Traveller Law Database

C & Ors v. Galway County Council [2017] IEHC 784  

Date of Decision: Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Decision Making Body: High Court
Law Applied: Bunreacht na hÉireann, European Convention on Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003, Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, Housing Act, 1988
Keywords: Article 8 ECHR, Emergency Accommodation, Educational Needs, Constitutional Rights, Accommodation, Right to Education
Full Case Details - Download Full Judgment (pdf)

This case concerned an application to the High Court to quash a decision to cease emergency accommodation following a refusal of an offer for transitional accommodation. The High Court held that the applicant failed to establish grounds for the reversal of the decision.  


The first named applicant is a single of mother of five children (who are the other applicants in the case). They are all members of the Traveller Community. The sixth applicant has autism and other medical and intellectual problems and requires educational, development and medical supports. The family had been living in the Galway City area.  

The applicants were placed in emergency accommodation from February 2017 until July 2017 after presenting themselves as homeless. The applicants had applied to be placed on the housing list in 2010. In June 2017, the applicants were offered a house by Galway County Council as transitional accommodation. It was not located in Galway City but was the only suitable accommodation available at the time.  The applicants refused the accommodation on the basis that there was not similar educational provision for the sixth named applicant as it was only available two or three days a week and not five days a week as it was in Galway City. The respondent, Galway County Council, stated that the refusal of a reasonable offer of accommodation resulted in them ceasing provision of emergency accommodation.  


The applicants wished for the decision to withdraw emergency accommodation to be quashed on the basis that it was a breach of their constitutional rights under the Irish Constitution and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which protects the right to private and family life and recognises the rights of Travellers to culturally appropriate accommodation.  

The applicants further claimed that the respondent failed to properly evaluate their housing and education needs under s.22 of the Housing Act 2009, s.10 of the Housing Act 1998 and the ECHR. The applicants also asserted withdrawing the emergency accommodation was a failure to make proper provision for the education needs of the sixth applicant and in breach of Article 42 of the Constitution (the right to education) and in doing so the respondent failed to have regard to the applicant family’s vulnerable status.  


The judge held that the County Council should have regard to the constitutional rights that were brought froward by the applicant. However, it was held that the respondent was justified in their decision to cease the provision of emergency accommodation due to the fact that reasonable accommodation was offered, under s.2 and s.10 of the Housing Act 1998. The judge stated that the respondent did, to the best of its ability, accommodate the needs of the applicants with the resources available to them. The judge was satisfied that the applicant had provided sufficient evidence to show that the respondent had breached the applicant’s rights under the Irish Constitution or the ECHR nor to prove that the decision to withdraw emergency accommodation was unlawful or irrational.  


The judge held that the applicant failed to establish grounds to quash the decisions by the respondent.  

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