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Taxi driver (64) claims he's been wrongly refused a flat transfer following alleged racist-related attacks on his home, court hears

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The most serious was an attempted arson attack on June 9 last, he says.

The most serious was an attempted arson attack on June 9 last, he says.

Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

The most serious was an attempted arson attack on June 9 last, he says.

A local authority has been ordered by the High Court to deliver up all information in its possession in relation to the case of a man who claims he has been wrongly refused a transfer from his council flat following alleged racist-related attacks on his home.

Happy Agamah (64), a German citizen who came here in 2008 and works as a taxi driver, says he had been the victim of violence, intimidation and racist abuse at his flat in Ballyboden, Rathfarnham, Dublin.  

The most serious was an attempted arson attack on June 9 last, he says.

South Dublin Co Council says the June 9 incident was allegedly carried out by a local woman with psychiatric problems who is now to be transferred from her council flat.  It says a transfer is not warranted because gardai do not believe he is under threat.

The council says the incident occurred when the woman set fire to a mattress in a communal garden at the back of the apartments which then set a shed alight and caused damage to the exterior of Mr Agamah's flat. It was not established that Mr Agamah was deliberately targeted, the council says.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, was asked by Mr Agamah for an order directing the council provide him with alternative accommodation.

The judge adjourned the case after expressing concern about when certain garda information became known in relation to the woman alleged to have been involved in the June 9 incident, and to a previous incident in which Mr Agamah's door was attacked with a hammer.

The judge said the information in possession of the gardai was not conveyed to the council until November which was after it (council) had refused Mr Agamah's application for a transfer. 

He said all the information in possession of the council should now be disclosed to Mr Agamah's lawyers and he adjourned the matter for it to be supplied within 21 days.

In his action, Mr Agamah is also seeking damages and says a psychiatrist has concluded he has developed post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his experiences.

He claims the refusal to re-accommodate him constitutes inhuman or degrading treatment and/or an interference with his right to respect for private and family life, under the convention on human rights, and is also in breach his constitutional rights.

His lawyers say consultations with a garda superintendent, whose advice led the council to decide there was no reasonable basis to warrant a transfer, are not relevant to transfers on medical, compassionate or exceptional grounds.   It is also claimed there had been no follow up into his complaints of racist abuse.

The council says there is no interference with his convention or constitutional rights.  The Garda Commissioner is a notice party in the case.

Mr Justice Kearns said all kinds of racist abuse and attacks are to be "utterly deprecated" but he was concerned certain information about the woman, who he said had been committed to a psychiatric institution on a number of occasions, had only become known in November. Mr Agamah was refused a transfer in August, the court heard.

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