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Man with Down syndrome seeks High Court action on housing

A 40-year-old man with Down syndrome who wants to live independently has brought a High Court challenge aimed at compelling Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to assess his suitability for social housing.

The action has been brought by David Johnstone, who resides at his family’s home in Cabinteely in Dublin 18 and for over ten years has been seeking to be assessed by the council for social housing.

The court heard that Mr Johnstone is able to take care of most of his basic needs and would need a degree of full-time assistance to live safely and independently.

While he wants to live independently, he is currently not in a position to do so for financial reasons and has applied to the local authority for housing assistance.

He has claimed that while he was deemed eligible for social housing support in 2012, the council has failed to identify the nature of the support it said was appropriate for him nor has it carried out an assessment of him that complies with the 2009 Housing Act.

Mr Johnstone claims that this delay by the council amounts to a breach of his rights and entitlements by both the council and the State.

As a result, he has brought judicial review proceedings against Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability Integration and Youth, Ireland and the Attorney General.

In his action, Mr Johnstone, represented by Feichín McDonagh SC, instructed by solicitor Pól Ó Murchú, seeks an order compelling the council to complete his social housing assessment.

He also seeks a declaration that by failing to conduct such an assessment the council has failed to comply with its duties under the 2009 Housing Act.

He also seeks declarations that the State respondents have breached the applicant’s legitimate expectation by failing to implement all their commitments to him in respect of his bid to secure independent living and have failed to vindicate his rights.

The matter came before Ms Justice Niamh Hyland, who on an ex-parte basis granted the applicant permission to bring his challenge.

The matter will return before the courts next month.

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