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housing support

Family living without running water sue Donegal County Council after it deferred housing support

The Traveller family had been told that they presented a risk of engaging in anti-social behaviour.

A FAMILY LIVING without basic services including running water have succeeded in altering Donegal County Council’s decision to defer offering them housing support.

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

The family, which includes two children with medical needs, are currently living in a caravan at Shore Front, Bundoran. It 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 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 unsuccessfully tried to secure private rented accommodation.

Last March 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.

Read: Government pledges to take on landlords who are trying to ‘get around’ rent control rules>

Aodhan O Faolain
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