Irish Traveler girl writes to British PM in bid to save her family from eviction
Dale Farm families prepare for arrival of bailiffs on Monday
A little Irish girl has written to British Prime Minister David Cameron for help as a Traveler community fight eviction from their long term caravan site near London.
Eileen O’Brien is one of over a hundred predominantly Irish children facing eviction when bailiffs arrive at the Dale Farm site on Monday.
The Travelers, backed by an influx of supporters to the site in recent days, are preparing to resist the eviction forced by the local council in a row over planning for the site.
Little Eileen has gone to the highest office in the land in her bid to prevent her family’s removal from the only home she knows.
In a hand-written note to Prime Minister Cameroon, she said: “I was living here since I was one and I’m 11 now. It’ll be really hard leaving.”
One of a hundred children from the camp who attend the local national school, Eileen’s fate is attracting huge interest in Britain.
One nine-year-old boy told reporters: “The teachers at school keep crying. My aunties keep crying. We’ll just have to hide when the bailiffs come. Then they’ll go away again and leave us be.”
Supporters have flooded in to the site to assist the 50 families who face eviction on Monday.
A banner at the entrance to Dale Farm reads ‘No Ethnic Cleansing’ while children have been piling up car tires at the entrance.
Director of the Irish Traveler Movement in Britain, Yvonne MacNamara said: “This eviction will rip them away from their friends, their education and possibly from their future prospects.”
Traveler Mamie Slattery said the families appreciate the support that has come their way ahead of the eviction attempt.
“I have lived through evictions before and they can be brutal,” said the 57-year-old Slattery.
“I am staying put while they break the windows around me, because where can I go?”
Young mother Elby Culligan denied that some families had already left Dale Farm as the police presence outside grows by the day.
“No one has left,” said the 28-year-old Culligan. “This is a close community, linked by family, my first, second and third cousins, and we want to look out for each other.
“Nobody puts their mothers in homes here. Where else in the country can people say they can leave their doors and windows open? We can. This is the sort of community they want to break up.”
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