Council obtains injunction compelling family to remove mobile home from housing estate

Couple says previous caravan was unsuitable for their sick infant daughter

Cork County Council secured an injunction at Cork Circuit Court

Cork County Council secured an injunction at Cork Circuit Court

 

Cork County Council has obtained a court order compelling a young Traveller family to remove a mobile home they had parked in a green area in a housing estate in north Cork.

Cork County Council had sought an injunction against Jason O’Donoghue and Emma O’Driscoll, preventing them from trespassing at Beechfield Estate in Fermoy and compelling them to remove their caravan, mobile home and other property from the green area at Beechfield Estate.

The couple said they had nowhere else to live

Today at Cork Circuit Court Judge Brian O’Callaghan granted the council an injunction compelling Mr O’Donoghue and Ms O’Driscoll, who have three young children, to remove the mobile home within 12 hours, but he adjourned all other matters including the issue of costs until July 13th.

Cork County Council barrister Donnchadh McCarthy BL opened an affidavit on behalf of the council from solicitor Karina Cremin in which she said the defendants had on June 14th moved the mobile home onto a green area near where Mr O’Donoghue’s father, John, lived in the estate.

The defendants had been living in a small caravan on the green area adjacent to Mr O’Donoghue snr’s house, but residents were concerned that bringing the mobile home on to the site would result in it becoming an unofficial halting site, and a stand-off developed between both sides,

The residents held an all-night vigil on the night of June 14th/15th to prevent the caravan being replaced by the mobile home, and the situation intensified when supporters of the defendants arrived, and the council was concerned that a potentially dangerous situation now existed there.

Ms Cremin in her affidavit said the council had received complaints from residents that the occupants of the caravan were urinating on the grass, accumulating rubbish, bullying residents and generally acting in an unruly manner and engaging in antisocial behaviour.

The council had also received complaints that the defendants were causing noise late at night and that there was a lack of supervision of their children to such an extent the children were exposed to risk from normal road traffic in the area, she added.

Mr O’Donoghue and Ms O’Driscoll were not legally represented in court, but Mr O’Donoghue said he bought the mobile home because the caravan where they had been living for two years was no longer suitable for the youngest of their three children, an infant girl who had respiratory problems.

“We are objecting to them trying to remove us - we were living in a small caravan, and we’re now in a mobile home in the same location - if I had not got that mobile home for baby, my baby would have died - she was too sick to live in the small caravan and the council was doing nothing for us.”

Mr O’Donoghue accepted the council had now offered the family emergency accommodation, but he questioned why the council had not offered them emergency accommodation when they were in the small caravan and only offered it when the stand-off with the residents developed.

Judge O’Callaghan made the order, compelling the defendants to remove the mobile home, and when Mr O’Donoghue questioned his decision given that they could not live in the caravan, Judge O’Callaghan pointed out it had been his choice to move his family into the caravan two years ago.

When Mr O’Donoghue said that he and his wife would not be able to look after their children properly in the small caravan, Judge O Callaghan said that there were other agencies of the State that could be brought into the deal with the situation if they could not properly care for their children.

Judge O’Callaghan gave the defendants 12 hours to remove the mobile home from the green area and gave permission to Cork County Council or its agents to move in with or without assistance from An Garda Siochana to remove it from the site if the defendants have not done so within 12 hours.

He gave Cork County Council permission to sell the mobile home to cover the costs of removing it from the site if the defendants do not remove it themselves, while he adjourned the issue of the caravan remaining on the site until July 13th.

Mr O’Donoghue and Ms O’Driscoll said all they wanted was somewhere with electricity and running water where they could put their mobile home. As Judge O’Callaghan made his order, they left court with Mr O’Donoghue shouting: “Thanks a lot, I hope you get a good night’s sleep tonight.”