Ghost estate

The Irish taxpayer will foot the bill to make Ireland’s 63 unfinished housing estates safe.

The ghost estates will remain unfinished unless public taxes are used because the developers failed to pay the bonds that would have been used to complete the developments.

One-in-four houses in these ghost estates poses a safety risk as the sewers were left open, water is contaminated or the building sites are insecure.

A Government survey is being carried out to assess the work that must be done on these estates to bring them up to safety standards .Councils will receive power to seize control of the worst unfinished developments and the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) will take on the others.

So far a pilot survey has been carried out in Laois where there are 63 ghost estates.

The findings are as follows:

- 20 percent of newly-completed homes are without adequate water, sewerage or road access.

- 25 percent of sites have public health and safety violations such as open sewers, open manholes,  water contamination and unsecured sites.

- 30 percent of housing developments recently completed are empty.

- In four out of ten houses granted planning permission construction is yet to begin.