Over 250 ghost estates still haunting Ireland

More than 250 ghost estates still blight the country a decade after the financial crash.

New Government figures released today show the number of developments classified as “unfinished” has dramatically fallen since 2010. However, there are still 5,739 homes which have not been started and a further 3,608 units which are a various stages of completion in estates across the country.

The annual progress report on unfinished houses has also found that there are 678 homes which are complete but vacant.

This includes 129 in Cork County, 135 in Co Laois, and 251 in Co Wicklow.

Cork County has 25 unfinished estates, followed by Roscommon with 23, Donegal with 21, and Kerry with 20. Westmeath and South Dublin council areas have no ghost developments.

The minister of state at the Department of Housing, Damien English, who will publish the report today, pointed out that the number of unfinished developments has decreased from almost 3,000 in 2010 to 256 last year.

He said it is now his objective to resolve all remaining unfinished housing developments, especially those in high market demand locations.

Some 38% of the 256 unfinished developments are empty with no residents and contain partial shells or units at foundation level.

The report has also found 4,619 families or individuals are still living in homes in partially completed or ghost estates.

However, Mr English said the results of the 2017 survey indicate that the parts of developments that are occupied are, in the vast amount of cases, are now well established and finished to a good standard.

He said: “In the last 12 months we have resolved 165 developments and intend to build on that success with a further push in 2018 to resolve as many as possible of the remaining unfinished developments.”

However, 15% of homes in unfinished estates are directly overlooking building shells and are “impacted directly” by unfinished units and priority will now be given to this group.

Labour Party housing spokeswoman Jan O’Sullivan said many of the ghost estates were built in areas which were never suitable.

“One of the problems is that at the time of the boom housing estates were built in all the wrong places and some of that was driven by incentives and tax breaks,” she said.

“It’s a huge mistake that we made in the past and one we should never make again.

However, she said a creative approach to these ghost developments is required and suggested some sites where a small number houses had been planned could instead be used to build larger social or affordable housing developments.

“If there are any of them at all in areas of high demand they should become part of the solution to the current housing crisis,” she said.


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