TWO members of the travelling community have been warned they may be fined or sent to prison if they fail to remove two caravans from their home on the outskirts of Rathkeale.
Alfie and Brigid Boswell who live at Enniscoush, Rathkeale gave court undertakings this Tuesday to remove the caravans, which are at the centre of a legal dispute, by February 2, next.
Both appeared before Limerick District Court after Limerick City and County Council initiated proceedings over their non-compliance with an enforcement notice which was served on them under planning laws.
Solicitor Will Leahy, representing the local authority, said the notice was served by hand on the defendants and several other individuals on December 18, last.
He said the council received a large number of complaints in early December after the Boswell’s widened the entrance to their property and replaced their front garden with a hardcore surface.
He said between December 14 and 18, six caravans arrived on the site and that several couples were living in them over Christmas.
Three of the caravans are not longer present at the site.
Mr Leahy said while it is not illegal for householders to park a caravan on their property, it is illegal to live in one.
While a planning application was lodged on December 29 for the retention of the development, it is the council’s position this is not a defence for not complying with the terms of the enforcement notice.
Solicitor Michael O’Donnell said it was one of the “fastest applications” he had come across and he commented that an election must be coming.
He requested an adjournment of the proceedings pending the conclusion of the planning process.
However, Judge Mary Larkin said she was not willing to do that but indicated she would adjourn the matter on the basis of sworn undertakings – given by Alfie and Brigid Boswell – that all but one of the caravans will be removed from their property and that they will not live in the remaining caravan.