Family who turned down four housing offers not entitled to ‘veto’ – court

Court of Appeal dismisses appeal over caravan and vehicle removal order

Justice Máire Whelan dismissed the appeal. Photograph: Collins Courts

Justice Máire Whelan dismissed the appeal. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A family who had turned down four separate offers of accommodation in Ennis from Clare County Council has lost its case in the Court of Appeal.

The family, according to Justice Máire Whelan, was not entitled to effectively assert a veto by turning down what she stated were “reasonable” offers of accommodation by the council.

In her recently published judgment, Justice Máire Whelan dismissed an appeal involving the respondent, Clare County Council and appellants Bernard and Helen McDonagh.

This case involved an appeal against the orders made by the High Court on October 15th, 2019, when interlocutory injunctions were granted pending the trial of the action.

The orders restrained the appellants from placing and retaining their caravans, vehicles and associated property on Clare County Council’s land at Cahercallamore, Ennis.

The court granted a further interlocutory injunction, compelling the parties to remove their caravans and vehicles and associated property from the land.

Justice Whelan stated that on December 7th, 2017 the council offered the appellants a tenancy of a newly acquired and refurbished four-bedroom dwelling house at The Woods, Cappahard, Tulla Road, Ennis, which was declined by the appellants.

They also declined the council’s offer of November 30th, 2017, to nominate them to Co-operative Housing Ireland for standard housing accommodation at Ashling, Shanaway Road in Ennis.

This was in addition to the refusal of two offers of a house at Beechpark.

Traveller specific

The appellants’ stance as outlined on affidavit and in the oral evidence of Mr McDonagh was that such offers of accommodation would not be acceptable because they were not Traveller specific and could not accommodate the extended McDonagh family. The judge stated that stance confers no rights upon them.

“The accommodation offers made by the council were reasonable and it is clear that the appellants formed an intention to refuse all offers, insisting that the council provide them forthwith with six dwelling houses for the exclusive use of the appellants and five of their sons, with the latter’s partners/spouses and children,” she said.

“This demand, made in the middle of a national housing crisis, was not reasonable and could not readily be met by the council given the demands upon it and its limited resources, as the evidence clearly demonstrated. The conduct of the appellants was tantamount to asserting a veto over accommodation offered, a right which was not established to exist.”