A new report out in Ireland Tuesday claims that about 300,000 homes are lying empty round the country, more than double the government's official estimate, including about 200 "ghost estates."

Academics from Maynooth University say there are 300,000 empty houses while Irish Housing Minister Michael Finneran said last week there were about 140,000. The construction industry laughably suggests the real figure is closer to 40,000. Well, they would say that wouldn't they.

Or, as the Irish Times puts it, the amount of empty houses is about equal to half the housing stock in all of Dublin.

The academics are based at the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis (Nirsa) and also act as advisers to the Government.

Nirsa Director, Professor Rob Kitchin, said the team used data from the Environment Department, utility supply points and the national address directory.

Their report says that there are 302,625 empty houses in Ireland which includes houses for sale or for rent and abandoned houses. It does not include an estimated 49,000 holiday homes.