Monday 23 April 2018

Family living in caravan with no running water succeed in challenging council's decision not to offer housing support

The High Court, Dublin
The High Court, Dublin

Aodhan O'Faolain

A family living without basic services including running water have succeeded in reversing Donegal County Council's decision to defer offering them housing support.

Brian and Eileen Ward, and their five children who are members of the Irish Travelling Community, had sued the Council after it decided not to offer them housing support on the grounds they were an unacceptable risk of engaging in anti-social behaviour.

The family which includes two children with medical needs and currently living in a caravan at Shore Front, Bundoran, had challenged the council’s decision in the High Court claiming it was flawed because irrelevant considerations had been taken into account.

The matter returned before the High Court Tuesday when barrister Mark Lynam, who appeared for the Wards with solicitors for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, told Mr Justice Antony Barr that the council had agreed to reverse its decision and will reconsider the Ward's application for housing support.

Fintan Valentine, counsel for the local authority, said the order could be quashed on consent and said his client had acted "with expedition" after the case had been brought to court.  Judge Barr struck out the proceedings.

Previously the High Court heard the family, supported by the Child and Family Agency which voiced concerns over the Ward's living conditions, applied to Donegal County Council for social housing support.

They currently have no running water and have limited use of a generator and had been unsuccessful in securing private rented accommodation.  In March last they had been told by the council they presented a risk of engaging in anti-social behaviour and any offer of housing had been deferred.

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