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Tragic deaths at fire in Dale Farm Traveller site

Traveller support | 19.05.2005 11:39

Two people, John and Kathleen McCarthy died tragically last night in a fire on the threatened with eviction site, Dale Farm.

Early this morning a fire swept through the McCarthys chalet killing both John and Kathleen McCarthy and destroying three adjacent caravans. Luckily the children sleeping in a caravan next to the chalet escaped. The residents of Dale Farm in Wickford, Essex, battled the fire, using up all their water before the fire service arrived but were unable to save the McCarthys. The cause of the fire is as yet unknown.

Dale Farm is the largest site in the country and is facing eviction due to lack of planning permission, part of a campaign of persecution of Gypsy and Traveller people. Essex council has another week before it makes its decision whether to go ahead with eviction and ignore human rights law and the needs of the children and sick who live on the site and attend local schools and hospitals. John and Kathleen were at the forefront of the campaign to save their homes. Last Saturday the site marched to Basildon council offices, mostly attended by the women and children. Kathleen was a vital part of the demonstration and in other ways tried to save her home. Now not only are a thousand people facing the loss of their homes and a brutal eviction by bailiffs Constant and Co, they are also mourning their kin. All our sympathies go out to Dale Farm in this terrible time.

In solidarity.
If you would like to help save Dale Farm please contact

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