Kildare County Council accused of forcing family to sleep rough

A young mother and her toddler children face having to sleep rough because a local authority has refused to provide them with emergency accommodation.
Kildare County Council accused of forcing family to sleep rough

The family went to the High Court yesterday in a bid to force Kildare County Council to provide them with accommodation.

In a sworn statement, the mother, aged in her 20s, told the High Court she feared the “detrimental effects” that being “forced to sleep rough” would have on her two children and said she was “at cracking point”.

The mother and her children, who are under three years of age, cannot be named for legal reasons.

They have mounted a legal challenge against Kildare Co Council seeking orders, including one quashing the council’s decision to refuse them accommodation. The mother also wants the court to direct the council to reconsider the family’s application.

Through her lawyers, she claims the refusal is unlawful on grounds including that no proper reasons were given by the council for its decision.

Represented by Teresa Blake, the High Court heard the family were living in private rented accommodation with the mother’s former partner until October 2015.

After the relationship ended, the woman and her children had been staying at different locations with friends and relatives.

That, the court heard, was only meant to be a temporary measure. However, the family have been unable to secure alternative accommodation.

The mother attended at Kildare County Council’s offices on January 6, 7, and 8, seeking emergency accommodation. On the third day, she was told the application had been turned down.

Ms Blake said the family were given no reasons why they were not suitable for emergency accommodation.

She said the failure to provide the family with somewhere to stay amounts to a breach of the local authority’s own accommodation scheme as well as a breach of their constitutional rights.

While the woman is in receipt of various State allowances, she could only find three suitable properties for her and her children that were within her price ranges.

However, none of the owners of these properties would take persons in receipt of rent allowance, she claimed.

The woman also said she has been on the council’s housing list for some years, and went on the list prior to her children being born.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted by Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy. The case will come before the court again on Thursday.

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