A family who moved in to a vacant council house without permission have been told to leave by the High Court. 

Longford Co Council yesterday secured orders against John Paul Doyle, his wife Frances and their children in respect of a three- bedroom house at Casey Court, Kenagh, Co Longford which they moved into changing the locks some weeks ago.

The court made the orders after being informed the family was not accepting alternative accommodation outside Longford. The couple said there is no way they will take the four-bedroom house offered to them.

Mr Doyle says the house is unsuitable for the couple who have six children as it had no back garden and is located close to a busy road. They also had concerns about fumes from a nearby garage. The council, which had made arrangements for a fence to put around the alternative accommodation, said they had “bent over backwards” and “can do no more” to help the Doyles.

Paul Gunning for the council said under housing guidelines they could not offer the house in Kenagh to the Doyles. Mr Gunning also rejected claims made in court by Mr Doyle that the family was being treated differently because they are Travellers.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan, who described the situation as unfortunate, said he had no alternative but to apply the law and make an order compelling the family to leave the house .

The Doyles, the judge said had already acknowledged in a letter submitted to the court that they had no right to be in the house in Kenagh. The judge having listened to the Doyles’ concerns urged them to take some time to reconsider the council’s offer of alternative accommodation and adjourned the case for an hour.

When the case resumed the Doyles, who said they had nowhere to go, told the judge they had not changed their minds. Mrs Doyle said that house was not safe for her children, and that “a mother knows best”. Mr Doyle said he was prepared to go to prison if it meant that his family would get housed by the council.

The judge put a stay of eight weeks on his order, and expressed the hope that some arrangement could be reached


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