Up to 200 ghost estates around Ireland may be demolished under new plans by the Housing Minister.
The Evening Herald reports there are around 1,100 unfinished developments around the country since the property bubble burst in 2008. One dilapidated estate claimed the life of a 2-year-old boy in February 2012, after he drowned in a pool of water in the incomplete ghost estate of Glenatore, in Athlone, County Westmeath.
Minister of State for Housing and Planning Jan O'Sullivan said that up to 200 developments may be bulldozed as part of the plans to deal with ghost estates.
The Labour TD for Limerick City told the newspaper that the majority of the country’s ghost estates "can be finished and have to be finished."
During the height of the building boom a total of 93,000 new houses and apartments were built. The 2011 census counted 289,451 vacant properties – 14.5 per cent of total stock – in April 2011. Of these 59,395 were classed as holiday homes.
"What I'm trying to achieve in chairing the committee on unfinished estates, is that we get a resolution to get them finished," she said.
"But in ghost estates where nobody is living but there are still half-built houses, probably the best resolution is to demolish them."
The Minister said the bulldozing of estates would be done "in conjunction with the owners and with the local authority."
"But ultimately I can't force [their demolition], because they are private properties so I can't force anybody to do anything," she said.
"But we want to do it by consensus and we want to get a definite proposal and plan for each and every one of those unfinished estates some time later this year."
Happy Earth Day! Ireland sure looks gorgeous from outer space