Mobile home occupants to have a say

A judge has refused an application from Cork County Council for an ex parte interim injunction granting the local authority powers to remove a mobile home from a green area in Fermoy, and has adjourned the matter until Friday to allow the occupants to have their say in court.

Beechfield residents protest the arrival of the mobile home.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan yesterday ruled that Emma O’Driscoll and Jason O’Donoghue, who live with their three children in a mobile home on the green area of Beechfield Estate in Fermoy, should be informed of any proceedings.

The couple were not represented in court yesterday when Donnchadh McCarthy BL, on behalf of Cork County Council, said that the family had lived in a caravan on the green at the rear of Mr O’Donoghue’s father’s house for two years.

However, Mr McCarthy said the arrival of a larger mobile home on the green last week caused “considerable disquiet” among residents.

He said the arrival of the mobile home had “exacerbated” relations between the family and the residents of Beechfield Estate, which has led to a “stand-off”.

He told Judge O’Callaghan that the council was seeking interim injunctions that would require the defendants to cease trespassing on the green, and to remove their mobile home and caravan, or would empower the council to do so.

Mr McCarthy said there was an “escalating situation” in the estate where residents had maintained an all-night vigil after the arrival of the mobile home last week, and that there were concerns that the stand-off could lead to a “dangerous situation”.

However, Judge O’Callaghan noted that correspondence between the county council and the defendants has been ongoing since July 2017.

He also said that he had to be conscious of the fact that there are children involved in the situation, and that given all of the circumstances he believed it was more appropriate that a notice of motion be issued to the defendants informing them of the proceedings.

Mr McCarthy said that Cork County Council was “very concerned” that there would be a serious disturbance if the matter was not dealt with soon.

The matter will come before the court again on Friday, and Judge O’Callaghan ordered that Ms O’Driscoll and Mr O’Donoghue be issued with the notice in person.

Last week Ms O’Driscoll told the Irish Examiner that concerns for the health of her youngest child, a five-month-old girl, prompted the move from a smaller, damp caravan to the larger mobile home unit.

Residents at Beechfield Estate have blocked in the truck used to deliver the mobile home, and say they will not allow it to leave unless the mobile home goes with it.

The residents say that they are concerned that the green will be turned into a halting site.

The matter was discussed at a behind-closed-doors meeting of local councillors on Monday.

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