Injunction sought in County Limerick caravan case

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Caravans parked in the  River View Estate, Kilmallock, this week. [Picture: Michael Cowhey]
A HIGH Court injunction is to be sought preventing the removal of a number of caravans illegally parked in a Kilmallock housing estate.

A HIGH Court injunction is to be sought preventing the removal of a number of caravans illegally parked in a Kilmallock housing estate.

Limerick County Council has brought prosecutions against four members of the same family in connection with the caravans in the Riverview estate, which have been parked illegally in a green area “for a considerable number of months”, causing “great distress” for locals.

However, a County Limerick court was told this week that Arthur, Pamela, Kathleen and Martin Jnr McDonagh, the occupants of the caravans, plan to bring a case to the High Court next Monday claiming that the council’s housing section “has not met their needs” and that they have been forced, as a result, to park their caravans illegally.

Speaking at Newcastle West court solicitor Will Leahy, prosecuting on behalf of the county council, said that the McDonaghs have made it known through a Dublin-based solicitor that they intend to seek a judicial review by the High Court of the council’s housing policy. The court also heard that the McDonaghs also intend to seek an injunction preventing the local District Court from hearing any prosecution against them while this review is pending.

Solicitor Robert Cussen, acting as agent for the McDonaghs’ Dublin solicitor, confirmed that there are “papers prepared” and ready to be lodged with the High Court next Monday.

Mr Cussen said that the McDonaghs’ solicitor is “of the opinion that their clients would not need to be illegally parked” if the council had discharged its responsibilities to them as the housing authority.

Mr Leahy said that the prosecution against married couple Arthur and Pamela McDonagh and their son Martin Jnr and his wife Kathleen stems from an issue that has been of “great distress” to Riverview residents “for a considerable number of months”.

Mr Leahy said that as well as illegally parking their caravans in the estate, the council also alleges that the McDonaghs have removed and then replaced a barrier erected by the council specifically to block temporary dwellings.

The court heard that both families are on the council’s housing list: Arthur and Pamela McDonagh are “at the top” of the list, while Martin Jnr and Kathleen, who are newlyweds, “are at the bottom”.

Mr Leahy said that Arthur and Pamela McDonagh were offered a house, and while this “hasn’t officially been refused”, he has interpreted from their solicitor’s correspondence “that they are not satisfied”.

“Both of the families qualify for rent supplement, but choose to live in an illegal halting site in the middle of a council housing estate”, Mr Leahy said.

Judge Mary Larkin said that she was “slightly surprised” that the defence had not furnished her with any documentation regarding their High Court challenge.

She said that she would adjourn the case for one month, by which time the High Court challenge would have either run its course, or an injunction would be in place.

She adjourned the case until June 4, but warned “if there is no evidence of an injunction, it will be proceeding”.