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We’re too sick to move out Irish travellers tell Council

Irish travellers living at the UK's largest travellers' site, are warning that five members of the community threatened with eviction in 12 days are suffering from severe illnesses.

They say that the health of some could worsen should bailiffs move in.

Included in medical reports being prepared by residents and their supporters is the case of one man said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following the death of his eight-year-old son. They say the man had a stroke last Friday and has a heart condition.

Another resident is reported to be suffering from septicaemia in both lungs, as well as bowel cancer, severe asthma, and has a "potentially fatal" case of nasal polyps. A third resident is said to have "diabetes, arthritis, angina and low levels of iron in his blood". He is also reported to have limited mobility and to be suffering from memory loss.

According to the reports, a fourth has kidney and eye problems, while a fifth has been advised by her doctor that her throat cancer may have returned, potentially threatening her life. The woman has been advised to avoid stress and is said to be "agitated" by the prospect of being evicted.

The travellers plan to submit the reports to the local council, arguing that they should be taken into account before the site is cleared by force.

Basildon Council said the travellers, who own the land but do not have planning permission for some of the buildings on it, are to be evicted in the week commencing 19 September.

Reports have suggested that the community had offered to sell the land to the council and go quietly for €7m but were turned down by the council leader, Tony Ball.

One Dale Farm resident, Mary Flynn, applied for an injunction against the evictions in the High Court last week on ground of her own ill health. The community hoped any judgment in her favour would be extended to all 80 of the families living on the site.

However, the judge turned down their application and Basildon Council agreed to give a legal undertaking to review fresh medical evidence relating to Ms Flynn before proceeding against her. She was given seven days to produce a report of her worsening medical condition, which ran out yesterday, and a decision on her case was expected late last night. The community hopes to add the new cases to Ms Flynn's submission.

A spokesman for Basildon Council said the medical submissions would be considered.