Travellers committal application adjourned for a week

Matter put back to allow defendants to obtain legal advice over Tipperary council claims

The injunctions require the defendants to remove their mobile homes, vehicles and caravans from Cabragh Bridge, and not cause any obstruction to the roadway. File photograph: Collins Courts

The injunctions require the defendants to remove their mobile homes, vehicles and caravans from Cabragh Bridge, and not cause any obstruction to the roadway. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

The High Court adjourned proceedings that could see members of the Traveller Community jailed over their alleged failure to vacate the vicinity of an unofficial halting site in Co Tipperary.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said he was putting the matter back for a week to allow Elizabeth and William McCarthy time to obtain legal advice over claims by Tipperary County Council that the couple are in breach of a court order.

In July, the Court granted the Council an injunction against several persons whose presence at Cabragh Bridge, Cabragh, Thurles, the local authority alleged constituted a public nuisance.

The injunctions require the defendants to remove their mobile homes, vehicles and caravans from Cabragh Bridge, and not cause any obstruction to the roadway.

The defendants must also vacate and cease residing on or anywhere in the vicinity of Cabragh Bridge, which the local authority said is an inappropriate and unsuitable place to reside.

The matter has been before the court on several occasions since.

The council claims that while most of the persons at the site had moved on in compliance with the orders, that two couples and their families had remained in the vicinity of Cabragh Bridge.

They had only moved a short distance away, in contempt of the court’s orders. As a result, the council. has brought motions seeking the attachment and committal to prison of Elizabeth and William McCarthy.

Risks

The matter returned before the court on Wednesday when barrister David Humphries Bl for the council said the couple’s caravan is now located at the side of the road, a short distance from the halting site, and is in a more dangerous location than it had been before.

In addition, the couple was getting power from a cable that went across the road that was linked into an ESB unit. This was particularly hazardous and there was a risk of electrocution and fire, counsel said.

The council may bring attachment and committal proceedings against another couple Winnie and John McCarthy.

The council said it may bring such an application after Winnie McCarthy told that the court that she and husband intend to move their caravan where her sister Elizabeth and her husband are located as soon as it is repaired.

Elizabeth McCarthy told the Judge that she and her family had nowhere else to go, and that offers of alternative accommodation made by the council to her were not suitable.

“Why won’t the council give me a house,” she said, adding that bringing her before the court and or sending her to prison was a “waste of the government’s money.”.

She said that she “didn’t want a mansion on the hill” and would quite happily pay rent for any property she was given.

She said she was prepared to co-operate with the council, but it had not offered her and her family anywhere suitable to go.

She said she was the mother of a six-month-old child and when addressing also said that in one meeting with the local authority said a council official had threatened to bring in social workers.

She said she was willing to co-operate with the council, but said they had nowhere to go.

Offer of help

Mr Justice Humphreys said that given Elizabeth and William’s liberty was at risk he was adjourning the matter for a week in the hope that they could obtain legal advice.

The dispute centres around Tipperary Council’s plans to accommodate Travellers, who had resided on the bridge for 30 years, in a €2 million six-unit group housing scheme, which is now ready for occupation.

The council said the proceedings were brought against several members of the McCarthy family who had moved to the site in recent years, but not among the persons who were being accommodated in the new scheme.

The council said it had offered the defendants help in securing alternative accommodation. Talks between the parties had failed to resolve the situation.