It must be maddening for anyone struggling to find housing to rent or buy to see houses cluttered with paperwork.
Every now and then the remnants of Celtic Tiger memories return to embarrass us, anger us, or both.
Some never go away, especially when set in the concrete of your neighborhood with weeds mockingly flapping in the wind as 40 shades of rust create a feel of eternal fall.
Phantom Estates were a gruesome and painful reminder of all that was wrong with tax and social policy and how weak the regulatory regimes supposedly control things.
Money was cheap, foresight was scarce, expectations were high, and prudence was out of fashion.
Instant gratification was sold almost as a human right and there were many willing buyers.
When it all fell apart, we ended up with something else that came instantly – ruin.
Tens of thousands of homes have been built, half built or started that did not cross the finish line until the race was abandoned.
The developers ran out of money, buyers, and time.
Clusters of gray block walls with empty window frames gazed at streets, roadsides and fields like ghouls with hollow sockets.
Photos of the strange sites have appeared in publications around the world, propelling Ireland into the limelight as a compelling and newsworthy symbol of the global crash.
Then, gradually, they started to disappear from sight.
In fact, some were so far away and so oddly located that they were never really visible.
However, many more have gone through painstaking and complex processes to bring them back to life through public ownership, new private developers, and a combination of the two.
For the most part, the concerted efforts of local authorities to resolve unfinished areas over the past 10 years have worked very well.
But there are still a few developments that appear to have foundations built on reinforced stubbornness.
It must be maddening for anyone struggling to find a place to rent or a house to buy to see potential homes always cluttered with paperwork, that potential diminishing with each passing year as the weather and the elements get worse.
It must also be hard for homeowners who bought at the height of the market and spent fifteen years on negative equity to have to keep their children inside because the roads and paths are like sequelae. of an earthquake.
These are just unfinished subdivisions.
The 123 ghost estates currently on the Housing Department’s list do not include all of the half-built single-family homes that are scattered across the countryside on overgrown sites where dream homes have been planned and dreams have come undone. .
Where is the action plan to implement them?
Separately, a small number of activists across the country are currently documenting neglect on their daily walks, posting the resulting photos on social media.
Check out the #DerelictIreland hashtag on Twitter and prepare to be shocked and dismayed at the volume, variety and proximity of dwellings that were once, and could again be, homes.
Houses, terraces, collective dwellings, spaces above shops, they are there in all their glory of yesteryear and only ask to be taken in hand as were the ghost domains.
They were there before the Celtic Tiger madness and they’re still there in what’s meant to be post-madness and humility.
And yet we ignored them in the rush to build new, build a sprawl, build apartment buildings of questionable durability, and build at prices reminiscent of the early 2000s.
Efforts to bring ghost estates to maturity have worked well, and what once seemed an insurmountable glut of nearly 3,000 estates and over 100,000 half-built homes has been reduced to 123 estates and no more than 2,000 homes.
However, efforts to mature our approach to housing remain unfinished.