Thursday 17 October 2019

Disabled homeless man hospitalised after living in a tent for two months outside council offices brings legal action

A previous demonstration at civic plaza for homeless men Tommy Donnelly (inset) and Jay Bissett
A previous demonstration at civic plaza for homeless men Tommy Donnelly (inset) and Jay Bissett

A disabled homeless man hospitalised a week ago when his health deteriorated after living in a tent for two months has brought a legal action seeking emergency accommodation.

The High Court was told he was discharged from hospital this week and is back in the tent which is outside his local council offices.

Thomas Donnelly, who has been on Wicklow County Council's housing list for eight years, has a spinal curvature and suffers from depression, it was stated in court documents.

He has lived in a tent since May 6 and was taken to hospital by ambulance on the night of July 7 after his health deteriorated.

He was discharged on Wednesday last back to his tent on the Plaza outside the offices of the council in Bray.

Apart from having access to a tent, he is "entirely without adequate shelter", his solicitor Sinead Kerin, of Mercy Law Resource Centre, said in an affidavit.

Mr Donnelly has lived in Co Wicklow all of his life except for a year when he lived in Co Monaghan because he could not get private rented accommodation in Wicklow at the rent supplement rate.

He became homeless on May 6 after receiving a notice to quit from a Simon Community House where he had been living.

The notice, which he has appealed, was served over alleged breach of his license to stay there.  He denies he allowed another person stay overnight or engaged in anti-social behaviour in breach of his license.

Mr Donnelly was put up by St Vincent de Paul for four nights in an hotel but since then has lived in a tent outside the council's offices in protest over not being housed.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys granted his lawyers leave to bring proceedings against Wicklow County Council for orders compelling it consider his request for emergency accommodation.

The case comes back next week.

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