The Northern Ireland Executive must be fully confident that nuclear warfare is not going to break out any time soon they have made the decision to sell off the province's sole nuclear bunker. Haven’t they heard that Trump could be President?
Built to house up to 235 people, the 3.74-acre, heavily-fortified site on the outskirts of Ballymena, Co. Antrim, is now up for sale for just $830,000 (£575,000), available to any concerned citizen – with the monetary means – looking for an underground safe haven in the event of nuclear fallout.
The bunker is in the Woodside Road industrial estate and is officially known as the Regional Government Headquarters (RGHQ). It was commissioned by the government in the latter years of the Cold War and construction began on the mainly underground site in 1987.
The very existence of the bunker did not become public knowledge until 2007 when the BBC revealed the site in a report after submitting a Freedom of Information request.
It has been kept in good working order, however, and comes ready to host the lucky 235 chosen to reside there in the event of nuclear catastrophe. It contains dormitories, kitchen facilities, a television studio, meeting rooms, decontamination chambers, and it is also well stocked with canned foods.
The Ballymena Bunker is completely hidden with a grass roof so if you’re looking to get away from it all with a trip to Ireland, this would definitely be the perfect place to ensure that you’re not disturbed.
There are just three ways into the space through massive interlocking double blast doors surrounded by walls that are three feet thick in concrete and reinforced with steel. Needless to say there is no cellphone signal once inside.
The bunker is currently owned by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland, who have decided to make a bit of money and sell it to anybody willing to take it off their hands.
A year after the site was revealed by the BBC, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) showed their concern at the people who would be carted into the bunker in the event of a disaster, questioning Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness about an alleged list of the chosen people.
McGuinness told the SDLP he was not aware of a list and hoped that he was not on it. If such a list existed, it would be interesting to read who the government felt was important enough in Northern Ireland to save.
Although the bunker is not the only nuclear monitoring post constructed by the UK government since the height of the Cold War, it is one of the last to be built and the most technologically advanced. Two others were planned for Craigavon and Omagh but were never built.
The property agent presiding over the sale, Lambert Smith Hampton, stated that the Ballymena bunker was "believed to be one of the last and most technically advanced buildings of its kind ever built in the UK".
"I was surprised to know that we even had a nuclear bunker in Northern Ireland," Andrew Fraser of Lambert Smith Hampton told the Belfast Telegraph.
"It was fascinating walking around and seeing all the fixtures and fittings. I didn't feel at all claustrophobic, but if you were inside for a long time, during an emergency, some people might feel that way."
"The bunker is in a very good state of repair and has been well maintained over the years. It has everything that would be needed in a state of emergency."
Some suggestions for possible future uses for the bunker include tourism as a unique (and slightly creepy) guest house, a museum about the Cold War, for media purposes, or simply for storage purposes.
"There are some bunkers in England and Scotland which have been turned into museums," said Fraser.
"The Ballymena bunker would likely be suitable for something like this. It could be used for secure data or document storage. It's quite large, at 46,000 sq ft, and occupies a self-contained site. Security could be racked up if needed."
It could, of course, be simply bought as a home.
"It certainly could be used as a house," continued Fraser, "although it would be the most secure house in the world.
"I'm not sure who would want to live underground, but the property is open to any individual's interpretation, as weird and wacky as they like, subject to planning, of course."
Who would you put on a list of people taken into the Ballymena Bunker? Leave us your suggestions in the comments section, below.