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Sep-23-2011 13:43printcomments

Short Stay of Execution Granted in Closure of Dale Farm Traveller Site

Called "a Train Wreck" for the Basildon Council, Dale Farm is getting worldwide attention.

Residents of Dale Farm
Residents of Dale Farm.

(DUBLIN) - (Yesterday we published the Ken O'Keefe article, When Human Rights Become Subordinate to 'The Law', F*ck 'The Law' - The Dale Farm Matters, detailing the struggle thrust upon the residents of a place in Essex called The Dale Farm, where mostly Irish Travelers, many who identify themselves as Gypsies, traditionally pushed to the margins of society, are discriminated against and often scapegoated by governments. The group is losing its home.

Ken summarized their plight saying: "They are soft targets if you like, Hitler didn’t like them either, they have been historically persecuted and if you possess the capacity to empathize then you will understand the healthy dose of mistrust and anger many of the travelers feel towards society at large.")

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Nora Sheridan, a Dale Farm resident, was ‘praying for a good result.’ Johnny Howarth says Nora, who was sitting to his left in the Hugh Court, was ‘shaking and kissing her Rosary for luck.’ In front of him Tony Ball, the leader of Basildon Council, was holding his head in his hands.

Nora Sheridan at Dale Farm

Mr. Justice Edwards-Stuart has reserved judgement today on the travellers’ site. The judge granted residents of the UK’s largest ‘illegal’ travellers’ site a short stay of execution until 4:00 p.m. on Monday next, when the case is due back to court.

Mr. Justice Edwards-Stuart has said travellers living on the site should be treated with dignity and evictions, if carried out, should be ‘in a sensitive and sensible way.’ He said that Basildon Council has spent ‘substantial (amounts) and physical resources.’ He added that the courts have a duty to ensure that ‘valuable resources’ are not squandered.

Meanwhile one has to wonder if Tony Ball, the council chairman, is throwing good money after bad as he claims the cranes and other machinery the council hired to clear the site can’t be returned, nor can they claim a refund. The judge has said he does not want to derail the process, but there are those that say it already looks like a train wreck for Basildon Council.

The government has refused help from the United Nations to help broker an agreement between the travellers and the council. Jan Jarab, the European representative of the UN high commissioner for human rights, said the UN had offered to help negotiate a "less dramatic" solution.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.