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Westport tenant says eviction effort is breach of human rights

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Tenant says eviction application is breach of human rights


AN APPLICATION by Westport Town Council seeking to evict a man from a local authority house is a breach of his human rights under European law, according to his solicitor.
The application brought by the local authority sought recovery of possession of a house, namely 1 St Mary’s Villas, Newport Road, Westport, after the tenant John Collins refused to give up the tenancy last November.
Staff from Westport Town Council were present in Westport District Court last week to give evidence against Mr Collins, and solicitor Sheila Ryan said they were ready to go ahead with the case.
However, Mr James Ward, solicitor for Mr Collins, said the case was not going ahead and indicated that if the Council proceeded, he would have no alternative but to take High Court action.
He explained that Section 62 of the Housing Act, which the Council were taking against his client, was dealt with in the Supreme Court last year. The Supreme Court found the section contravened the European Convention of Human Rights.
Mr Ward said a ‘whole army’ of Town Council staff was ‘suited and booted’ in court and they [he and Mr Collins] were told nothing. He added they had not been furnished with any statements other than a statement from the council to say there was ‘ongoing concern about the occasional use of the property’, which he said was also highlighted in the media.
Ms Ryan said there were ongoing problems, and that the council had ‘bent over backwards’ for Mr Collins. He also said that the Supreme Court case was ‘completely different’ from this one.
Mr Ward sought an adjournment, and the application was granted by Judge Mary Devins for her to consider the situation and the law in respect to the issue. The case was adjourned for mention on March 7.