Solicitor for the Council, Will Leahy
“IT is not good enough to say they have nowhere to go,” Will Leahy, solicitor for Limerick City and County Council said in a case involving a couple living in an illegally parked caravan in Askeaton.
Peter Harty and Savannah Harty, Lismakeera, Askeaton were served with an enforcement notice to remove the caravan last April 12 within a week but had failed to do so. The caravan, Mr Leahy said, was on a piece of ground owned by the council in the middle of Lismakeera Estate.
When Judge Mary Larkin asked why it hadn’t been moved, Liam Carrol BL said Ms Harty was expecting a child and they had nowhere else to go. He asked for a further adjournment.
But Judge Larkin said she found it “absolutely offensive” for anyone to come into court using pregnancy as an excuse. “Do not come in here and say to me “it is not my fault because I am in the family way.”
Mr Carroll said the Hartys had been on the housing list for a year. “They have no options at this particular time,” he said. “They don’t particularly want to live in that place.”
Mr Leahy said the council was under considerable pressure to have the caravan removed. “They are parked on a public green,” he said and there are other people in the estate. “I don’t know where they were residing before. They were obviously residing somewhere. It is not good enough to say we have nowhere else.”
Peter Harty said he couldn’t get a council house or rented house within the last 12 months. He had looked online, he explained but had not gone to an auctioneers. Both his father’s house and his wife’s parents’ houses were full, he said, and he had contacted local councillors and TDs. Their plan on marrying, he continued was to settle down and get a house but their only option was to get a caravan.
“The court’s function is to uphold the law,” Judge Larkin said. She adjourned the case to May 7 but said she wanted evidence of looking for a house.