Belfast Telegraph

1,200 ghost estates blight country

More than 1,200 ghost estates continue to blight the country, latest official figures reveal.

But the Government claims the number of unfinished housing estates has more than halved over the past three years.

Housing minister Jan O'Sullivan said a number of initiatives have resulted in a 56% drop in the partially-built Celtic Tiger developments since 2010.

She has pledged to clean up the remaining problem housing projects by next year.

"I would like to see as complete a resolution of these difficulties as possible in the coming year," she said.

"I hope to report next year that the difficulties we inherited have been substantially resolved."

Launching the second annual progress report on unfinished housing estates, Ms O'Sullivan said 1,258 have yet to be completed or demolished. Of these, 992 developments have residents.

Around 40 developments are believed to be in such a bad state that it would be preferable to return them to a field or site rather than attempt to overhaul them - but this number may rise.

Ms O'Sullivan said she was also closing a public safety initiative set up in 2011 for emergency repairs to dangerous developments because funding applications had "dwindled to a trickle".

The scheme will be shut down next year.

Last month, the Government vowed to pump 10 million euros into a scheme aimed at completing ghost estates to heal the scars of the economic collapse.

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