Couple accused of anti-social behaviour now in emergency accommodation, court told

By Ann O'Loughlin

A couple with four children who had to leave an apartment complex operated by a housing association due to their alleged anti-social behaviour are now residing in emergency accommodation, the High Court has heard.

Sophia Housing Association has brought proceedings against Derek Smith and Elena Hinchon, who is pregnant and who were tenants at an apartment complex run by the Sophia Housing Association at Cork Street in Dublin 8.

Derek Smith leaving the High Court in Dublin.

Last August the Association secured an injunction requiring the couple and their family to vacate the apartment and an order preventing them from intimidating or threatening the Association's staff or agents.

The matter returned before the court on several occasions since.

The Association brought attachment and committal proceedings against the couple due to their initial refusal to leave the property and comply with the orders.

The couple, who had represented themselves, denied the claims.

Mr Smith told the court what was being said about him were "lies".

They agreed to leave the premises in recent days.

However, the matter came back before the court today after Barra Faughnan Bl for Sophia Housing Association said the family had come back to the complex.

The Association staff were told by the couple they were guests of other people living in another apartment in the complex.

Counsel said the defendants had no entitlement to be on the premises, and argued they were in breach of the spirit of undertakings previous given to the court.

Counsel said the Association did not want to see anyone jailed, but wanted the couple out of the premises.

Mr Smith, who was brought to the court by members of the Garda Siochana, said he was prepared to stay away from the premises.

He said that they had left clothing and other items with their former neighbours in the apartment complex, which they required.

Mr Smith said his family are currently staying in emergency accommodation provided by the local authority and had to move from place to place every night, which presented a difficulty in what to do with their possessions.

He said that they had spent a night in a room provided for them that was so small there was no space for their child's pram.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello expressed concern about the family's situation and said they were not like a snail who could move from place to place with their house on their back.

She asked if enquiries could be made in regards to the storage of the family's belongings.

Following a brief adjournment, Mr Faughnan told the court that it was agreed the couple could return to the complex and collect their items over the next few days.

Sophia Housing Association would also provide the family with some money to go towards the cost of storing their personal items.

The Judge welcomed what she said was a generous offered by the Association.

She also told Mr Smith that while he and his family were in an unfortunate situation it had come about due to the couple's behaviour.

The case was adjourned to a date later this month.

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