Homeless double amputee and his family granted leave to challenge social-supports ruling

A Romanian family who have failed the right to reside test and so cannot receive social supports in this country were today granted leave by the High Court to bring a legal challenge.

Mr Justice Charles Meenan was told tragic events overtook the family who came to this country in December 2016 when the father, who was a diabetic and had already lost a leg, had to have the second one amputated and is currently in hospital. His family, the court was told, is now homeless and the father cannot be discharged from hospital because he has nowhere to stay.

In an affidavit to the court, Mr Ioan Razneas said he never intended their move to Ireland from Romania would end up in such a catastrophic situation. He expected to find work adequate to support his family. He said the situation for himself and his family is now one of "complete destitution and desperation".

Ioan Razneas, who is disabled, along with his wife Anisoara Anghel and their two children Marian and Antonia are seeking an order quashing the decision this month to disallow their appeal over the non-payment of disability allowance and job seekers allowance.

They also seek a declaration that application of the right to reside test, in this case, is contrary to EU law and that Ms Anisoara Anghel, as a job seeker, has a right to reside here. They also seek a declaration that there was an error in law in determining Ms Anghel was not a worker for the purpose of EU law during the period of a month in which she did a work placement.

The case is against the chief appeals officer, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, and the State. The Human Rights and Equality Commission is a notice party to the proceedings.

In an affidavit to the court, Mr Ioan Razneas, who is currently in Tallaght Hospital, said he and his wife and one child came to Ireland in December 2016. Another child was born here and their three older children are with their grandparents in Romania. He said he and his wife are Roma, an ethnic minority in Romania.

Mr Razneas, who previously had a leg amputated, became unwell after coming to Ireland and his second leg had to amputated due to infection. He understands the only reason he has not been discharged from hospital is because he has no suitable accommodation.

He said in the last two weeks his wife and children had to present as homeless and the family are not eligible to be placed on the housing list in the absence of at least having one social welfare payment.

Mr Razneas said the family cannot return to Romania as there is nothing there for them and they would only face destitution and discrimination.

He said the loss of his second leg was unforeseen and there had been a failure to take this into account in constantly refusing himself and his family some income to survive until his wife can secure work or he is sufficiently rehabilitated to secure work.

Mr Razneas said his greatest concern is the fate of his two children who, he said, are "now condemned to poverty and exclusion if they remain in Ireland", which was exactly the fate which he said he wanted to avoid for them in coming to this country and leaving Romania.

Mr Justice Meenan granted leave to bring the challenge and the case was adjourned to April.

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