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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 24 October, 2019
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Homeless family sue council over allocation of housing

The family say there is no basis in law for refusing them priority status.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

A HOMELESS FAMILY have launched a High Court action over South Dublin County Council refusing them priority status for the allocation of housing.

The action has been brought by Rosemary and Stephen Mongan who are currently living in emergency hotel accommodation in Dublin City Centre with their young child.

They had been residing in Edgeworthstown, County Longford in private rented accommodation until September 2015 when they became homeless after their landlord decided to sell the property.

They presented themselves as being homeless to Longford County Council, having been on the council’s housing list since 2013. But they cancelled this application.

They then presented themselves as being homeless to South Dublin County Council, and sought priority status. That application was verbally refused. They say they were also advised that Longford County Council had a duty to provide them with accommodation.

The family say there is no basis in law for refusing them priority status because they first became homeless in Longford.

Despite the refusal the family say they have a connection to South Dublin as they have relatives living in the Council’s administrative area. Due to the family connection they were approved by the Council for social housing support in October 2015.

Repeated application

Despite the council’s initial refusal, the family repeated their application for priority status on several occasions between October and December 2015. On one occasion the family say they were informed verbally they needed to be on the list of qualified households for a minimum of one year.

The family’s lawyers sought reasons for the repeated refusal. On 6 January last, the council replied by a letter to clarify the reason why their application has not been successful.

The family claim the precise reason for the refusal on the face of the letter is not clear.

The family say they are eligible for priority status under the Council’s scheme for letting properties on exceptional medical grounds.

Mrs Mongan is pregnant and both she and her husband have health problems which they say their housing situation is contributing to.

Since becoming homeless the family say that despite assistance from Focus Ireland they have not been able to find private rented accommodation, and for the first few months had to change accommodation on a nightly basis.

They have been staying in emergency accommodation at a hotel since mid December which is cramped and entirely inappropriate for their needs.

In their action the Mongan represented by the Mercy Law Resource Centre Solicitors, seek various orders including one quashing the Council’s decision of January 6th last refusing the family priority status for the allocation of housing.

They also seek an order from the court compelling the council to consider afresh the Mongan’s request for priority status.

The family further seek declarations the council acted in breach of its duty by not giving reasons for the refusal, that the refusal was irrational, the decision was an error of law and the decision breached the family’s Constitutional rights and rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Permission to bring the action was granted by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys. The Judge made the matter returnable to a date later this week.

Comments are closed as this matter is before the courts

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About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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