Ghost estates now earmarked for demolition

Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan has confirmed that some local authorities will be expected to cough up some of the cash needed to bulldoze unfinished developments.

Around 40 ghost estates have been earmarked for demolition, a process that will begin next year. While the list is not being published for commercial reasons, the Labour minister has confirmed that estates in Cavan and Roscommon and other counties outside Dublin are included.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Ms O’Sullivan admitted taxpayers’ money would have to be used in some instances when the local authority was involved in demolition.

“I think in a lot of cases, the council would help to do it (the demolition),” she said.

“All of these things are to be negotiated with the various interests because this isn’t about Government being able to tell people what to do really, because this is all privately owned property we’re talking about.

“So it’s a matter of the Government and the local authorities working with the various interests to achieve what makes sense,” she added.

She says she expects the amount of local authority funding to be small and that the taxpayer will not be left with large bills. The Housing Minister also said she expected councils to provide expertise to developers engaged in demolishing estates.

Ms O’Sullivan insisted that a €10m fund set up to help councils and developers repair estates would not be used to finance demolition. “There was a fund announced by (Public Expenditure Minister) Brendan Howlin in the Budget, which is €10m. What that’s for is to assist in the process of getting estates completed,” she said.

The Limerick TD said councils and developers would receive sums as large as €100,000 from the government fund. “Where, for example . . . there isn’t money there to do the lighting, finish off the streets, that kind of public-realm stuff, that €10m fund could be applied for.

“So a local authority could say, ‘right, Estate X in whatever town, we believe it should be finished out but there isn’t enough money there to do the public infrastructure. We’re applying for €100,000 or whatever it might be to complete this work’.”

The department’s latest figures show that there are about 1,250 developments uncompleted, 992 of which have people living in them.

“We want to see those finished off, we want to see the houses that are partially constructed fully constructed, and we want to see people living in them,” Ms O’Sullivan said. Source: Irish Independent