A 33-unit housing estate in County Limerick is the property of one of the Irish Travelers living on the illegal Dale Farm halting site in Britain.
Michael Quilligan holds the title on a “ghost estate” in Rathkeale, a town with a large Traveler population. It is believed that his properties are worth up to $37 million.
This estate was one of the few where construction continued after the collapse of the property market. It is believed that they detached houses could sell for $550,619 (€400,000) each. Construction began in 2004.
Construction on the estate is slowly continuing. Although half of the houses are completed the Irish Independent reported that it is not known if any have been sold.
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Originally there had been planning permission for 33 homes granted in 2005. Last year an application was made for the construction to continue. Permission was granted and construction has slowly continued.
Although the local community was unwilling to talk about the Dale Farm Traveler’s case the Irish Independent found that the owner was being backed by Travelers in the community and other silent investors across Europe.
At Dale Farm in Essex over 400 people face eviction next week. The six acre site has built roads and electricity. Neighbors have said that over the years it has been turned into the biggest halting site in Europe.
Richard Sheridan the president of the UK Gypsy Council has said that the families at Dale Farm would not be returning to Limerick if the eviction is carried out.
The local, Basildon Council, with the backing from British Prime Minister David Cameron, has said that the eviction will go ahead.
The Council have also discovered that the Travelers were excepting housing welfare payments in Essex but were using this money to pay for this housing Limerick.
On Wednesday Yves Cabanne, of the UN Advisory Group on Force Evictions visited Dale Farms. He said the eviction infringes on international laws.
He said “The people who are abusing the law are the council, not the travelers”.