A homeless asylum seeker with a history of mental health difficulties has brought a High Court challenge against the state’s refusal to provide her with accommodation.
The action has been brought on behalf of a woman, aged in her 20s and is from a Central American country, who the High Court heard on Wednesday has been refused a place to stay because she left the Irish Protection Office (IPO), before a taxi arrived to take her to venue where she would be accommodated.
Her counsel David Leonard Bl, instructed by solicitors acting for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, said that the woman, who cannot communicate in English effectively, left the IPO after being told that no accommodation was available to her.
She had waited for some time in the IPO before leaving, it is claimed.
It is claimed that in an email sent in early May on behalf of the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, who has responsibility for those seeking international protection, stated that she would not be given accommodation because she left the IPO before the taxi arrived.
While the woman is apparently on a “re-accommodation list” counsel said that her situation is precarious.
Over the last number of weeks has been staying on friend’s sofas, but has also spent nights on the streets, she has no family nor close friends in Ireland.
The woman has a history of mental health issues and has been self-harming.
Her condition has been exacerbated, due to her homelessness, it is also claimed.
It is claimed that the Minister has no legal power to withdraw the relevant reception conditions where the person leaves the IPO before the taxi arrives.
They initially came to Ireland on a student visa, but earlier this year applied for international protection, citing a fear to return to her home country because she claims she has been harmed by and is at risk from a former partner, who has a powerful position in well-known and very large criminal gang.
As a result of being left homeless the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has brought judicial review proceedings against the Minister for Integration and the Attorney General.
In her action, she seeks various orders and declarations from the court.
These include orders quashing the Minister’s decision of May 3rd last refusing to provide her with housing, and that the Minister be required to provide her with accommodation.
She also seeks various declarations including that the Minister’s failure to provide her with accommodation is unlawful, and in breach of her EU law rights, the Irish Constitution and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
She further seeks damages for the breach of her rights.
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Her action is one of many brought on behalf of those seeking international protection who were left without accommodation currently before the High Court.
The matter came before Mr Justice Cian Ferriter, who on an ex-parte basis granted the woman’s legal team permission to bring the challenge.
The judge noted that while all persons without accommodation are vulnerable, the evidence before the court was to the effect that the application is in “a particularly vulnerable situation.”
The matter was adjourned to a date in mid-June.