Woman brings High Court challenge against Donegal County Council's decision to suspend her from its housing list

Woman brings High Court challenge against Donegal County Council's decision to suspend her from its housing list

A 66-year-old woman has brought a High Court challenge against Donegal Co Coouncil's decision to suspend her from its housing allocation list. 

The action has been brought by Ms Elizabeth Crumlish, who is a member of the Irish Travelling Community. 

Ms Crumlish, who has spent most of her life in Co Donegal has been on the council's housing list since 2003.

The court heard that she had applied to the council for housing or to be accommodated at a halting site in the Bridgend or Burnfoot areas of Co Donegal.

Earlier this year the Council decided to suspend her from its housing application list for a period of one year on the basis that she had refused to accept what it says are two reasonable offers of accommodation.   

The suspension of a person's application for housing following two refusals is provided for in the Council's 2011 Housing Allocation Scheme.

In High Court judicial review proceedings Ms Crumlish, represented by Nora Ni Loinsigh Bl and instructed by FLAC, has challenged her suspension on the basis the offers were not in any sense reasonable. 

The council had twice offered Ms Crumlish single bedroomed houses in Letterkenny, which is some distance away from the areas where she had asked to be accommodated. 

Ms Crumlish had also sought Traveller Specific Accommodation on a halting site, which the council had also acknowledged.    

In her action against the Council, she seeks an order quashing the decision to suspend her from its housing application list. 

She also seeks declarations that the decision was made without lawful authority, resulted from an unlawful fettering of a statutory discretion, and was irrational and based on irrelevant considerations.  

She further seeks a declaration that the decision to suspend her amounts to a failure by the local authority to vindicate her constitutional rights and rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. 

Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex parte basis, by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan. 

The judge made the matter returnable to a date in July. 

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