Judge to quash eviction notice against SF TD over attic works

John Brady and wife took action in dispute over allegedly unauthorised attic conversion

A High Court judge has said he will grant an order quashing an eviction notice issued against Sinn Féin TD John Brady and his wife arising from an attic conversion at their council home.

Mr Justice Max Barrett said he will give his detailed written judgment at a future date on the Bradys' action against Wicklow Co Council after it served the eviction notice in a dispute over an allegedly unauthorised attic conversion in their council-owned home in Bray.

Having heard final legal submissions from the sides on Tuesday, the judge indicated to the couple he was prepared to grant an order quashing the eviction notice and will give his full judgment later addressing all their claims, including that their rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights were breached.

Mr Brady, elected a councillor in 2004 and a TD this year, and his wife Gayle, brought judicial review proceedings over the notice served on them over the 2004 attic conversion, which the council alleged was a fire hazard.

In opposing the case, the council argued the situation was the result of the couple’s own actions. The fact the conversion is now substantially in compliance proved works were required, it said.

Criticism in past

Mr Brady had told the court he believed the notice was issued because of his criticism of the council in the past.

He told the court there had been a lot of tension between him and officials in the immediate run-up to what he described as “so-called random inspections” of council houses in which extensions had been carried out.

He had been highly critical of the council over the deaths of two council fireman in 2007 and during a subsequent health-and-safety prosecution against it.

He had also supported two women who staged a sit-in at Bray Town Hall over the issue of homelessness.

Payments deducted

As a result of the sit-in incident, the council deducted payments from his salary as a councillor, removed his security clearance from the Bray council building and told him he was only entitled to go into public areas, he said.

He had also been highly critical of the failure of the council to upgrade all the houses in one of its estates, Oldcourt in Bray, where eight members of one family had died in a fire.

The council had denied his claims and said inspections of local authority property were normal so as to ensure its housing stock was maintained in good order.