Belfast Telegraph

10m euro for ghost estate scheme

The Government is to pump 10 million euro into a scheme aimed at completing ghost estates in a bid to heal the scars of the economic collapse.

Just days after a separate 10 million euro was earmarked for the refurbishment of the condemned Priory Hall apartment complex, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin confirmed further housing initiatives.

"The last six years has left both emotional and physical scars on this country," said Mr Howlin, as he announced 1.6 billion euro worth of public spending cuts in the latest austerity budget.

"Nowhere is this problem more acute than in the area of housing."

He described the saga of Priory Hall - the condemned north Dublin firetrap estate - as "a particular blot on the national psyche" and an example of all that was wrong under the last Government.

He said junior minister for housing Jan O'Sullivan will announce a new unfinished housing estate resolution scheme, for which 10 million euro has been allocated.

Another 30m euro, from money raised in the lottery licence, will be used to kickstart the state's house building programme.

"This will facilitate up to 500 additional housing units between a small number of new builds and the return of previously uninhabitable units to the housing stock," Mr Howling said.

"These are both areas I would hope to return to in the future as resources allow."

A two-year dispute between owners of Priory Hall apartments, the Government and banks drew to an end last week after they accepted a pact to have their mortgages written down and transferred to new homes.

Dublin City Council will oversee the refurbishment of the development to finally bring it up to standard.

Built by bankrupt former IRA hunger striker Tom McFeely in 2007, Priory Hall was branded one of the worst failures of the Celtic Tiger.

Some 256 people were evacuated from the complex in October 2011 after Dublin City Council declared Priory Hall a firetrap.

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