Monday 27 March 2017

Court orders homeless couple sleeping in tent to call off council sit-in

Alan Murphy and Kelly Gilsenan leaving the High Court
Alan Murphy and Kelly Gilsenan leaving the High Court

Aodhan O'Faolain

A homeless couple have agreed to comply with a court order to leave a local authority's offices where they staged a sit-in during a dispute over housing.

Alan Murphy and his partner Kelly Gilsenan have been sleeping in a tent since becoming homeless several weeks ago, when the private property they had been renting was sold. They were unable to obtain other accommodation. The couple are on the council's housing list, which has 8,500 people on it.

Yesterday, they agreed to comply with a High Court injunction ordering them to vacate the offices of South Dublin County Council.

The pair had refused to leave the office last Wednesday and remained until the local authority obtained a temporary court order last Friday directing them to leave the Tallaght building.

The court was informed the couple - who were not legally represented - had also refused an offer of temporary emergency accommodation from the council because they said it was not suitable for their needs.

Read more: Despite rising economic tide, homeless are still left stranded

Mr Murphy told the court he suffered from a medical condition and that he and his partner needed somewhere "safe" to stay.

He also wanted his six-year-old son to be able to come and visit. He is on disability allowance and his partner is on a carer's allowance, he added.

The injunction was granted on an ex-parte basis (where one side only is in court) and returned to the court yesterday before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan.

The matter was adjourned to mid-July to allow the couple reply to the council's claim against them.

The adjournment came after a lawyer for the council said accommodation had been made available for the couple last night. The council are due to meet them at 10am today.

Irish Independent

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