10 Aug 2022

Couples face jail unless they vacate unofficial Tipperary halting site

Tipperary Dublin Couples face the prospect of being jailed for contempt unless they vacate unofficial halting site

Couples face jail unless they vacate unofficial Tipperary halting site

Two couples face the prospect of being jailed if they fail to vacate an unofficial halting in County Tipperary by Thursday of next week.  

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds had in early July made orders in favour of Tipperary County Council against several persons whose presence at Cabragh Bridge, Cabragh, Thurles, it is alleged constitutes a public nuisance.   

The court heard that some of the persons at the side had moved on in compliance with the orders, but that two couples remained at the site in contempt of the court's orders. 

Arising out of their failure to move, the council represented by Karina Kinsella Bl has brought a motion seeking the attachment and committal to prison of William and Elizabeth McCarthy and John and Winnie McCarthy.   

When the matter returned before the High Court on Wednesday, the judge said that she was prepared to adjourn the case to next week to give the defendant's a final chance to comply with the orders. 

The McCarthy's had until 5 pm next Thursday (August 8) to vacate the site or face the prospect of being jailed for contempt. In the alternative, the judge said that McCarthy's could seek to obtain legal advice in the matter.

While the defendants had been served with the orders, the judge said she was not fully satisfied that the implications of non-compliance had been properly explained to the McCarthys.

The judge noted that two of the defendants, Winnie and Elizabeth McCarthy, had made themselves known to the court at the call-over, but had left by the time the case was called on. 

The injunctions require the defendants to remove their mobile homes, vehicles and caravans from Cabragh Bridge, and not cause any obstruction to the roadway. 

The defendants are also required to vacate and cease residing on or anywhere in the vicinity of Cabragh Bridge, which it says is an inappropriate and unsuitable place to reside. 

The court had also heard that the defendants have been offered alternative accommodation, including at another halting site which was relatively close to the Cabragh Bridge by the local authority. While that was rejected by the defendants, the council's offer of alternative accommodation "remained open".

Tipperary County Council has made provision for Travellers who had resided on the bridge to be accommodated in a six-unit group housing scheme, which is now ready for occupation. 

However, the defendants in this action, who it claims moved to the site on various dates between 2015 and September 2018, are not being accommodated in the new scheme.

The council has offered the defendants help in securing alternative accommodation, but says it needs the site at Cabragh Bridge cleared.

The council added that it asked the defendants to leave the site, but they did not do so.

The council said that in light of the refusal, it had no alternative other than to bring legal proceedings against the defendants.

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