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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Revealed: The Irish houses secretly 'owned' by Dale Farm travellers facing eviction

By Pamela Owen

We won't go: Travellers from Dale Farm in Essex march in Gloucester Park

Many travellers who say they will have nowhere to live when they are evicted from Britain's biggest gipsy camp secretly own properties elsewhere, it has been claimed.

The 86 families have long protested they'll be made homeless when they are forcibly removed from Dale Farm, Essex.

However, new evidence has revealed many of them are connected to homes in Rathkeale, a town in the Republic of Ireland which is often regarded as a spiritual home for travellers.

Spiritual home: The town of Rathkeale where many of the travellers are alleged to have homes

They deny any links but a number of them are listed on deeds, others are on planning applications to build property and many are still listed on the electoral roll.

David McPherson-Davis, an Essex parish councillor, said: 'This appears to confirm suspicions people have had for a number of years following various inquiries carried out into the background of the people on the Dale Farm site.

'It indicates there are alternative places for, at least, some of the families to return to. It begs the question, why do they keep denying they have anywhere to go?

Make-shift: Caravans are seen on the grounds of the site where more than 80 families live

Unauthorised: The travellers have built roads and connections to electricity - all without permission from the council

'And why, therefore, are they going to put themselves through a traumatic eviction when it can apparently be avoided?'

Illegal plots began appearing at Dale Farm, which is built on green belt land near Basildon, Essex, about 10 years ago.

More than 400 people now occupy the site and the community has built roads and connections to electricity.

Many of the residents admit they are originally from Southern Ireland but deny current connections.

But new evidence gathered by the surrounding community has found one couple, who were recently married in London, own a plot of land in Rathkeale and recently won planning permission to build a property there.

There are also examples of women who use their maiden names at Dale Farm but who appear on deeds of Irish properties with their husbands.

John Dornan, a local Tory councillor in Essex, said: 'I am sick to the back teeth of calling for an inquiry into the funding and management of this site.

Warning: An extract of a letter issued to travellers from Basildon Council which gives details about the upcoming eviction

'We have travellers saying they chipped in and spent between £1.8million and £2.5million on developing Dale Farm, when the majority of people were on benefits. How?

'And now there is more evidence of some of them with access to property elsewhere.'

The area is now the biggest traveller site in Europe with human rights groups saying it is inhumane to evict the travellers.

Supporters and people living at the site are so determined to stop the eviction they are taking part in a various demonstrations, one of which will take place later today.

But Basildon Council has said it will push ahead with plans on Monday, September 19, to restore the site.

The eviction, which will cost £18m, is being backed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

He recently said: 'Everyone in this country has to obey the law, including the law about planning permission and about building on green belt land.

'And where this has been done without permission, it is an illegal development and so those people should move away.'

Determined: The travellers have accused the council of 'ethinic cleansing' but they have denied this, saying the site is illegal



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