is she couldn’t understand what he was saying. The cause is not being laboured in the hostel’s apology. The receptionist tried to talk with him then she asked him to write, mistakenly but not bad in terms of customer service she then assisted him to find another place to stay. It was a mistake but she didn’t ignore him and she wasn’t rude, she didn’t treat him in a ‘shitty’ way and Susan didn’t say that in her reply. Susan’s point was that the hostel took a very long time to reply to the complaint, rightly so.

        1. Stephen Whitty

          Pasquale’s explanation seems rationale. I think Tim is the one with the problem here. I think we knew that already given his profile.

    3. Dylan Holland

      This is a weak and insincere effort to rectify this situation. We tried to ring you on the Friday and we e-mailed you on the Thursday night, we also commented on your Facebook page. I’m a close friend of Tim and I don’t accept that it was difficult to understand him as an excuse. What a veiled apology! Give a guy a bit more time. I hope you can learn from this situation.

    4. susan warren

      I wanted to comment directly to your reply here on regarding the recent incident with Tim Renkow. The link I have attached shows that myself and Dylan (Tim’s friend) left a strong review on your other facebook page Thursday the 9th of May. No reply. I emailed you that same evening. No reply. Dylan (Thursday) and Tim (Saturday) also emailed you. No reply. I called 4 times Friday the 10th. No call back. We then pursed this by posting reviews of what happened on numerous online travel sites and contacting national newspapers. No word from anyone at your establishment. I emailed you again yesterday expressing how disappointed we were that you had not even replied to Tim’s email. Again no reply. The only reply we have had is via Although we are all some what grateful that you responded, it was not directly to Tim only due to online pressure. The account of what has been emailed to you and posted online is an accurate account directly from Tim. Evidence of all emails and phone call attempts can be provided along with the confirmation email Tim has that he booked a room with your hostel in Dublin. No doubt there are two sides to a story and your explanation may be with truth, and perhaps the Garda were not there for Tim, but your reply does not sincerely take account for the fact this situation was not explained to Tim and could and should have been avoided and Tim is understandable. Although yes unfortunate for both yourselves and Tim, from this point on it is in Tim’s hands how he wishes to proceed and if that online apologise suffices.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        Hi Susan,

        Something very important. Can you post a link to this ‘other facebook page’ where the comments were left?
        If it was not the official page, surely, you don’t expect any replies or answers from it.
        Can you clarify this ‘other facebopok page’.
        Thanks, C

    5. Atticus

      If it’s true that Broadsheet only contacted the hotel at close to midnight on a Saturday night and then ran the story the next day, without giving the hotel a fair amount of time to reply, it doesn’t show Broadsheet in a good light.

    6. Joby Mageean

      I must intervene and say that the comment in this statement regarding Tim’s speech being hard to understand and that he has Difficulties communicating to be completely false. I know Tim and I have never had difficulties conversing with him. As stated in the article he is a comedian so it is very important that people can understand what he says. He speaks slowly and clearly to make up for his slurring of words and daft American accent, and I can not see how anyone would be unable to understand him saying his name.

    7. Leo Kearse

      I’ve never had much of a problem understanding Tim’s speech, and neither have the audiences I’ve seen him perform in front of (as a comedian, Tim speaks to crowds of people, they have to be able to understand or the whole endeavour is pointless). The idea that he wouldn’t be able to communicate his name to a receptionist is pretty risible.

      What has happened is Tim tried to check in, and Tim was refused. That’s a massive “misunderstanding” on your part.

      The idea that people have posited that this was a “publicity stunt” is laughable. This situation doesn’t make Tim more likely to be booked for gigs – it may make promoters think twice if they realise his ability to perform could be compromised by prejudiced/ignorant hostel staff.

  12. Tomboktu

    Sounds like the hostel broke the Equal Status Acts by discriminating against a person with a disability.

    Tim Renkow has two months since the day of the incident to lodge a form with the hostel, and then he can take them to the Equality Tribunal. Forms are available at

    No legal fees, and the Tribunal can order the hostel to pay €6,350. An expensive booking for them!!

  13. Henry Street

    He’ll probably see the funny side of it, what with being a comedian and all.

  14. Jack

    As someone who has met tim (although I haven’t talked to him yet about the incident) I find it implausible at best, an outright lie at worst, that given the opportunity to speak he wouldn’t be able to say his name. He is a (fantastic) stand up comedian guys, do you think he could work if he couldn’t say his own name?

    And the hostels solution of asking him to write his own name is laughably insulting to a man with cerebral palsy

  15. Anne

    Ridiculous post. Ridiculous comments.
    No one knows what happened.. yet, you have the keyboard warriors on hand to jump to conclusions.
    Tis worse than that post about the woman who won some jewellery, (fraudulently – apparently).. Poor woman, can’t imagine the stress Broadsheet put her through.

    Stick to the news will ye?

        1. Pedanto

          Pitchfork? Heavens. Picturing so rustic a tool in these lily-languid hands has made my valet snort with laughter.

          When I join the arsonous mob it will be with a rococo ebony ducking-stool in one hand and the leash of my pet lobster in the other. And it won’t be because someone who couldn’t make himself understood at a hostel reception desk was embarrassed enough to sleep elsewhere.

      1. bucko

        I hate that expression, there is something oh so ironic about it. Also reminds of something a crap Irish film “director” would say.

  16. Russ

    As someone who knows Tim I want to remind everybody that Tim is a well known stand up and respected comedian in the Circuit. Had the staff taking the time to help Tim rather than rush to assumption then this whole matter would never had happen. It’s clear that none of the staff took the time to understand what the problem was and deal with it correctly. They claimed that they have worked with people of disability before but yet still failed to help Tim. This is a huge failure on the Hostel and trying to pass the fault onto Tim just shows how very much they don’t understand the disgust many of us feel of Tim’s treatment.
    Clearly a lot of lessons need to be learned and the first step is to admit fault and learn from it. Simply re-quoting a misunderstanding is not a justification to their action. If communication was a problem then more effect should have being made to hear what Tim was trying to say. Would the hostel have been so dismissive to a client who was foreign with very little english?

    I just hope the hostel will take the necessary steps to resolve this and send a heartfelt apologies to Tim and an assurance to change their policy on dealing with anyone who appears to be difficult.

    1. Pedanto

      Maybe one of the faults that needs to be learned from is going into a ballistic multi-media strop before asking whether the panto villain you’ve painted bears any relation to the people you’re angry at.

      1. Russ

        I think it does. Just to clarify. I don’t see them as a panto villain. However they were wrong in their dealing with this situation which is why so many people are upset about it and making their view point known. Tim did try and got no response which is why a lot of people have join in. Now he certainly is being heard.

  17. Orgazoid

    Witch-hunt. Nothing more. Keyboard warriors jumping to conclusions without any facts.

    1. Dubhlinn_Dweller

      No, it is not a witch-hunt. It is a lot of annoyed people asking why one man with a disability was treated like this in a modern European city in 2013.
      It is many people standing up for one person.
      Tomorrow you might need them to stand up for you.

      1. Orgazoid

        I have no problem with that and if the hostel is guilty then they deserve what they get. However, all we get here is one side of the story, not from Tim himself, but a friend who was not even there. I’m not sticking up for the hostel, it is just all facts have not been established and we have not heard from Tim or the hostel, just a mystery friend. It is this trial by media that is becoming so common-place now that annoys me and is a very worrying trend. Real people are being affected by this and it does no-one any good by jumping to conclusions and verbally abusing the hostel staff via social media, e-mail and phone,

          1. Orgazoid

            I’m aware that Tim has now contributed to the thread but in the hours before he had contributed we had people jumping the gun and attacking the hostel via social media etc… you clearly don’t see the point I am making so there is no point in having a civil argument with you.

  18. Tom

    Witch-hunt indeed. We should definitely stop this All I can see is honest workers being attacked by false-moralists and keyboard-warriors. Internet is free and anyone is free to express their opinions, but being defamatory is something that should be stopped.

    1. Russ

      Witch Hunt? You do understand this happen don’t you. That a disable guy could not use his booking because of the staff failure to deal with his needs. That the hostel did not respond to his complaint. The hostel had a week to deal with this but they choose to ignore him. This is why people have taking to complaining on his behalf and good on them. No one, especially someone who is disable should have been treated like that.

  19. tim Renkow

    hey everyone this is Tim Renkow by the time the guards got there I was on my way out. So, I didn’t have much of a interaction with them. here’s the letter i wrote
    To whom it may concern,

    My name is Tim Renkow. I have a disability. At 8:00 a.m. on Saturday May 3rd I tried to stay at your hostel on College Street, where I had pre-booked a room. The man at the desk took one look at me and slammed the door in my face. Being that it was so early I figured that the hostel wasn’t open so I had breakfast. When I came back at 9:00 a.m. the same thing happened except, this time the door hit me almost knocking me down. To cut a long story short I had to force my way in demanding a refund. According to the man I wasn’t on the list but I have an email contradicting him. He also called the police on me.

    I’m a standup comic so, I travel all over and I have never been treated with such disrespect. Even if I was not on the list there was no reason, apart from prejudice, to close the door, literally, on me. I’m writing for two reasons: if I did pay I want a refund. Mainly though, I feel you should be aware of the bigotry of your employee. Especially because your in the hospitality business so, your employee’s actions is not only a reflection on your company but also your city and country.

    Thank you

    Tim Renkow

    I hope this clears up some question Thank you for the support

  20. Sean

    Sorry this has happened to you Tim. You are genuinely a brilliant man to know and it’s shameful that you were treated this way. The positive is this will make some great material. All the best, Sean

  21. Orgazoid

    I made a comment last night about being guilty of lazy journalism and being nothing more than a sensationalist rag running stories like this without a shred of proof or giving the hostel the right to reply. Yet it was censored. I guess you guys are guilty of terrible journalism as well as censoring comments that are critical of your website and don’t fit your narrative of faux outrage. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    1. ABM's Bloodied Underwear.

      I believe I read that comment and if broadsheet is censoring posts that happen to disagree with them then that is worrying and hypocritical tabloid crap.

      I’d like to hear what broadsheet have to say though before making up my mind.

  22. Gary Lynch

    I had the pleasure of meeting and gigging with Tim several times in Edinburgh last August. It embarrasses me that this happened in Dublin. Next time you come over Tim crash with me.

  23. Julian England

    This story is absolutely disgusting. I have the honour of knowing Tim and he has played at one of my gigs in London. Not only is he an example to us all, in the way that he deals with his condition, but he is also a very good stand up. Please support him.

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