Travellers vow to fight back after site eviction is ordered
Published 03/09/2011 | 05:00
ON a week bristling with international headlines, the story of 400 Irish Travellers who failed to stop a High Court eviction brought Britain's national media to a quiet corner of Essex.
Journalists descended on the illegal Traveller halting site known as Dale Farm, after the last play in a long legal battle.
On Wednesday, Basildon Council granted the residents a final week's notice pending information on the medical condition of a number of residents on site.
They have asked the Travellers to leave Dale Farm voluntarily but many of illegally camped residents plan to fight a forceful removal, which could cost the British taxpayer nearly £10m (€11.4m).
Situated in a quiet corner of Essex, Dale Farm was originally an old scrap yard bought by Traveller families, who then sold portions to others. Planning permission was granted to more than 40 sites, but illegal dwellings have since encroached on neighbouring farmland.
Today, the site is home to an estimated 84 families, many of whom have surnames including McCarthy, O'Brien and Sheridan.
The original sites that have planning permission will remain -- but the other homes will be removed.
Richard Sheridan is the president of the Gypsy Council on Dale Farm. He has been living there for more than 10 years.
He said the residents would not leave their homes voluntarily.
"When the bailiffs come, we're not going to invite them in for tea and cake. They won't be getting any welcome," he said.