Tuesday, November 15, 2022

High Court reporters

The children of a South African family who challenged their transfer from Co Wicklow to the west have now started schools in their new locality, the High Court has been told.

The family, which is seeking asylum in Ireland on the basis of having allegedly been subjected to “extreme violence” in their native country, brought legal proceedings asking the court to compel the State to return them to the Wicklow hotel in which they were previously accommodated.

Alternatively, they wanted action that would ensure the children could continue to attend their Wicklow schools.

The family cannot be identified as they are asylum seekers.

A hearing of their application for the temporary injunctive orders was due to be heard on Tuesday. However, the family’s barrister, Tony McGillicuddy SC, with Harriet Burgess BL, told the court the children started school that morning.

School provision was his clients’ “primary interest”, he added. The State made an offer of schools and school transport on Monday, counsel said.

Mr McGillicuddy asked for the matter to be adjourned for a week, rather than adjourned for a longer period.

The family wanted to see how the new schools were working out, adding there were other live issues, such as the suitability of the new accommodation in Co Mayo, he added.

The State parties, through their counsel, David Conlan Smyth SC,“strongly” objected to the application being adjourned.

He said the case was about ensuring the children received an education, and it was always the State’s intention to find schools and a bus service. The plaintiffs were essentially asking the court to supervise the school places, he added.

Issues about the suitability of temporary accommodation should be dealt with through local channels in the first instance, Mr Conlan Smyth said.

‘Unprecedented pressure’

Previously, he told the court the family had been moved to Co Mayo amid “unprecedented pressure” on the State’s international protection accommodation system.

Ireland was handling five times the usual number of asylum applications and there was “simply nothing available” for the family in Co Wicklow, he claimed.

On Tuesday, Mr Justice Brian O’Moore said he hoped the court’s early scheduling of the application assisted the parties in making “very significant progress”.

He said he was not going to micromanage the school positions, adding he was glad the family’s counsel was not asking the court to do so.

The judge said the case did not require an immediate return date, scheduling the matter for December 1st.

The mother in the family said in a sworn statement there was ineffective state protection in South Africa to deal with the “extreme violence” being levelled against them. They arrived in Ireland in July and settled into life at the Co Wicklow hotel where they were placed, she said.

The woman claims they received less than a week’s notice before being moved in mid-October to a roofless cubicle in the “freezing” gymnasium of a hotel in Co Mayo.

The family claims the decision to move them was “irrational” and breached their rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case is against the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, the Minister for Justice, the Minister for Education, Ireland, and the Attorney General.

Comments are closed.

Contact Newsdesk: +353 59 9170100

More National News