Dale Farm Eviction on Hold
Irish Traveller’s from Dale Farm returned to the High Court in London on Monday 24th September to hear Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart order another delay to Basildon Council’s planned eviction of 51 unauthorised plots at Dale Farm Traveller site in Essex.
Speaking before the hearing, Dale Farm resident Kathleen McCarthy said that the threat of eviction was particularly bad on the children: “When we left home this morning all the children were terrified that this would be the end. They are still going to the local school but when they go home at the end of the day they say goodbye to everyone in case they don’t come back the next day.
Inside the High Court the Judge, Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart, told the packed court-room that the case was very complicated and he was concerned because Basildon Council had missed out important details from their eviction schedule. He pointed out that some of the plots had buildings, fences and caravans that were not mentioned on the Council’s enforcement notices.
Because of these concerns Mr Justice Edwards-Smith adjourned the case and told Basildon to sort out their paperwork and work with the Travellers to come up with an eviction schedule before returning to the court next Monday.
In a statement to the press outside, Dale Farm resident Mr Patrick Egan said: “I think the Judge’s decision was very fair and understanding to both sides,”
Basildon Council Leader Tony Ball, who was also at the hearing, said: “Today was another day when the wheels of justice continue to grind slowly forward. It has been good day for the Council and our local residents.”
“Basildon’s senseless eviction plans have hit a quagmire”
Speaking after the court case a spokesperson from the Save Dale Farm Campaign said: “Basildon’s senseless eviction plans have hit a quagmire. Millions of pounds are lost daily keeping police, bailiffs and diggers on hold. Today the Travellers beseeched the Council to return to the negotiating table to find a solution that does not destroy their community.”
The Dale Farm Travellers, who are receiving free legal advice from supporters, are also launching another court case on Thursday to try to stop the eviction. This case is separate from the one that Mr Justice Edwards-Smith is presiding over and will be heard at the High Court again, but with a different judge. This case, called a Judicial Review, will examine whether Basildon Council have the right to break down the legally built fences and gates on the site to evict the unauthorized plots.
Ali Saunders, a supporter of the Dale Farm community, said “One of the things the judicial review on Thursday will examine is whether the whole eviction can go ahead. Because recent court victories have made it clear that a full site clearance cannot legally go ahead, the court has an obligation to consider the case. There are several cases we are working on, because the eviction is wrong on so many levels.”
By Mike Doherty