Portlaoise ghost estates on the airwaves

PORTLAOISE'S ghost estates made the national airwaves last week when were featured on Pat Kenny's radio show.

Children hanging out of the open window spaces on the third floor of an unfinished apartment block in Kilminchy greeted RT reporter, Valerie Cox and local Fine Gael Councillor, Willie Aird.

"I got a fright. It's horrifying to think that children could be playing here," said Cllr Aird.

He explained that the Kilminchy estate was the first in the town to go into receivership and the problem was that there was no owner for the estate now, and it would be under the remit of Laois County Council to make it secure.

Cllr Aird said that this estate posed a problem for the council, as they would probably have to go to court to get the bond.

The Pat Kenny Show also visited Rinuccini on the Dublin Road, which is partially occupied. Ironically, daft.ie describes this as "a property development unlike any other in Ireland."

In this estate, children were also found to be playing in the shells of unfinished houses, opening balcony doors on the top floor of a three storey apartment block, where the balconies haven't been built yet. One local resident said there were children as young as five or six playing in the vacant houses.

Cllr Aird said he had been reliably informed that the banks who would have loaned money for the estate were going to take it over and complete it. "It wouldn't take a huge amount of money to complete the estate," he said.

The RT reporter also visited Parkside, where people queued all night to secure an apartment when they first went on sale, but now only two are occupied.

The finally stop of the ghost estate tour was Rockview on the Mountrath Road, described in the brochure as "a beautiful new development offering an exquisite collection of apartments, townhouses, semi-detached and detached homes", but which is now just adds to the statistics in the government's pilot survey on 'ghost estates' in the county.

The houses front on to a barren building site and the prices of the houses continue to fall.

One family, who were interviewed on the radio show last week said they bought their four bed house in Rockview Square for n255,000 last year. They're now selling for n170,000.


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