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Committee set up to deal with 'ghost estates' in Ireland

The latest figures show that there are over 23,000 complete and vacant dwellings in Ireland with nearly 10,000 near completion.

A terrace of unfinished houses on the Rinuccini private housing development in Portlaoise, Co Laois.
A terrace of unfinished houses on the Rinuccini private housing development in Portlaoise, Co Laois.
Image: Photocall Ireland

A NATIONAL COMMITTEE is to be set up to deal with the issue of so-called ‘ghost estates’ in Ireland it was announced today.

The Minister for Housing, Willie Penrose has told financial institutions, local authorities and site owners “not to sit on the fence” and that the immediate priority is to address the safety issues in the most problematic of the estates.

It comes as a government advisory group on unfinished housing developments today published figures and findings which show that some 23,250 dwellings were completed but vacant whilst a further 10,000 were near completion in Ireland.

The report also found that of the 2,846 housing developments that were inspected in the advisory group survey, just 33 per cent were substantially complete and occupied.

It further found that 150 developments are more than 90 per cent complete and 109 developments had started work on site but no actual construction had begun.

The report recommended that site solution plans and their implementation involve the banks, the National Asset Management Agency, the Construction Industry Federation, approved housing bodies and local authorities .

Anticipating that everyone will be involved in this process, Penrose said that he would chair the national co-ordination team which will manage the issues at a national and local level.

He said he hopes to have the committee in place within the next two weeks reaffirming his commitment to take ”action now without delay”.

Some €1.5 million is being pledged to address critical public safety issues on some ‘ghost estates’ but Penrose said that this money would have to be repaid by the developers and site owners.

In October last year, a nationwide survey found that there were over 2,800 ‘ghost estates’ in the Republic of Ireland, containing over 120,000 homes.

Some of the worst affected counties were Longford and Sligo, both of whom have been allocated nearly €400,000 and over a €250,000 respectively to deal with the critical public safety issues on some of their estates.

Related: Almost 350 housing estates dangerous and abandoned by developers (Slideshow) >

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Hugh O'Connell

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