THE BBC spent two days filming in Rathkeale recently in the count-down to what is expected to be the single biggest eviction in Europe, at the end of the month – when hundreds of Travellers, many with Rathkeale connections, are due to be expelled from Dale Farm in Essex.
However, a spokesman for the Dale Farm Travellers, Richard Sheridan who is President of the UK Gypsy Council said that, if they were evicted, they would not be heading to Rathkeale. “Definitely no,” he told the Limerick Leader,
Travellers from the site, which also has some Romany residents, travel to Rathkeale for family reasons, he said.
Reports vary as to how many people will be affected but some 90 families and up to 1000 men, women and children could be forced to quit the site which has been their home for almost a decade. And the cost of the eviction has been estimated at £18m – with £10m earmarked for policing.
Only a small number of families will not be affected by the notice to quit issued by Basildon Council.
D-Day is fixed for August 31 when bailiffs are expected to go onto the site to evict anyone still living on any of the affected 54 pitches at the rear of the site. But a show-down is expected as Travellers have made it clear they do not want to leave the site.
Over the past weeks, according to some reports, the site has been prepared with “obstacles” being erected to make eviction more difficult.