Friday 20 April 2018

Family urged to move out of home so site can be made habitable, court hears

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan is presiding over the case Picture: Maxwells
Mr Justice Paul Gilligan is presiding over the case Picture: Maxwells

Tim Healyb

A JUDGE has urged a Traveller family to move off a halting site so that a local council can carry out repairs to make it habitable for them.

Michael and Ellen Nevin, and their four children, have sought a High Court injunction preventing Longford Town Council and the Garda Commissioner from removing them from Willow Park halting site in the town until their "Traveller specific" accommodation needs are met.  

The council says unless they move off the site, it will be unable to get funding from the Department of Environment to carry out major repairs, including to the sewerage system, so that it can be made habitable.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he hoped the parties could come to a "common sense" agreement but if not he was prepared to make an order to deal with the matter.

Earlier, Peter Bland SC, for the council, said the family had moved into the site last March and refused to leave until they were allocated a specific bay within the halting site.

Counsel said it was accepted the site was not in a habitable state and needed serious repairs including to the sewerage system.

The council had applied to the Department for funding for the work but it (Department ) had said the money would only be forthcoming if the Nevins were off the site so that the work could be carried out.

Counsel for the Nevins said the family were prepared to do so but the council had not said where they were to go in the meantime.   The gardai had undertaken not to remove them until these legal proceedings are dealt with, counsel said.

Mr Justice Gilligan stressed there should be a resolution but if not he was prepared to deal with the matter before the courts break for the long vacation at the end of this month.

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