First they came for the Muslims, then the Travellers

Tony Gosling tony at
Mon Aug 22 00:12:33 BST 2011

Dale Farm on Channel 4 News tonight

Travellers face mass eviction at Dale Farm
Sunday 21 August 2011 - Channel 4 news
After ten years of legal wrangling, there are 
just ten days left until Basildon District 
Council can forcibly clear one of the largest 
unauthorised traveller sites in Europe.
Half the community at Dale Farm in Essex have 
been told they're living there illegally because 
they don't have planning permission.
They say they've got nowhere else to go - and are 
refusing to leave. The council expect the cost of 
policing the eviction could be more than £18million.
Soon after the end of August Basildon Council's 
bailiffs will move in for what has been called 
the biggest single eviction in peacetime Britain.
The folk who live at the farm are Irish 
travellers. Around eighty of their caravans are 
set to be forcibly cleared off the site. Around 
400 people at Dale Farm don't know how much longer they'll keep their homes.
But the people who live on this site aren't 
squatters. They own the land here, the problem 
the council has with them is that they don't have 
planning permission to live on it.
Of course, the travellers here say that's because 
the council won't give them planning permission.
There may be a certain irony about a group of 
travellers who are refusing to budge. But many 
now appreciate the benefits of a settled life.
Six-year-old Jimmy-Tom Sheridan goes to school 
and is learning to read, which is progress for 
the family. His mum Nora didn't go to school and can't read.
Some have been offered council housing but the 
travellers don't want their community broken up 
and many don't want to live in houses anyway. 
That's always been hard for settled communities to understand.
The Conservative led council insist this is about 
protecting the greenbelt. But the travellers 
can't understand why land that was a scrap yard 
before they bought it can't now be their home.
They say they'll move to another site if one can 
be found but so far the council has not given 
planning permission on the alternative sites that have been offered.

Dale Farm traveller evictions
As Irish travellers face eviction from land they 
own at Dale Farm in Essex - we speak to those who 
want to stay and those who want them out.

Basildon Council estimates it will take 8 weeks to clean up after travellers

+44 (0)7786 952037
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"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

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