Man facing prison for second time because he can find nowhere to live

Judge Carol Ann Coolican.

AN ELDERLY Limerick man who has already been jailed once for not obeying a court order to take his mobile home off a site without planning permission is still living in it, a Judge was told.

William Hourigan who is living in the mobile home at Coolrahanree, Gurt, in Askeaton, told Judge Carol Ann Coolican that he has not been able to find somewhere else to live, despite facing imprisonment for a second time.

Limerick City and County Council brought the case against Mr Hourigan in Newcastle West District Court.

Mr Hourigan was previously jailed for failing to obey a court order and move off the land.

Solicitor for the local authority Will Leahy said that he had checked on Mr Hourigan’s claim that he is on the Council’s housing waiting list for three years but could not find his name there.

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In any event, he told Judge Coolican, a single man living alone would not be a high priority for housing.

The man’s solicitor, Michael O’Donnell, said his client’s situation “is dire.”

He explained that a friend of the accused had offered to let him move the mobile onto his land but backed down when he realised that the Council would then likely take a prosecution against him.

Taking the witness stand, Mr Hourigan told the Judge “I have no family. I don’t want to be there (on the site) but I’m on the housing list three years now and there’s nothing there for me.”

He added that he was finding it impossible to get rented accommodation.

“I’ll have to look at going to a hostel or something,” he said.

Judge Coolican asked if he understood that he could go back to prison and she could fine him €500 a day for every day he fails to obey the court order and get himself and the mobile home off the site.

She said the issue “goes back to 2018. I do understand that there’s a housing crisis but this case has been going on for five years.”

She put the matter back to June 6 to give Mr Hourigan further time to make other arrangements.