DESPITE conditions at Dale Farm being really harsh now, following Basildon Council’s brutal multi-million pound attempted eviction which began on October 19th, the community is defiant, united, cheerful and determined to stay together.
Hundreds of riot police, bailiffs and contractors with heavy digging equipment moved in on that day, throwing families and their caravans off the site and leaving a trail of destruction.
In order to make living conditions on the site as intolerable as possible, the council has dug huge trenches where many of the caravans used to be situated.
Now there is mud everywhere and residents are very fearful for the safety of their children when the trenches fill up with water.
Despite the ruthless actions of the council, the Dale Farm community are standing firm and defiant and there are now more caravans on the site than before.
Speaking to News Line at the Basildon Council Offices on Tuesday, where the residents are fighting for their right to legal sites for their caravans, Gratton Puxon, Dale Farm Residents Association Secretary said: ‘We have put in a planning application for 12 plots, but we’ve also put in an additional request for 50 plots, all at Church Road, Laindon, Basildon.
‘Today’s appeal is for the 12 new pitches, and this is being opposed by the council.
‘We are disgusted at what has happened.
‘We are up against a racist policy from a council which is spending millions on ethnic cleansing.
‘We’ve got a lot of families living in very bad conditions after the attempted eviction.
‘There are more caravans at Dale Farm now than before the eviction.’
Richard Sheridan, Chairman of Dale Farm Residents Association, is speaking at this Sunday’s News Line Anniversary Rally.
He said: ‘They are getting rid of 429 jobs in Basildon Council because they say they have to cut their budgets, but they’ve spent millions trying to get rid of us.
‘It is appalling what the government has done to us, especially the Home Office, depriving people of education and disrupting people’s lives.
‘I’m looking forward to the News Line Rally on Sunday and we’ll try and get a good turn out.’
Back at Dale Farm on Tuesday afternoon, John Sheridan told News Line: ‘There are young kids here with no facilities. We all had toilets, running water, electric, but it’s all been cut off. It’s a human disgrace.
‘Human beings, old and sick people, are being treated like rats.
‘The reason there are more caravans here than before is that people have come home.’
Brian O’Shea said: ‘Hitler’s been dead since 1945 and genocide is over. But if you look up there you’ll see it’s like Beirut, or Iraq. It’s madness.
‘If those trenches fill up with water, which they will, and if young kids fall in, then they’ll drown.’
Margaret Flynn said: ‘There’s mud everywhere and the site has been left in such a dangerous position for children and adults.
‘Tony Ball (Tory Basildon Council Leader) has ruined people’s lives.
‘He’s dug huge swimming pools next to the five legal pitches, blocking the roads into them.’
Mary Slattery said: ‘We were so happy and united here, but they paid £22 million to move us out of our lovely homes.
‘The country is moving into recession, they’re closing hospitals and look at all the people unemployed.
‘Then look at all the money that they have spent trying throw us out of our homes.
‘But we’re still here and we’re staying, because we’ve got nowhere else to go.
‘Today we’ve gone to the council appealing for planning for 12 family plots and 50 temporary ones.
‘But the council is fighting us again.
‘You’d think they could have left us alone in our homes, where we’ve never harmed anyone.
‘I put it all down to racism, 100%.
‘I’ve heard the council say it over and over, let them go back to Ireland.
‘And I’ve heard the prime minister David Cameron say it on live TV – get them out at all costs.
‘He also said why can’t the Irish government deal with them.
‘But the big majority here are all English, it’s just a few of the elderly here that are Irish.
‘Again today a 14-year-old fell on the pathway there and they’ve taken her to the hospital.
‘We don’t know if her leg is broken or not.’
Nora Egan said: ‘We need to get this government out now, they are only there for the rich and what they’ve done to us here is criminal.’
Bridget O’Brien said: ‘Why is Cameron left in government?
‘He’s putting so many families in poverty, he’s ruining the NHS and putting so many people out of work.
‘His is a government for the rich and against the poor and he needs to be put out at once.
‘I support what the people are doing down at St Paul’s, they are fighting the government and people should back them.
‘How come there are people in parliament with seven or eight homes and yet they want to make us homeless.
‘We had lovely homes here, a proper community with lovely homes.
‘But Basildon Council and Tony Ball have destroyed our homes and destroyed our lives.
‘Now we’ve got no electricity.
‘We have water but it’s giving us dysentry and the children are choking.
‘About four people have fallen because of what has happened and broken their legs.
‘It’s cruel what they have done to us. It’s cruel having to live like this.’
The fighting spirit of the Dale Farm residents in the face of the brutal state attack spearheaded by Basildon Tory Council is stronger than ever, and a delegation of them is attending this Sunday’s News Line Anniversary Rally in Bethnal Green.