Irish Chaplaincy defends Travellers under threat of eviction

The Irish Chaplaincy in Britain have joined the campaign against the eviction of Irish Travellers from the Dale Farm site in Essex at a cost of £18million. The campaign brings together a number of prominent traveller rights organisations in the UK, under the Banner of ‘Traveller Support Network, to protest at plans to evict more than 90 families from their homes at Dale Farm near Basildon in Essex.

The case has attracted national media attention, featuring in two UK national newspapers. While eviction of Travellers from their homes while not providing an alternative, has become all to common, the case of Dale Farm has become particularly notorious as the families on the site actually own the land that Basildon Council proposes to evict them from, although they have built on the land without the appropriate planning permission.

Research from the ICB, and available on the charities website highlights the lower life expectancy among Irish travellers, with members of the community likely to live up to a decade less than the national average.

Despite central government offering alternative land to the council to house the travellers, the local Basildon council have not offered any alternative arrangement for the 90 families affected. The land on which the travellers settled was a disused scrap metal yard and tyre company premises. Having began life as a scrapyard the site is now a sea of manicured lawns and cheerful, friendly children, as a genuine community has taken root

The campaign to save the homes of the Dale Farm residents will move into its next phase with the council having voted to approve a plan to issue a 28 day notice feviction to the community in the coming weeks.

Joe Boyce, who has been leading the campaign on behalf of the ICB said:"Its ridiculous that at a time when council’s across Britain say their budgets are being squeezed, that Basildon Council can find £18million to throw 90 families off the land they legally own.  This is the biggest eviction British history, and comes at a time when other services are being cut. There has been opportunity for the council to reach a humanitarian compromise, but they have shown no willingness to do so. This is social cleansing. “

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