Father in court over housing family in caravans on road

A father of five who caused a hazard by parking three caravans on the side of a busy road has claimed he was saving the taxpayer a hefty bill to house his family in a hotel.

Father in court over housing family in caravans on road

By Liam Heylin

A father of five who caused a hazard by parking three caravans on the side of a busy road has claimed he was saving the taxpayer a hefty bill to house his family in a hotel.

Solicitor Joseph Cuddigan said it had cost €40,000 to accommodate Simon Quilligan, aged 49, and his five children for four months at a hotel.

Judge John King asked why he should not jail the accused for the unauthorised parking of his caravans beside the N25 at Little Island.

Judge King said: “As far as he is concerned, in order for him to do what is necessary for his children, everyone else must fall in line with his plan. Is that what he is saying?”

Mr Cuddigan said Mr Quilligan wanted to keep his children in school in the east Cork area and this was an attempt to make this possible.

“His actions were of some ease to the taxpayer. He was four months in a hotel with a bill of €40,000 to the taxpayer,” said Mr Cuddigan.

Sergeant Owen O’Connell said that, on February 7, 2017, he became aware that caravans were parked on the N25 near Little Island.

“I was aware they did not have permission to be there. I served an order on Mr Quilligan to leave within 48 hours and he failed to do so,” said Sgt O’Connell.

Judge John King asked if Mr Quilligan had left the area since then. The sergeant said he had.

Sgt O’Connell said one of the main concerns was that the caravans were parked on one of the main exits to a dual-carriageway and it was unsafe.

Mr Quilligan has previous convictions for crimes, including public order offences and one for assault. He has since moved to another area in Little Island closer to the railway station.

Judge King said that after Cork County Council got an order to get Mr Quilligan off land in Little Island, he had simply moved to another piece of land owned by the council.

“So he has learned nothing. He has done exactly the same thing. Why should I not send him to prison,” asked the judge.

Mr Cuddigan said Mr Quilligan’s overriding concern was to have his children educated.

As for Mr Cuddigan’s point about the cost of accommodating the family in a hotel, Judge King said: “I am not here to try the State.”

The judge said that, on this occasion, he would impose a suspended one-month prison sentence.

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