October 5, 2022

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A High Court judge has directed gardaí to arrest and bring to court next week a 75-year-old man who has ignored orders directing him to facilitate an inspection of his charitable organisation home.

Earlier this week the court had heard of the serious concerns of a housing aid group for the safety and welfare of some of its elderly tenants because of a build-up of rubbish, food waste and a potential rodent infestation in one of its apartments.

Barrister Andrew Whelan said tenant Patrick Murtagh had refused access to Cabhrú Housing Association, formerly the Catholic Housing Aid Society, and gardaí to check out the risk and state of his apartment.

Mr Whelan, who appeared with Ronan Killeen of Killeen Solicitors for Cabhrú, had been granted leave for short service on Mr Murtagh, of 88 Ignatius Nordell House, Greenville Street, Dublin 1, seeking his attachment and committal to prison. Mr Justice Garrett Simons on Thursday ordered he be brought to court on Monday.

The court will be asked to commit Mr Murtagh to prison in the event of his continuing to refuse access to his apartment.

Mr Whelan told Judge Simons that Mr Murtagh continued to ignore court orders directing him to grant the association’s staff and gardaí access for inspection purposes, repairs and removal of waste and detritus.

Earlier this week Mr Justice Mark Sanfey had been told the registered charity had been providing housing for Dublin citizens over 70 for more than 50 years and had 179 accommodation units throughout the city.

Audrey Stewart, tenant liaison officer for Cabhrú, which is attached to Fr Scully House, Middle Gardiner Street, Dublin, had told Judge Sanfey that Mr Murtagh, since taking up residence in Ignatius Nordell House in May 2015, had rejected a HSE cleaning and care package after refusing access to helpers and cleaners.

She believed there was a need for extensive cleaning and refurbishment and Dublin City Council had agreed to provide Mr Murtagh with temporary accommodation to facilitate the work.

Mr Whelan told Judge Sanfey there were now serious safety concerns regarding the state of Mr Murtagh’s accommodation with reports of mounting rubbish, smelly food waste, and animal and rodent droppings.

“Mr Murtagh has failed to comply with High Court orders granted earlier this month to allow access and there is a health and safety risk to other tenants, all in their 70s,” Mr Whelan said.

Judge Sanfey, in granting leave to serve short notice of the proposed attachment and committal, said it was an unfortunate case but with regard to the safety of other residents it was clear existing High Court orders directing access should have been obeyed by Mr Murtagh.

He said that considering the age of Mr Murtagh and other residents it would be appropriate if possible that forced entry into his apartment could be avoided and he hoped the matter could be resolved.

Mr Whelan said the charity already had an order directing access but Cabhrú had not gone down the road of forced entry. Existing court orders had been pinned to his door and pushed through his letter box in the presence of a community garda but there had been no response.

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