Disabled homeless man seeks emergency housing in Wicklow

Thomas Donnelly has been on Wicklow County Council’s housing list for eight years

Homeless men Tommy Donnelly and Jay Bissett  outside the offices of Wicklow County Council in Bray. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Homeless men Tommy Donnelly and Jay Bissett outside the offices of Wicklow County Council in Bray. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A disabled homeless man hospitalised a week ago when his health deteriorated after living in a tent for more than two months, and who was discharged back to the tent this week, has taken a High Court action aimed at getting emergency accommodation.

Thomas Donnelly, who has been on Wicklow County Council’s housing list for eight years, has a spinal curvature and suffers from depression, it was stated in court documents.

He has lived in a tent since May 6th and was taken to hospital by ambulance on the night of July 7th after his health deteriorated. He was discharged on Wednesday last back to his tent on the plaza outside the offices of Bray Town Council.

‘Without adequate shelter’

He became homeless on May 6th after receiving a notice to quit from a Simon Community house where he had been living. The notice, which he has appealed, was served over alleged breach of his license to stay there. He denies he allowed another person stay overnight or engaged in antisocial behaviour in breach of his license.

On the same day, May 6th, he and a friend occupied the council’s offices in Bray and refused to leave until they were housed.

Mr Donnelly was put up by St Vincent de Paul for four nights in a hotel but since then has lived in a tent outside the council’s offices in protest over not being housed. He was brought to hospital on July 7th and was still there when his lawyers earlier this week secured leave from Mr Justice Richard Humphreys to bring proceedings against Wicklow County Council for orders compelling it to consider his request. Mr Justice Humphreys has returned the case to next Tuesday.

Breach of licence

It seemed from that email the council staff member considered there should be “adverse consequences” for Mr Donnelly, specifically that he should not be provided with further supported accommodation, Ms Kerin said.

There was also a handwritten note on the email that seemed to recommend, or consider recommending, additional measures that could be put in place to address antisocial behaviour in supported accommodation, she said.