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Seriously ill homeless man receives emergency housing after challenging council in court

The man said that he did not wish to be taking up a hospital bed but he couldn’t go back to living on the streets.

Image: Shutterstock/O n E studio

A HOMELESS MAN who is seriously ill with inoperable cancer and faced imminent discharge from hospital onto the streets is to be provided with emergency accommodation.

Flac, the free legal advice organisation, on behalf of Constantin Rostas, challenged the decision of Louth County Council to refuse him emergency housing, in the High Court.

Barrister Derek Shortall told Justice Tony O’Connor in the High Court today that the case had been settled and could be struck out. He said Louth County Council had agreed to pay all of Rostas’ legal fees.

Following the brief hearing Sinead Lucey, a solicitor with Flac, confirmed that Louth County Council had agreed to provide six months emergency homeless accommodation to Rostas, who is currently ill in hospital.

Earlier the court had been told that Rostas, a member of the Roma community, was an inpatient at Beaumont Hospital where he had attended for a biopsy and he did not know when he would be discharged.

Justice Paul McDermott, when told that Rostas’ discharge could be imminent, last month granted him leave to judicially review the local authority’s refusal.

Following the court case, Lucey said Flac would be issuing a statement on the matter and also on a related issue. The legal challenge had also been applied for against the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

Not habitually resident

Rostas, who is 60, has lived rough on the streets of Drogheda after losing accommodation with his brother, who also became ill.

He claimed he had been told by Louth County Council it would not provide him with assistance because he was not habitually resident in the State.

A painter and decorator, he said he had come to Ireland for work in 2008 but had been unable to continue working because of illness which had struck him in 2016.  He had inoperable cancer in his kidneys and a benign growth in his head which affected his hearing and sight.

His solicitor had written to the council asking it to provide him with emergency accommodation but there had been no response and since 1 August he had no access to homeless services.  He had been admitted to Beaumont on 7 August and had been there since.

Rostas said he was currently assessed as not medically fit to leave hospital but this was subject to re-assessment by a doctor any day and he could be discharged at any time.

He said that while he would not wish to be taking up a bed in a hospital ward unnecessarily he was in no condition health wise to go back to a situation of living rough on the streets.

Seriously ill

Rostas said he had been advised that Louth County Council may be relying upon a housing circular issued by the Department and this, too, he seeks to challenge in the High Court.  He did not see what damage the County Council would suffer by providing him with emergency accommodation until he was in a position to make a formal application for housing.

Although he was homeless, impecunious and seriously ill, he was willing to give an undertaking as to damages in order to access the court system.

Rostas had been seeking a number of declarations including that the County Council is obliged to furnish him with reasons for refusing emergency housing support;  that it owed him a special duty because of his exceptional medical issues and that it erred in law in relying on Departmental administrative circulars rather than regulations.

Judge McDermott also granted him leave to seek an interlocutory injunction compelling the county council to provide him with emergency assistance under the Housing Act and an order directing the council to reconsider its decision.

He was also allowed to seek declarations that he is a member of an ethnic group which is recognised as vulnerable and requiring special consideration and that, as a citizen of the EU, he was entitled to equal treatment.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

Read: Seriously ill homeless man granted leave to challenge Louth County Council over housing

More: Train from Sligo to Connolly delayed for up to 35 minutes after bridge hit

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