A 42-year-old woman who is several months pregnant and is due a baby shortly after Christmas has lost her attempt not to be evicted from her council house in a village in Co Kerry.
Kerry County Council had secured a district court order for repossession of her home in Jun 2011 on the grounds of antisocial behaviour.
The woman has alcohol abuse problems and is dependent on social welfare. She also has mobility problems and shuffles when she walks.
Being evicted from a local authority house on the grounds of antisocial behaviour posed particular difficulties, and the council was no longer obliged to house that person, the court also heard.
Julia Anne Curtin, with an address at Arlington Lodge, a homeless shelter, and who was accompanied by her elderly mother, wept silently as Judge Carroll Moran made his order at the circuit court in Tralee.
The judge said he had no powers under the terms of the 1966 legislation, which was designed to provide an expedient remedy for local authorities in repossession cases.
The woman is now homeless and is not a suitable candidate for a homeless hostel because of her pregnancy, the court heard.
Neighbours in the estate at Cois na hAbhann, Brosna, had complained about her shouting and roaring, but this was not a serious infringement. Drug dealing or drug abuse was not involved and there was no criminal damage, the woman’s barrister Liz Murphy pleaded.
When she got the eviction order she removed most of her possessions. She had not delivered the premises to the council and had continued to pay rent. In effect, she had overpaid her rent to the tune of €3,000 to the council.
Seeking a stay on the order, Ms Murphy called Tom Wall, the manager of Arlington Lodge, as a witness.
Mr Wall said the woman simply did not have the wherewithal to get herself housed and the lodge was not a place where a baby could be accommodated.
In some cases having a baby helped women turn their lives around, it was Mr Wall’s experience.
The council argued against the granting of any stay on the eviction order, saying the court did not have these powers.
Ms Murphy claimed: “Her circumstances are dire. She’s due to give birth in January. It is unjust to evict her regardless of the law on the matter.”
After the court hearing, the woman and her daughter said they were very upset by the decision. However, Kerry County Council’s director of housing, John Breen, welcomed the decision that the council can evict people for antisocial behaviour.
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