Woman challenges suspension from Donegal housing list

Elizabeth Crumlish, a member of Travelling community, claims decision was unreasonable

Elizabeth Crumlish is challenging her suspension on the basis the offers were not in any sense reasonable.

Elizabeth Crumlish is challenging her suspension on the basis the offers were not in any sense reasonable.

 

A 66-year-old woman has brought a High Court challenge over a decision by Donegal County Council to suspend her from its housing allocation list for a year.

Elizabeth Crumlish, a member of the Irish Travelling Community who has spent most of her life in Co Donegal, has been on the list since 2003.

She had applied to the council for housing or to be accommodated at a halting site in the Bridgend or Burnfoot areas.

Earlier this year, the council suspended her from its housing application list for one year on the basis she had refused to accept what it says are two “reasonable” offers of accommodation.

The suspension of a person’s application for housing following two refusals is provided for in the council’s 2011 Housing Allocation Scheme.

In High Court judicial review proceedings, Ms Crumlish, represented by Nora Ni Loinsigh BL, instructed by the Free Legal Advice Centres, is challenging her suspension on the basis the offers were not in any sense reasonable.

The council had twice offered Ms Crumlish single bedroomed houses in Letterkenny, some distance away from the areas where she had asked to be accommodated, it is claimed.

Ms Crumlish had also sought Traveller-specific accommodation on a halting site, which the council had acknowledged.

In her action against the council, she wants an order quashing the suspension decision. She claims the decision was made without lawful authority, resulted from an unlawful fettering of a statutory discretion, was irrational and based on irrelevant considerations.

The decision amounts to a failure by the local authority to vindicate her rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights, she also claims.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex parte basis (one side only represented), by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan and returned the matter to July.