The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal brought by two members of the Travelling Community against an order requiring them to vacate local authority owned lands in Ennis.

In October of 2019, Clare County Council secured an injunction which required Helen and Bernard McDonagh along with their family to vacate and remove their caravans and mobile homes from a site at Cahercallamore in Ennis.

They had been on site for up to a year until the injunction was obtained. The Council claimed the McDonaghs breached planning laws and had no entitlement to be on the lands.

This High Court decision was appealed by the McDonagh family to the Court of Appeal who upheld the ruling in November 2020. The McDonaghs who say they have nowhere else to go lodged a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

In a recent determination the Supreme Court granted the McDonaghs permission to have their appeal heard by it and outlined that the case raised of public importance. The Supreme Court said it will consider questions whether a housing authority in the position of the Council is obliged to consider the impact of removal on persons such as the applicants.

The Court will also hear an argument on whether the council should have considered the McDonaghs prospects for obtaining lawful accommodation elsewhere, as well as council’s own interests, powers and obligations as a landowner and as housing and planning authority.

When the matter was previously before the High Court the Council claimed that several members of the McDonagh family had failed to comply with the terms of the injunction. Arising out of their failure to vacate the site the council brought further proceedings seeking the McDonagh’s attachment and possible committal to prison for contempt.

Clare County Council’s initial action against the McDonaghs arose out of related proceedings where the local authority sought to have the McDonagh’s vacate another site in Ennis, which they had previously resided at before it was destroyed by a fire in 2012.

The Council, which claimed the site was unsuitable, brought High Court proceedings against the McDonaghs in 2017 over their presence at that location. The McDonaghs eventually moved from that site to the site at Cahercallamore in August 2018, resulting in the council’s taking another set of High Court proceedings.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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