Thursday 18 July 2019

Family who were offered four-bed home lose council case

Stock Picture
Stock Picture

Dean Grey

The High Court has dismissed a challenge by a woman and her five children against Galway County Council's refusal to provide them with continued emergency accommodation after they turned down an offer of a four-bedroomed house.

The claims were dismissed by Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan, who found that the local authority did not breach the family's Constitutional rights or their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) when it decided to stop providing them with emergency accommodation.

The court heard emergency accommodation was ended last summer after the family, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, refused the council's transitional offer of a four-bedroom house.

They turned down the council's offer because the house is located too far away from Galway city where a special placement has been provided for one of the children who requires significant educational and medical supports.

The council said it had made a reasonable offer of accommodation and had taken all the family's needs into account. The family were made homeless after their tenancy at private rented accommodation ended in early 2017.

The family, who are members of the Irish Traveller Community and have been on a housing list for several years, were provided with emergency accommodation at a hotel.

Since their emergency accommodation ended the family have been living at an undisclosed location for several months.

The council said it had prioritised the family, and the house it offered is the only four-bedroom it has.

In their proceedings, the family sought orders including one quashing the refusal to continue providing emergency accommodation to the family. They claimed the decision was irrational and in breach of their rights.

In her judgment Ms Justice O'Regan said that in all the circumstances the decision to withdraw emergency accommodation had not breached the family's rights.

Irish Independent

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