A father of four living with his wife and children in a caravan on the side of the road in Mallow said in court yesterday he would move but they were terrified to move to the house offered by Cork County Council.
Kieran Hughes, barrister for the local authority, said at Cork Circuit Court yesterday that the council needed the caravan occupied by Michael and Eileen Dineen and their family to be moved so that they could get access to lands for flood defence.
Mr and Mrs Dineen are on the side of the road on land beside the Tesco carpark at St Patrick’s Place in Mallow.
Mr Hughes said the Dineens had been offered a house in Charleville, Co Cork, but that Mr Dineen said he would not take it.
The barrister reminded the judge that that Mr Dineen had stated previously that he would take any house in Co Cork that the council might offer even if it was on the side of a mountain.
Mr Dineen, 25, addressed Judge David Riordan in court yesterday and said, “I was very grateful for the council to offer us a house. We were delighted. We drove down to Charleville. There was a fire [on the road near the house]. We were approached by a gang — ‘Who are you? What are you doing?’
“We were scared of our lives. I cannot bring my kids up in such a matter.”
Judge Riordan said: “The matter at issue is access by the council to lands for flood defences. The wider issue is the re-housing issue.”
Mr Dineen said: “I would love to leave the land. We have no running water, no electric. We’re there over 12 months. The caravan was flooded twice. We lost everything we have twice.”
Judge Riordan said: “You are on the same side of the argument as the council. The whole reason for the council getting in is to put in flood defences… You cannot say ‘if I don’t get a house to my satisfaction I will not move’.”
Mr Dineen said his caravan was not obstructing the council from getting on to the land and that they were putting this excuse up as a gimmick.
Judge Riordan adjourned the matter to Friday to allow time for the Dineens to meet with the Traveller liaison officer in Cork County Council.
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