A judge said he is reluctant to break up a family and has adjourned an application by Kerry County Council to “exclude” the father, on the basis of “antisocial behaviour” related to two criminal offences in a housing estate.
The application, at Killarney District Court, was for three years.
The family would not get a transfer to a larger house, because the father would not be accepted by the council as a named occupier. Five children were all sleeping in one room.
In the first such application governing the old local authority area of Killarney, Kerry County Council sought to exclude John O’Regan from 16 Willow Grove, Ballydribbeen, the home he shared with council tenant, Lisa McCarthy, and their children.
He had become a named occupier 13 years ago. The application was moved because of two criminal convictions. One was in 2015 for sale and supply of drugs relating to 2013 and for which he received a suspended sentence. The other conviction was in relation to an assault involving a neighbour and obstruction of garda. Sgt John Ryan, of Killarney, gave evidence, but said this “very savage incident” had been out of character.
Housing liaison officer, Sean McCarthy, said there had been “numerous” verbal complaints from neighbours in relation to the violent incident of February 2017, but they were reluctant and afraid to give evidence or put any complaint in writing. The two offences led the council to seek the exclusion order.
Ms McCarthy said the couple had five children together and she had two older daughters. The five young children were all in one room, where there was one double bed, a single bunk over this, and a mattress on the ground. An older daughter was on the couch in the sitting room.
“I don’t want John to be put out of the house. We do everything together. He’s a great dad. I rely on him for everything,” she said.
Judge John King said antisocial behaviour had taken place. However, he asked the council to find an alternative to the exclusion order. The council said they would consider an exclusion of less than three years. However, Judge King said: “I am very reluctant to break up a family, no matter what the circumstances.”
The council then applied for an adjournment for 12 months and this was granted.
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