Supreme Court dismisses council tenant’s human-rights appeal

Christine Quinn given eviction order after claims of antisocial behaviour

Supreme Court: a five-judge panel has ruled that Christine Quinn was validly evicted from her home in Athlone

Supreme Court: a five-judge panel has ruled that Christine Quinn was validly evicted from her home in Athlone

 

The Supreme Court has dismissed a woman’s claim that her human rights were breached when a local authority tried to evict her from council housing after allegations of antisocial behaviour.

Christine Quinn was ordered to move out of her home in Athlone in October 2010, after nearly two years of contesting her eviction. The council alleged she had painted some coffins, in a Halloween tableau at the house, with her nicknames for neighbours she believed had complained about her. Council officials who asked her to take down the “inappropriate” and “sinister” decorations were verbally abused.

A District Court judge had refused to order her eviction, ruling that the reports of antisocial behaviour were hearsay and that it might breach an EU citizen’s human rights to be arbitrarily deprived of her housing.

After Athlone Town Council again asked for an order to evict Ms Quinn, she brought High Court proceedings against the local authority, arguing that the 1966 Housing Act breached her constitutional rights and was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The High Court dismissed her claim, finding that she had waited too long to bring the proceedings and had acquiesced by fully participating in the District Court process.

Ms Quinn appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court. A five-judge panel has now agreed with the High Court decision and rejected a claim for damages.