An application to jail the father of a family who illegally moved into a vacant local authority house in Co Longford, for alleged contempt of court orders, has been adjourned to facilitate settlement talks.

Longford County Council had sought John Paul Doyle’s committal to prison over his and his family’s failure to vacate a three bedroom house at Casey Court, Kenagh, Co Longford.

The High Court heard the Doyles had moved into the property without permission and changed the locks earlier this year.

In May, the council secured an injunction directing Mr Doyle, his wife Frances, and their family, who say they have no place to go, to leave the house. The council says it is not suitable for the Doyles’ needs.

The court made the orders after having been informed the family was not accepting alternative accommodation in a four-bedroomed house at Stonepark.

The case had previously been adjourned by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan in July so an intermediary could help resolve the dispute.

When the action returned before Mr Justice Anthony Barr on Monday, barrister Paul Gunning, for the local authority, said the matter could be adjourned for a week as talks between the parties continued.

Mr Gunning said while no agreement had been reached it was hoped the action could be finalised in the coming days and Mr Doyle, who was in court and representing himself, would not have to come to court. Judge Barr agreed to the adjournment.

The council sought to have Mr Doyle committed to prison for alleged contempt of court because, despite having been given time, he and his family had failed to leave the house in Kenagh.

Previously, Mr Doyle told the court the alternative property was unsuitable for their needs, particularly in regards to their children’s health concerns.

In July, Mr Justice Gilligan urged the parties to mediate the dispute. However, he did warn Mr Doyle that the family could not stay in the house in Kenagh.

The court previously heard the Doyles had been in private accommodation but had to leave after their landlord decided to retain the property for his own use.


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