Donegal County Council Agrees to Reconsider Housing Application for Traveller Family Following High Court Challenge

Commission Provided Legal Representation to Family

 The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (the ‘Commission’) welcomes the decision by Donegal County Council to agree to quash its decision to defer housing support to a Traveller family, including two children with serious medical needs, who have been living in the County without basic facilities, including running water.

The Commission has provided legal representation to the family in taking the case as the proceedings were particularly concerned with the human rights of children. Under its legal functions set out in Section 40 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, the Commission can, in certain circumstances, provide legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring a matter of human rights or equality of treatment before the Courts. Legal assistance, can take the form of the provision of legal advice; legal representation or other assistance to the applicant as the Commission deems appropriate in the circumstance.

Donegal County Council, following the launch of a High Court challenge in August, has now agreed to an order quashing its original decision, and to reconsider the family’s social housing application. The legal challenge focused on the decision made by the Council to defer the family’s housing application, with an emphasis on the decision-making process, including the fact that the decision was taken without any opportunity for input from the family concerned. The family argued that the deferral of housing was disproportionate and adversely impacted on the rights of their children, such as their right to bodily integrity, to dignity, to freedom from degrading conditions, to nurture and support within the family structure, and to education.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“The Commission welcomes Donegal County Council’s decision, bearing in mind the housing situation of the family, as well as the medical needs of the children, and looks forward to a satisfactory resolution, which respects the family’s human rights.”

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:       

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

Visit our website www.ihrec.ie or follow us on twitter @_IHREC

 

Notes to Editor 

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

Under its legal functions set out in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, the Commission can, in certain circumstances, provide legal assistance to a person who wishes to bring a matter of human rights or equality of treatment before the Courts or the Workplace Relations Commission. Assistance under Section 40 of the Act means any or all of the following:

  1. the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal advice to the applicant;
  2. the provision, or the arranging for the provision of, legal representation to the applicant
  3. the provision of such other assistance to the applicant as the Commission deems appropriate in the circumstances;

 

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