Updated: 20/09/17 : 08:12:15
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Traveller family win action against Donegal council

A family living without basic services including running water have succeeded in reversing Donegal County Council’s decision to defer offering them social housing support.

Brian and Eileen Ward and their five children had sued the council after it decided not to offer them housing support on the grounds they presented an unacceptable risk of anti-social behaviour.


The Irish Times reports that he family are members of the Irish Travelling community and are currently living in a caravan at Shore Front, Bundoran. Two of the Ward children have medical needs,

They had challenged the council’s decision in the High Court, claiming it was flawed because irrelevant considerations had been taken into account.

The matter returned before the High Court on Tuesday, when barrister Mark Lynam, who appeared for the Wards with solicitors for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, told Judge Anthony Barr that the council had agreed to reverse its decision and will reconsider the Wards’ application for housing support.

Fintan Valentine, counsel for the local authority, said the order could be quashed on consent and that his client had acted “with expedition” after the case had been brought to court. The judge then struck out the proceedings.

Application

Previously, the High Court heard the family, supported by the Child and Family Agency, which voiced concerns over the Wards’ living conditions, had applied to Donegal County Council for social housing support.

They currently have no running water and a limited use of a generator and had tried unsuccessfully to secure private rented accommodation.

In March last, they had been told by the council they were at risk of engaging in anti-social behaviour and any offer of housing had been deferred.