Dale Farm Eviction Protest
Since Basildon council in the UK announced its intention to forcibly evict the 86 families living on the Dale Farm site in Essex, there has been growing international opposition to such evictions.
A letter, from an UN convened International Expert Group Meeting on Forced Evictions and signed by representatives from over 30 countries, was received by the residents of Dale Farm. It stated that "Repressive policies targeting Gypsies and Travellers disguised as planning regulations are discriminatory, whilst inclusive national strategies that are in line with human rights standards generate real progress in addressing issues of exclusion and marginalisation."
On Friday the 16th of September, a protest organised by Minchéirs Whiden (Ireland’s Traveller only forum) took place outside the British Embassy in Dublin. This was a lively protest with plenty of chanting. There appeared to be good support from passersby. A good crowd of about 30 people gathered to voice their concerns at the approach adopted by the council and the threat to evict all Travellers from the Dale Farm site.
Hannagh McGinley, a Traveller and Educator, handed a letter of protest from Minchéirs Whiden in to the Embassy.
Dale farm started life in the 1960’s when a group of Travellers bought the former scrap yard and sought permission to build 40 houses. Since that time permission was sought to build more houses, but having been refused, the houses were built anyway.
To date, the council have set aside £18 million to bulldoze the site and place 1000 people on the side of the road. The cost compares to the total budget in the UK of less than £30m to provide Travellers with halting site facilities in 2010.
In a pattern which we have seen repeated in Ireland, Traveller specific accommodation such as well provisioned halting sites have not been built. This has lead to an increase in the number of families coming to Dale Farm.