Let’s start with the obvious: too few houses are being built. Everyone, on every side of the nations debate is agreed on that. But, my question was what is happening to all the infamous ghost estates? I couldn’t find anyone of an official nature to talk to me about all of the abandoned estates. So, after reading online I started to believe that these estates could only be seen by ghosts. to find out for myself, I decided to fly over to the west coast of Ireland and see first hand what was going on. What I found was shocking, after seeing Shannon Valley estate I was left absolutely speechless. (This was one of the many abandoned property development sites I saw). Shockingly more than 40 housing developments remain unfinished in areas of high demand, with no works under way on some despite the nations cries for more residential property at fair prices.New reports from the Department of Housing notes that 42 ‘ghost’ estates remain in built-up areas. There are two in Meath, three each in Galway and Cork cities, nine in Wicklow, 10 in Kildare and 15 in Dublin city. The ‘Resolving Unfinished Developments’ report says 1,121 houses and apartments are complete but vacant in the 420 remaining unfinished developments. Overall, compared with 2,846 in 2010 so in all fairness there is progress.Damien English, Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, said that 248 estates were resolved last year, with 2,000 homes being used for social housing. The Government expected to buy or lease another 1,300 this year, with a focus on areas where demand for homes is highest.The report also shows that councils are taking legal action against 123 owners or receivers to bring the estates up to a safe standard and in line with planning permission.Here is what I found in some of the estates and developments I saw.As you can see there are puppies in this gallery! But not happy puppies. I was in Shannon valley estate to see if it was as bad as I read in an Irish paper. (If you remember earlier we heard from Helen, Shannon Valley estate is situated in Ballaghaderreen in Co Roscommon where her family is from)Appalling sights were seen across these estates, but this just shows the lack of attention given to these estates. The best example of this, is Shannon valley. I stumbled into a puppy farm in one abandoned house that I walked straight into via the open front and back doors, rat infestations due to the build up of litter and rubble all alongside houses being lived in by families.The fronts of the houses are all boarded up. Shattered glass everywhere. Drain holes and sewage pipes have been left uncovered. Glass from windows and patio doors lie shattered on the ground; the inside of the houses trashed, (imagine the most out of control teenage house party x10 and that slightly helps set the scene).Ballaghaderren is a perfect example of the mistakes made by planners and government policy. It was the most westerly town to “benefit” from the Shannon Valley tax relief scheme, which brought the building of hundreds of new houses during the Celtic Tiger era.The plan was seemingly inspired solely by the slogan “If you build it, they will come”. Well, you did, and they didn’t.And why would they? Where was the employment in any of those towns and villages to sustain a population necessary to fill all those homes? It did not and does not exist. In fact, the opposite has happened, now the towns face further job cuts, and is now littered with the memory of what could have happened to the town. With long roads of road of rubble and regret.A lot of the other abandoned properties I saw, resembled what the world would look like if North Korea actually uses its nuclear warfare. Letters, personal belongings, it was unsettling to see – I half expected the builders to come back from lunch. One house was full of expensive building materials left to rot. Some properties looked completely finished, with furniture inside. Streets of wasted homes, and investments a truly heartbreaking site.So with all this in mind, I am personally not surprised to why those who could leave did, and, those who did leave their reasons for not wanting to come back – poor job prospects, an ongoing housing crisis. Alongside locals giving up on the government, and accepting a depressing future for their beloved country.It truly does seem like Ireland has a long road to recovery before the lost generations can feel comfortable enough, and have the amenities to return home.
July 30, 2019 0 Comments