The date for the £ 18 million pound eviction of Dale Farm, a former scrapyard which is now home to 90 families, has been revealed to be 19th September. The date was leaked to the local newspaper, the Basildon Echo by a council source before families at Dale Farm were notified.
Dale farm residents are asking the United Nations to move their visit, originally scheduled on Sept. 14th, to the week of Sept 19th. The UN has called on the government to suspend the “immature and unwise” eviction, saying it would “disproportionately affect the lives of the Gypsy and Traveller families, particularly women, children and older people”.
Dale Farm residents will give a press briefing early this afternoon at Dale Farm.
The Dale Farm community also extended an invitation to Amnesty International, Jewish, Catholic, Anglican, anti-racist and trade union groups. These organisations are some of the broad array of groups which have been supporting the campaign against eviction. They are now all being asked to schedule visits to the sites on the week the eviction is scheduled.
Rose Shelby, a neighbour of Dale Farm who has signed up to be a human rights monitor with the Dale Farm Solidarity Campaign, commented:
“With the leaking of the eviction date Basildon Council will face an unprecedented alliance in opposition to their planned eviction. On 19th September Basildon Council and the coalition government who are financing this will face a moral challenge to explain to thousands of people and the world’s assembled media why they are choosing to make over 100 children homeless and remove them from their schools. It really is time to call-off this eviction and seek a sensible solution to the situation.”
Kathleen McCarthy, a resident of Dale Farm, expressed frustration at the announcement:
“We found out about the date of the eviction through the press rather than through dialogue with the Council. We are worried, because we have nowhere else to go. One hundred children will have to be pulled out of school just three weeks into the school year. This has been our home for decades- why won’t Basildon Council see sense?”
This weekend on live radio, Mrs McCarthy challenged the deputy leader of Basildon Council Steve Horgan, to explain why he hadn’t responded to a letter from the Bishop of Brentwood, offering to mediate the dispute and seek a peaceful solution. No answer was forthcoming. Dale Farm residents have offered to leave the homes if an alternative site can be found, but Basildon Council has refused to give planning permission for the Travellers.