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Urban Abandonments and Derelict Locations

category dublin | irish social forum | other press author Thursday April 09, 2009 14:18author by Irelandseye - Barely There Irelandauthor email barelythereireland at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Recessionary Times

There are so many places becoming derelict and abandoned; what should the Government do about this problem???

Photographs of Derelict Locations

Urban Art from the streets of Dublin

Photographs of Abandoned Businesses

Related Link: http://www.barelythereireland.com
author by dpublication date Thu Apr 09, 2009 15:30Report this post to the editors

good work, keep it up

author by Michelle Clarkde - Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity publication date Sat Apr 11, 2009 17:15Report this post to the editors

Well constructed site, in fact a well sculpted social awareness site at a time of the latest indication of the toxic debt fall out affecting Banking and Developers, in particular.

TV3 and Vincent Browne. If I remermber, I like to watch this programme. The Discussion, the Panel, the derision, the topics all prove challenging to the Ireland we live in........the Ireland that needs its people roused to anger and frustration at a Government and its inability to meet the needs of its people,

Our Minister of Finance, Mr. Lenihan.......has taken a huge step forward...............not unlike the CAB (only this bears relationship with criminality) the new body NAMA will have a designated group of people who will oversee the maximum return from those toxic debts that apply to the Banks, Developers etc..,..

It really sounds positive but does it.

I like Professor Lucey's comment the other night....about let's start in Bohola................and I add then lets go to the 'Wastelands' in say the US. The wastelands in this case are global.....and Ireland and the taxpayer need to be protected. Lenihan has good qualities but his profession is the BAR but not an Economist. We need to learn diversity and creative thought. I would recommend the views of Brendan Keenan, McWilliams, Professor Morgan Kelly, and the newly appointed Chairperson of the DDDA, Niamh Brennan. We are in a quandary and we need collective thought to get out of it.......

Given the dereliction as shown on this site.......................how will NAMA locate the one third of overseas properties/locations. Just look to Spain and the demolition of properties for roads.....

Michelle

author by Irelandseye - Barely There Irelandpublication date Tue Apr 14, 2009 20:34Report this post to the editors

Thank you for the feedback, Us barely there members think its mad how many properties are popping up derelict or left abandoned. In fact some amazing historical buildings neglected e.g Bolands flour mills..... Some government we have, they could turn that place into something of a tourist attraction.

Related Link: http://www.barelythereireland.com/Bolandsflourmill.htm
author by CPO.publication date Wed Apr 15, 2009 16:32Report this post to the editors

Link below has more derelict buildings, mostly houses. Hasnt been updated for a while though.

Related Link: http://derelictdublin.blogspot.com
author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity publication date Wed Apr 15, 2009 19:11Report this post to the editors

Given that the topic is dereliction of Dublin and its environs, I suspect it is the CPO and a reminder to people about WHAT DRIVES DEVELOPERS, POLITICIANS, PEOPLE WITH THE GREED MOTIVATING FACTOR...................

I found this site the photos, the commentary, the reality and most of all the question mark as to why would people allow such property to fall into such a state of dereliction.

First of all, the writer addresses The Thomas Read House Pub, in the heart of Dublin 8. The walls of this pub before it was re-designed and re-developed to meet the Celtic Tiger swash-buckling set, was a pub of the inner city, its tales, its hardships, its people, its soul. The writer suggests that this ought to be a cautionary tale of the Celtic Tiger......

Then there is "Cabra Farm" - prime development location, yet who pays the cost. If this property is to be sold now - let us think of the Economist Mr. Lucey and his comments on Toxic Debt and NAMA (Euros estimatedf 90 bn) - the property might only be worth a 50% discount and that is if any developer is willing to take a chance and purchase and redevelop.

What about Mobhi Road in Glasnevin? What does the community think here. It must be only one house surely in this settled area.

Then 202 Clonliffe Road - how about this? Who is 'sitting on their hands too long' here. This would highlight Clonliffe College. Here I ask the question about taxation and spact utilisation in prime areas of Dublin City. It is not the first time we have had to look at taxing space. Look to large buildings and you will often see a blocked in window. This was about a taxation on the number of windows in a house, the more windows you had, the more tax you paid. There was tax avoidance then, when people blocked up windows rather than pay tax......what has changed.

Ireland is famous for some of the most splendid Georgian Squares in Europe. We must consider the periods when these were built. Ireland was a leading light of the British Empire, an example - that merited it as the Second City of the British Empire.

Why then are so many floors, houses, vacant and under utilised in our City. It is not just in Dublin 2, it is Dublin 4. I have written about roads such as Elgin Road where some houses sold for 4 m. euros during the Celtic Tiger and others are near derelict with bedsits and very poor accommodation. Pembroke Road hosts several houses too as does Baggot Street (upper floors particular), Waterloo Road, Leeson Street, Ranelagh Road, Rathmines......................there is plenty of fodder here to entice some form of utility tax. Otherwise as making property more 'Green' there could be an incentive to encourage people back into the city, to live in smaller spaces and bring into play again the Square Gardens.

As long as places like Summerhill Parade exist.....derelict.....people will lose the will within their community because their basic self worth is being diminished. Again, I would suggest Moyross and the number of derelict houses just boarded up has had a negative impact on their community. Who benefits? Those who hold the property, so that they can hold the location so that they can attract the developers who will bid up the price until all are happy......no matter what the time span is. Surely, these people ought to pay a tax on these properties. Exceptions can always be made.

Then we have York Street. This is adjacent to the Royal College of Surgeons. This area was contrast in the real sense of being rich and really poor. Who owns these houses that once housed in rooms families of 13 or 14 people. Where is this social history? I wonder has the College of Surgeons gathered the social history of the young doctors who visited these houses to deliver babies, and deal with TB and other health related matters. The National Archives have an excellent site on this Dublin ------ we show middle class Ireland in Merrion Square House but maybe York Street could become a reminder of what tenement Dublin was like. I think this would attract tourism. Add to this the experience gained by doctors from the plight of tenement living and the survival factor that the real Irish pubs provided for the people.

The House at Sutton Cross....this is a well positioned large house in a 'good' area. Who knows something here that is not being shared with ordinary punter...? What are the plans? Someone has an idea.

I really ernjoyed the two foregoing enlightening websites.

The quays along the Liffey in the 1970's merited a comment or so it was said then 'that visiting Germans passed the comment 'that they hadn't realised Dublin City was so badly bombed during the WAR'................................hence, a comment became an idea, that attracted me of vision.......etc.

We need to keep money circulating in our economy hence I tend to take a taxi from town ..... 6 euros and a view point ..... it is worth it for me as a person with mobility difficulties and ABI. Today, we chatted about the small businesses and how they may re-actyivate the economy. I had just come from Kildare Street and spotted ISMEoffices. The state of the building they occupy raised the question......who owns it and what a dereliction of duty to maintain such a property. So close to Government Buildings - why have these houses been allowed to deteriorate.

Keep up taking photo graphs and let's keeping putting forward questions. The taxi driver told me that small businesses had come together to form a network site; he thought the name is smallbusinesscan.ie. It was talked about on the radio yesterday and that one business has made connection with a business in Japan.

TOXIC DEBT 90 BN

WE ALL HAVE SOME POWER TO REDUCE THE VALUE OF THIS DEBT BY FOCUSING ON GROWTH

A psychologist once shared this saying with me 'WHAT YOU FOCUS ON EXPANDS'

Michelle

author by P.C.Worlde - Panoramic Viewer.publication date Thu Apr 16, 2009 01:56Report this post to the editors

What a splendid piece Michelle Clarke and well done in your painstaking research ,

I had reason recently to walk back into the past and some 3 weeks ago i strolled under the arch way and into Pembroke Lane, Dublin 2 ,

The same area long long ago was a thriving family orientated lovely old fashioned lane , totally free from any traffic as it being a one way entry to some lovely old mews houses and various little business's long since gone , i knew a certain young lady in the 90s who resided in Pembroke Lane and
her mother had reared a large family over a 50 year period , the lovely olde dublin stories i listened to were priceless ,not to forget the School near Stable
Lane where many a young dubliner went to school all those years ago , There is a huge difference now to me and i see nothing but apartments where
beautiful little houses once stood, and away the history went with the folk to God Knows Where .

The same area is so quiet on a summers evening it would amaze any one who happened to be passing through .

A beautiful lady once lived at the Morehampton Road end of Heytsebury Lane at the rear of Wellington Road , her lovely home demolished circa '97and
now in its place stands an apartment block , quite nice as a matter of fact , nice quaint apartments and so well blending within .

Lest we forget the beautiful areas such as Merrion Square ,Upper Mount Street , and others such as Fitzwilliam Square where once Lovely families
began their early venture through life and all its mysteries Good Old Dublin Town .....

author by Doc.Martin - walkers assoc. of earthpublication date Sat Apr 18, 2009 05:49Report this post to the editors

Another lovely walk i would recommend ..... Baggot Street Bridge onwards in towards The Stephens Green Shopping Centre .

The most wonderful Buildings are in full view for all to see ,try it you will not be disappointed ,

author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity publication date Thu Apr 23, 2009 23:06Report this post to the editors

PC worlde

Thank you for your kind comments. I wonder were you referring to Kathleen Goodfellow and her bequest of land and properties at corner of Fitzwilliam Place and Mespil Road. By chance, I was watching RTE 1 tonight and to my great surprise, one topic covered this woman, a Quaker, I believe and how she left the land now wooded as a haven for wildlife. The gateway stands resplendid (to the manor borne) and inside is the sanctuary for wildlife, animals and birds.

Apparently members of An Taisce are now involved in its preservation and certain people ensure bird feeders are in place and maintained for birds. I know also late at night foxes can be seen wandering the roads ....... Clyde Road, Wellington Road, Pembroke Street and no doubt the lanes that you spoke off, that once housed the horses and carriages and lodgings of workers. Today, they are known as Mews Houses that back on to the original Georgian houses.

Associated with Miss Goodfellow was the famous Irish Artist of Sean Keating. A painting by him - The Woman in the traditional red woollen skirt and the farm labourer talking in the potato field was sold during the week at D4 Lansdowne Road...........for over euros 125,000. The auctioneer commented at the time of the final bid, that he hoped it remained in the country. As it happened the man who bought it stood in front of me.......he left the auction suite and as I left, I saw him again, and just had to ask if it was him that bought it and if so, I hoped it would stay in Ireland as part of our Irish culture......Yes, I think he said.....with a smile.

Capital D then showed a young man who had inherited a house on the death of his father, in Dublin. This young man acknowledged the space but wanted to share it with others, on the basis of values as distinct from cost. I like this concept. He and a few friends decided to take a walk up Grafton Street and take a look up and see just how much space exists.....we all should take a leaf out of his book. Non utilised space in the inner city areas of Dublin ought to be productive rather than lie idol.

Colaiste Mhuire was also shown in its dereliction. As it happens my school friend Sandra and her husband were the last teachers to leave. This school provided much needed Irish spoken education for the inner city.......why has it been allowed to go derelict.

Keep up the work with the photos.........and bit by bit the plain people of Ireland will access their heritage with a degree of compassion.

Michelle Clarke

author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity publication date Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:41Report this post to the editors

Doc Martin

Yes, Baggot Street Bridge constructed over a century ago, and the walkover the lock, is such a pleasant walk. There is such a history around the area and quite a few books written. Adjacent to Baggot Street Bridge, was the bookshop Parsons (no gone) but to be found on Google. All kinds of people, writers, artists were to be found gathering in this book shop.

Did you know that Thomas Davis (1814-1845) lived at 67, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 (I am sure as you have walked by, you saw the nameplate on the left hand side of the door just above the doorway.

Thomas Osborne David died at the age of 31 but in his short life. he achieved a considerable amount. Thomas Davis lived with his mother and invalid sister.

His obituary in the Dublin University Magazibne noted

'his own family in whose bosom he lived and died in all peace and affection, entertained political opinions quite opposite to his'

The strong word tolerance applied to different opinions between Davis and his beliefs and that of his family - there was diversity in views.

Davis was the son of a Welsh father, a surgeon in the Royal Artillery and an Irish Motrher. The young Davis attended Mr. Mangan's mixed seminary' in Lower Mount Street.

Davis was a poor mixer but read voraciously. He was called to the Bar 1836 and called to the Irish Bar in 1837.

It is this Thomas Davis while walking in the Phoenix Park with two other men (John Blake Dillon and Charles Gavan Duffy, barrister and journalist respectively), agreed to establish and collaborate on the publication of a newspaper.......THE NATION

Davis laid it down for the Nation.....'it must embrace Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter - Milesian and Cromwellian - the Irishman of a hundred generations and the stranger who is within our gates' published October 1882.

History is all around is Dublin 2, Dublin4, Dublin 6........Ireland is about history both oral and written and this ought to provide hope........

I would love to see the young students to live out their history in the days of being at the colleges here and explore it to gain creativity and innovation to invoke the Knowledge Economy that we are well capable of putting in place......The Challenge is here before our eyes......Jonathan Swift spoke of 'Giving vision to the visionless'

Michelle Clarke -

author by Kevin T. Walsh - Michelle Clarkepublication date Fri May 01, 2009 19:45Report this post to the editors

Michelle

I really enjoyed the photos and commentary of our history especially in Georgian Square bricks and mortar. (Irish Georgian Society have a good website www.igs.ie
Ireland is the beneficiary of strategic philantrophy. I would recommend that people access Atlantic Philantropics.ie to view their web page and the contributions that are made to projects in Ireland. Their latest contribution to Ireland and Chuck Feeney is involved in it is the Irish Penal Reform Trust and it is a most informative site....given our aspiration of being a knowledge economy.

Another Fund is Ireland Funds. The website deals with donated money at work.

The Monks in Moyross are beneficiaries (the comment is Blessed are the peace makers).

The message is challenging........the monks are present. They say that there are well kept houses alongside houses that are boarded up, cracked windows and covered with graffiti.

Moyross was built in 1973......the State provided the houses and are responsible for the upkeep. 1160 houses were built back then and the population is now 4,000, some people left, but the critical FACTOR IS THAT 50% are under the AGE OF 24.

The monks presence alone gives support to people, isolated to the name of Moyross, the dereliction caused by angst, gang warfare that nobody is able to address as yet.,

Well done to the Monks for their efforts and to Irl Funds and their strategic philantrophy.

We all have something to give.....altruism, compassion can make a difference

Related Link: http://www.irishpenalreformtrust.ie
author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity publication date Sun May 03, 2009 22:24Report this post to the editors

Kevin.....you gave some interesting leads.

By co-incidence, page 32, Irish Mail on Sunday, May 3rd 2009, 'The man who wants to hand out Euros 1 m. per day for life' is featured. The Secret Billionaire - Chuck Feeney Story will be shown on RTE1 Tuesday night at 10.10 p.m.

Chuck Feeney has already donated over Euros 1.2 bn. to this country and it sounds as if Ireland is going to receive more.......what a positive for a country in recession. Chuck Feeney made his money when he co-founded Duty Free Shoppers and then sold on the business. Look out for the Atlantic Philantropic Funds......already a considerable amount has been contributed to several universities in Ireland. Also Atlantic Philantropics have contributed funds to the much in need Irish Penal Reform Trust (www.iprt.ie)

Urban Dereliction.......lest we forget. Most important is to halt dereliction for the profit motive in community areas. The photos on the site provided by CPO are excellent and worth looking at.

Someone mentioned Pembroke Road. This is a road for which the major developers had plans but as to what will happen now, it is anyone's guess!!!. Some houses appear to be the old pre63 flats, while others are offices, or private homes. Certain houses have been converted to modern apartments with extensions and mews houses.

Patrick Kavanagh lived on no. 62 Pembroke Road.
Patrick Kavanagh (1904-67) came from Co. Monaghan but believed that the City was the place for writers and moved to Dublin. Aged 13, Patrick Kavanagh left the local national school to become a shoemaker-farmer - neither job appealed to him. He was a day dreaming mindset and drawn to the literary life. By the age of 35. Kavanagh had migrated to Dublin. The infamous AE (George Russell gave him his first Guinea for a poem he published in the Statesman.

If you ramble down Pembroke Road, through Baggot Street to the Bridge, where once was the literary gathering bookshop, turn left and walk a little, you will see a Bench with a genleman smoking a pipe, with spectacles - this is in commemoration of this writer. 'It is the canal bank seat for the passer by'.

In the interests of tourism, it would be a nice point to meet and for those enthusiasts of Kavanagh's poetry to recite it - to share their gift with others who may not be able to recite, but are good listeners. Starbucks have a coffee shop adjacent to the Canal and his poem in large format is to be found on the wall.......

Poems: Stoney Grey Soil, Canal Bank Walk........books Tarry Flynn, The Green Fool

Michelle

author by leitheoirpublication date Mon May 04, 2009 09:35Report this post to the editors

I am surprised at AE (George Russell) being described as "The infamous AE " as I thought he was a benevolent person among the literary set during the early years of twentieth century Ireland. Didn't he write a famous letter to the Irish Times during the Dublin lockout of 1913 supporting the ITGWU and shaming the employers? And wasn't he editor of The Irish Homestead, a magazine of the co-op movement?

Other comments by Michelle about derelict sites and the unsocial nature of developers sitting on unused building sites for years I support of course. But I admire the social conscience of George Russell, who worked for a better Ireland in his day, along with Dublin accountant Horace Plunkett, in promoting the co-operative movement.

author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Ethics: Dignity publication date Mon May 11, 2009 18:18Report this post to the editors

Leitheoir

Groundhog day thought she had replied to you and while scrolling discovered no. You are absolutely correct - 'Infamous' was a most in approrpriate description given to AE.

This is a site I would recommend to anyone interested in contributing to the social history that has become part of a past and left aside, alas with scarce dignity.

As the summer approaches, I am thinking of sun and the criteria that make Dublin quite a unique European City. I am looking at the photos produced by brareltheredublin.com.......

Sandymount is a quaint village, and quite evidently was once a seaside attraction. The photographer with time to spare, cycled out on an exploratory trip and has written a little synopsis on Sandymount Baths.......on Sandymount Strand.....They tease out memories as to what existed in past times and what purposes they served.......
Past times are now a long time ago for Sandymount which had a pier, a Bandstand where concerts were performed.

Alas in the 1920's, the pier deteriorated and was demolished.....and the remnants of times past lie in a kind of unappreciated setting and squalid. Why!!!

To the Green Party I ask the question. Is it to do with Pollution and the smell ....... The sea is our treasure surely.

There is another photo of Dun Laoghaire Baths....a disgraceful scene that once provided facilities for people to enjoy and if necessary maintain a human dignity ... a place to wash....something which we now fail to provide.

Smurfits Print grounds make another interesting photo. This was one of first large public companies in Ireland involved printing......many people were employer here and this photo is poignant in the way it captures a pinky blue sunset with an old rusty skip to the fore, stating......there once was a life blood here but now it is no more. Nor does it eek out a sense of hope for future employment.

The photo of Bolands Mills.....makes one think of our history. It takes one to the Economic aspect of employment, flour mills, employees, the to our Political history....the shoot-outs and then most importantly the social history. The social history is linked to the economic history and how people move and live close to their place of work and especially where Cities have the advantage of Sea....Canals....Rivers......Air travel......

NAMA, it is said may be housed in the Treasury Holdings Building.....Let us ensure that the toxic assets as nicely outlined through the very many photos on this site, are not marked down excessively due to dereliction and negative market conditions globally.

Michelle Clarke
Quotation
Faith
'I began a Revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again. I'd do it with 10 or 15 and absolute FAITH.
Fidel Castro (born 1926) Cuban Revolutionary who ousted President Batista in 1950. (Now that is a challenge to NAMA appointees)

Related Link: http://www.athlanticphilantropics.ie
author by squatpublication date Mon May 11, 2009 21:18Report this post to the editors

Article in todays examiner about people in cork being forced to squat, due to no other angles left...
Squats: Nowhere to turn: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/squats-nowhere-to-....html

He knows of about 20 to 30 young people of all nationalities – including Irish – living in squats around Cork city, he says.

author by Eye in The Sky - Star Warspublication date Sun May 17, 2009 07:26Report this post to the editors

;;Squat'' i have read the article which appeared in The Examiner ,i find it difficult to understand for one simple reason , And no i am not telling the man
from Latvia ,whose story is in the Examiner ,to go home ,for one simple reason ,He has nothing to go home too , at least he was honest with the
journalist who interviewed The Man From Latvia , why they are not in receipt of social welfare and a roof over their heads is quite puzzling , so why are they
living from hand to mouth ,scraping from day to day on handouts , Now ,Thats what i call Real Hardship ,God Help them And anyone in the same
situation , we dont realize how well off we really are ....

author by Phoenix - Rule of Lawpublication date Wed Jul 01, 2009 17:26Report this post to the editors

his site ought to be kept to the fore at all times on Indymedia. Ireland is rapidly being consumed by a recession the majority of our people have no idea about. It has been thrust upon them, all within the space of a year, and now unprepared they find themselves with qualifications and no jobs to match.

A greedy bunch of developers funded by greedy bankers have fuelled this recession to a pinnacle that a compliant greedy Government stands alone, afraid, overpaid, making decisions that do not necessarily relate to the ordinary man, woman or child, who are there on the street. Has anyone noticed the increased number of people begging on our streets? Has anybody noticed the shopping centre off Dawson Street already stripped of a number of their exclusive shops? Has anybody noticed that the franchised coffee shops are already feeling the pinch? Then has anybody noticed the number of taxis queued up in all the main streets off the main streets in Dublin City centre? Try talking to a taxi driver who will tell you they have earned only euros 15 for several hours work.

The people press and social networking has a most important role to play. They can contribute to Government in a subtle but effective way. Ordinary people with ordinary observations can make the difference. They live, walk, see, hear and engage in the reality our Politicians have lost through the 'heady days of the Celtic Tiger'.

Back to this site. View the derelict buildings. Ask what do these derelict buildingsdo for valuations of properties in their locality? They further cause a reduction in value. What can be done with these buildings? I would suggest if you take an example of Dublin 4 and look to those Georgian squares and streets and all the to let signs and all the quite evidently vacant floors that an inward drive of people driven urbanisation could be most cost effective. These houses stand resplendid for their period in time and their architecture. We failed in the 1960's and lost many to slums and then dereliction. Now - are we planning to do the same? We ought to be saying to NAMA / NTMA listen to us also.....we have something to say. We have a way of working out a value per square meter that properties are worth.....we can promote space utilisation by policy decisions....we can suggest appropriate taxes. Just include us and keep us informed.

I would suggest that a form of rates ought to be re-introduced (not a 200 euro tax on mobile homes, and second homes irrespective of income). There is a new Green rule that anyone selling a property or letting out a property must have a BER certificate. This is fine but it will lead to more houses for dereliction. Surely, there is a better way to promote space utilisation. We hear nobody discussion how to make our Georgian Houses properties compliant with the environment and self sufficient. One example is a mirror on the roof space. People out there must have more suggestions. We have had the slums....we should say via green initiatives, that we will not be returning to the slums. Look at Elgin Road. Half the houses cost millions and half are what I would call semi occupied slums that are funded by rent allowance. Is this what humanity is about?

Next time you are on the bus, take a look out for patterns in housing. Look at the houses in Leeson Street that still house many tenants and our in poor upkeep. Then look out for those houses that our probably stuck in limbo due to inheritance conflicts. Look at the beautiful squares say Fitzwilliam, Merrion and think of Mr. O'Gara who caught the locals out and bought the ground rent of the square. He along with others have opened up this park to use of all people......this is positive. This is reviving the history of Rathmines, Donnybrook, Baggot Street, Fitzwilliam Square.

Let us be diligent. Let nobody reduce an area to desolation because buildings are allowed become derelict. Moyross is the obvious answer. Let us take example from the people in Ballymun who revived their communit with spirit.

Realistically, we face the proposition that the International Monetary Fund may have to intervene in the running of our Irish Financial affairs. We have one saving grace that may prevent us becoming totally isolated and that is our alignment with the EU. It was this alignment to the EU and euro currency that attracted a lot of US companies to Ireland during the Celtic Tiger. Let us not lose site of this.

It is time to reform and promote community. People need to look out for each other and to support their local shops, their elderly, their young people. In London in the 1950's and 1960's, areas around Shepherd's Bush once homes of the rich famous fell into the hands of people like
Rachman ... gangsters that were cruel landlords. We don't want this to happen again and we have power as people to divert this. You see we have a political culture in Ireland, we can sell our history through tourism.......we have Peace on the Island of Ireland and it is our duty to promote it.

author by Michelle Clarke - Social Justice and Disabilitiespublication date Sun Jul 19, 2009 21:40Report this post to the editors

To the people who produced the photos for this site - have you noticed the decline in our Urban space? The 'For Sale' signs, the 'To let', the shopping centres like Rathmines with many vacant shops. It will only get worse. It will be like England in the early 90's with vacant premises dotted all over the place and then a myriad of charity shops will opt to take the locations, at no doubt reduced rents, if any.

What can we do? We know the potential, we have seen it in Ireland. Ireland, the new State, post the 1916 Revolution saw many of its mansions, tower houses, castles, burned to the ground and if not, become un-inhabited. For those who remained in the houses, often they lived spartan lives, occupying only the room space necessary.

This we need to avoid. We the people can intervene, we can volunteer information, views, and experience. An Bord Snip has made its recommendations and we the people have a right to agree or disagree. The internet is here. We can use it. In fact, we can make our statement that the proposed cut to Broadband funds put forward by the report, be discarded and promote high speed broadband throughout ireland. This allows our aspiration of moving forward as the Knowledge Economy.

NAMA/NTMA, I believe have taken space in the Treasury Holdings building in Dublin 2. Let us ask NAMA/NTMA to be participative in the sustainable development and refurbishment of property in the Dublin 4, Dublin 6, areas. We have ribbon development throughout Ireland and we should note the cost of same is highly expensive. Urban living, well promoted provides the cheaper altnerative. The time is now ideal with the necessity of the BER certification to upgrade our stock of houses to maximum standards in line with a 'Greener' environment.

Most people of a certain age group will be aware of the Gallagher family and their involvement in housing and development. I worked for Seamus Gallagher, son of Mr. James Gallagher, in the 1980's - yes at a time of great unemployment, companies going into liquidation, yes it was the beginning of times getting tough. Governments changed. Landbanks that ought to have received planning permissions were left in futility. Mr. James, as he was known to staff, was a TD. In fact, he had established BASTA locks in Tubercurry, Co. Sligo. This was another time but fear not developers then, as now, were involved in Politics. The name that will remain on the lips through the decades is former Taoiseach, Mr. Charles J. Haughey.

I note, that Abbey, one of the publicly quoted companies associated with the Gallaghers, has been forced to write down the value of its land bank by Euros 58 m. Abbey is in fact the largest housebuilder on the Irish Stock Exchange. This is where experience may count. Ahead of NAMA/NTMA, Abbey have taken account of the market forces that have forced them to reduce house values by 50% in some areas, and they have moved ahead to value the land at the appropriate discount value. This leaves them free to engage in a root and branch exercise of their current workload and to look to the future. Being a publicly quoted company, it means they have also engaged in an upfront way with their Shareholders. We must always remember that in public companies, the shareholders can play an important part in the ethos of the company. They speak now of corporate, ethical and social responsibility and of course a form of corporate governance attaches to this. Vision is so important especially in this time of severe Recession. (The IFSC was born out of the 1980's recession).

Mr. Soden, speaking about NAMA some time ago stressed the importance at arriving at a value per square meter of property per each city. It looks as if Abbey have paved the way and it is worth noting that they have a broad spectrum over time, here in Ireland and in England, to build up a plan of action for Recessionary periods.

Again I return to our Georgian Squares. I note an article by Ray Managh in the Irish Independent. It is about an artist who is in a battle about a 'Georgian' 4 floor over basement home in Middle Abbey Street. It has a Georgian doorway and albeit not as ornate as those found in Fitzwillian Square, Merrion Square, Henrietta Street, it is rather splendid. The premises has become an artists studio. A man has lived in the house for 20 years and is in battle with Dublin City Council regarding the ownership of the building. Dublin City Council claim to be the owners. Whoever owns it, it is representative of the unacceptable degree of dereliction so many of these houses are permitted to descend to. We need to stop this carnage. To hve dereliction scattered throughout our urban spaces only gives false history. (I refer to the Germans while travelling along the Quays of the Liffey in the 1970's who said they had not realised that Dublin was so badly bombed during the 2nd World War.

No matter what corruption has occurred, there was also Vision. Let us not lose sight of far we have come. Let us take care of our people and let us be inclusive. Regarding the house in Middle Abbey Street - July 23rd is the date of the Court hearing. Dublin City Council will seek a court injunction restraining the named person from trespassing in the building where, he is supposed to have tenancy in the basement. Watch and Wait. Ireland has the potential to witness many evicitions or ejectments. We have access to knowledge, we must use it wisely.

Michelle

Quotation randomly chosen from The Little Book of Rebels
Heroism
Spike Milligan (born 1918) British humourist, animal rights activist'
'I am a hero with coward's legs'

author by Comyn - Social Justicepublication date Mon Aug 24, 2009 15:54Report this post to the editors

Yes, there is recession, even depression, but at grass roots level and by forming communities we can halt the decay that is already so visible.

I was talking to someone who had been over around the Meath Street, Francis Street, Thomas Street, Dublin City area a.m. and all they could say, was that an area which has a rich (even if impoverished history) is visibly showing the signs of the Recession. Shops are closing, money is scare and this makes it a hunting ground for petty thieves, burglaries etc. This does not have to be the outcome. We have learnt too much from previous times in our City of Dublin.

Libraries and bookshops are great havens to look up and study the history of our country and our people. Most libraries provide computers at no charge and if the librarian is keen, well they will show you how to link up.

A random choice of book in a Dublin bookshop gave me great insight to a part of our history that has been wiped away. The book was written by Mary Daly on the Population Decline and Independent Ireland 1920-1973. Previously in another book shop I had heard a man explain about the Congested Districts Board and how so many Irish people who worked towards the creation of the new independent Ireland had their works submerged by the new elites, which in 1920 of course, was Cumann Na Gaedheal, De Valera's party only gained power in 1932.

What I find fascinating about history is the formation of patterns and more so the patterns that tend to repeat themselves, mainly because of the impact of economics and financial markets, the commodities market, even the price of gold or oil.

We are all alert to NAMA and the NTMA that is in the process of being established. The offices have been chosen at Treasury Holdings near the old Bolands Mills site. The website is worth a look because it shows the structure of what NAMA/NTMA will be and how it will best implement buying back toxic debts from the many developers standing shame faced at present. They are not alone because the banks play a very strategic role in lending funds way above the asset values of the securities.

Back to history. I found out this interesting bit of history in the book mentioned above. It was about the Land Commission - the Irish Land Commission. There was a problem at the time of the formation of the state (not like now) with serious depopulation of our rural areas. The decline in population forced the Government to intervene. However, what we fail to recognise is that there was a body at work known as the Congested District Board whose function was to transfer land from the Landlord class to the occupying tenants. The British established the Congested Districts Board in 1903 who function was to purchase large tracts of land in the western counties. The concept is not too far removed from that initiated by Bacon and associates and proposed establishment of NAMA. The problem that the Congested District Board encountered was that the quantity of land was always insufficient. At the onset of the 1st World War, the British ended the function of the Congested District Board.

Ireland, paved a path towards independence with the view of a group of nationalists that England's misfortune, is Ireland's opportunity....There was the Rising by a relatively small group of men and execution of the 1916 Leaders.....At the time of the 1st Dail in 1919 there was an urgent need to curb social unrest and land hunger was top priority. Land Courts were devised to determine priorities for land re-distribution and similar I suppose to NAMA a Land National Bank financed the creation of 35 co-ops i.e. Land Societies (this did not in fact work out with a fall-out within a few years).

When the Government of the Free State came to power in 1923 it completely abolished the Congested District's board and by consequence a lot of work done by others appointed since 1903. The aim was to reform the Land Commission. The need was to access land by small payments so that it could be re-distributed to the declining population in our rural locations. Farms were divided and sub-divided. By 1934, the government was again under pressure and had to give a further undertaking to create as many as 4,000 holdings. Again, the Land Commission was unable to meet this target.

Between 1931 and 1949 (Ireland had opted for Neutral), the number of agriculture holdings had fallen by 17,000 while the Land Commission had taken over 2,700 farms and subdivided them into as many as 12,000 holdings at avg 21 acres per holding.

This forms the foundation of our State and Independence. It concerned the movement of capital assets i.e. land from one minority group of people to a majority. It is a similar approach to that taken by President Mugabe in Zimbabwe. We witness the discontent that exists in that country. It is true to say that we in Ireland had a more favourable transition i.e. until now.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that we moved from individuals in one minority moving to the Irish Sweepstakes, Celtic Tiger, minority in less than 100 years. What have we learnt and how can we survive without embracing social unrest.

NAMA/NTMA are faced with a challenge. The banks have built up a stock of toxic assets that are supposed backed by adequate securities by the developers who took out the loans in the first instance. Meantime, there has been a world financial crisis and the ripples have spread risk far and wide. What we don't know is will this turbulence cease soon or will we face a decade or more of depression. What we can do is remain alert to world market movements and Hope.....Meantime, it is up to us to become more forcused on Anti-corruption, Fraud, and seeking out those who have blatantly abuse the power of trust over people and send them to prison.

Look to Exxon in the US.....Corruption is a most serious crime against the State. The time for change is upon us. UBS Switzerland in a landmark decision in the UK have to reveal the details of as many as 5,000 account holders who are deemed to be evading tax.

Dale Carnegie 'Look to the day For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. Today well lived is a dream of happiness.

author by macnamara - Developers, Builders, Toxic Debtors publication date Tue Feb 23, 2010 17:26Report this post to the editors

Today's Irish Times: Elgin Road, a three storey over basement property adjacent to the American Embassy is featured in all its abandonment and linked in ownership to the brother of a former Taoiseach of Ireland. The link is harrowing because of the recent Mossad (or supposed to be) assassination and the link to forged passports.

When does all the bad news stop, when can we start to progress yet again? Last night thankfully there was a programme about the history of the Docklands and the fact that in 1796 it was the largest canal programme by the British in the World. It was cycle tour by a man named Turtle Bunbury who has written book on both its history and more importantly on its recent advancement. This gives hope and do we need hope?

It made me think of this site and wonder if there could be a new vision and some inspiration !!!!

We sure need it. We each can make contributions. The Frontline had an interesting panel last night. A man by the name of Collins involved in the internet market spoke of the importance of the young acting on ideation via the web. I agree with hi, about the potential for Ireland (refer Pat Kenny website www.the frontline.ie). The scope is here to develop markets. Our environment has the potential and social networking sites have massive scope in a small island community like Ireland.

Looking at the houses on Elgin Road....it made me think of this site and someone's comment that how can we have houses of such value e.g. in the good times 8 m euros beside dereliction houses that have remained in situ without investment for periods of decades. Today, we witness the houses and again we must ask the same question. Why can such houses remain abandoned during the boom times and yet others are the homes of the 'elite'

Surely this would suggest a wealth tax on property or if not a wealth tax, a utility tax. How much space is not properly utilised because people choose to be wasteful in order to gain wealth via appreciation in property over decades. Why is there so much vacant space around Dublin 2, 4, and 6....

Motivation is vital to our people and this is a about creating an environment that inspires the ordinary people to be creative. - surely this was what created the ideation of a Celtic Tiger and the regeneration of areas e.g. Temple Bar and all the inspiration one can find therein.

Be it in Moyross or elitist Dublin 4 properties in this state of decay and dereliction cannot create an environment for inspiration and vision so the answer must be for people to react and start seeking change.

NAMA is real and it will behave like a real mercenary docking the value of properties by 85%, 95% and more. Likewise the Docklands will be held out to slaughter and the DDDA. What we need is a market and some equity? We do not need to crucify those developers who took a chance.

author by John Henry - Is Nama defunct before it ever starts? publication date Fri Feb 26, 2010 17:32Report this post to the editors

In those times, they referred to the 'Encumbered Estates' and something in the region of over 70% of large estate homes had to be relinquished to demolition.

If we look to economics and supply and demand, the equation appears to be that we have too many properties worth virtually nothing at this moment in time and the question is what do we do?

The 1911 census in the National Archives will leave us in no confusion as to what our poverty was like then. Our georgian houses were nothing but tenements with 12 to 16 people living in what would have been a formal drawing room or dining room or even library in earlier times when the nobility lived in Ireland. The answer here to the question is that the big houses were no longer wanted by the rich who had left the country (as is the case with tax exiles today e.g. Bono).

Take a look at Dublin these days. Look at the number of Estate agents advertising houses for rent or for sale, or flats within. Every second to third house around Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square has a sign outside....what will be the outcome? Will these buildings become tenements of the future or will they be knocked down?

Going by the news today most of the Developers seem to be making statements that they are 'broke yes flat broke'

What does this mean for the Island of Ireland?

We seriously need to stop the blame game.

We ought to stand ashamed of No. 6 Elgin Road with its boarded up gate. For people who know this road i.e US embassy - about half the houses are refurbished while the other half are of the era of pre-63 potential tenement houses in flats.

We need to think our way out of situations where houses can be left vacant by owner landlords.

Prime Time last night showed our young men who have completed part traineeship in trades related to building out of work. Where is an Taisce, Anco, FAS in the harnessing of these talents in our Georgian Houses vacant in the affluent parts of our city

It was interesting to see a young man leave his home in an estate somewhere in the country and as he walked down his route, there was a house boarded up. He has a trade. Boarded up houses like this are bad for the social wellbeing of our people. Let us have a meeting of minds to generate potential and alternatives for these young men. They have the skills to refurb the house which could be used as a place for young people to gather and say learn computer training skills, etc.

The Royal Irish Academy is a haven we all should avail of. You enter the Georgian doorway from Dawson Street and you step back in time. Look out for the postcards advertistising Celebrating Thinking 2-30 March 2010 - this is for all people in Ireland to access, young and old, rich and poor

Elgin Road is shown to the public for us to think about property and utilisation of same. I was talking with a woman who lives in one of these houses and she made an interesting point. She said the like of an Taisce aren't going to look for houses to be upkept once the fire places and doors remain within. However she did make the point about dry rot. If this gets into one house, then it seeps and it ultimately damages all the houses in the terrace. Now this is something to review.
?
We need to start reading books like Bertie Ahern suggested i.e. Bowling Alone by Putnam or another more recent book called Spirit Level - their ideation is a fostering of communities once more

author by Hederman - Electric canal barge Grand Canal Theatrepublication date Thu Mar 25, 2010 16:38Report this post to the editors

Boomtime Ireland of the 1960's gave way the recession in the late 1970's when too many builders 'went to the wall' and many were heard of no more. Joe Duffy's show today indicated one major change - those thinking of suicide as the route out of desperation have Console to phone! Perhaps I am a little cynical but back in the 1970's the Samaritans were there, there was the secrecy code of doctors, priests and disaster just had to be faced. Realistically, things were a lot worse then.

We need Hope. We need to encourage those people who are for their own personal reasons 'hiding' little snatches of money be it Euro, Stg, US$ or even the old IR£ to start spending. Buy Irish, spend local and while you are doing it, think of those who have taken the risk to start up a business and support them, their community, their family and then maybe we can start the climb back to prosperity.

When the going gets tough the tough get going and when better than now to urge people to move forward. Well done to the like of Michael O'Leary, Ryanair and to his Horse that won in Cheltenham, he pays his taxes in Ireland and he promotes tourism with motivation, drive, innovation that can only be admired. We need his humour and get up and go to deal with this crisis.

P.C. Worlde Michelle Clarke Doc Martin Phoenix - you have created an appealing invitation to explore our city in Dublin. I want to add this new exploration: Yes, somebody inspite of the recesssion is willing to take a risk:-

The Grand Canal Theatre is open and there will be an electric canal barge which will have a kitchen and seating for as many as 48 people. It is called the MV Cadhla and its focus is tourists and theatre goers. Just imagine it will provide tours from Charlemont Luas station, near Ranelagh village, to the new Grand Canal Theater using the Grand Canal which was built by the Guinness Brewery.

What is interesting about this barge which cost euros 1 m to build - it is powered by batteries that cost euros 100,000 but they are charged over night and the carbon emissions are recorded. This is thinking ahead and we need more of this and it is people at ground level who can inspire. This is not a time to bring the country to its knees with strikes, we did this in the 1970's and 1980's with the Wage Agreements.

We need people to spend; to spoil themselves and go to the theater, go to the pub, interact, support those who are genuinely in need. Did anybody out there know that you can be sentenced to prison for begging. Yes you can. A man who sleeps outside told me he had been imprisoned for 3 months for begging. Yet what a paradox. People like this man who receives money keeps it in circulation whereas others still don't know what to do with their deposits in Anglo, B of Ire, AIB, when the Guarantee ends in September 2010. How bizarre - you would think one would have learnt the lesson from the shares price reductions (E 30 to 1 odd)

author by Cinderella - Urban Destructionpublication date Tue Aug 28, 2012 13:53Report this post to the editors

First written about in 2009 and thanks to the efforts of a poster who included photos of Dublin in despair at that time - the dereliction, the abandonment. These photos exist no longer and what a pity. However we can build on the theme!

Now all we hear about is a property tax and the rates charged to businesses. We are destroying what has been achieved albeit at too high a financial and economic cost. However, if there was a system of joined up thinking, a recruitment of ideation/creation from the citizen base of this country (not only those pay income tax/household charge) and a sense of morality restored, maybe we the people of Ireland could halt what is now very possible and that is the degeneration of our cities, our country. Houses boarded up are beginning to appear in Rathmines, Ranelagh, Raglan Road, Elgin Road. Do we want this? We need to ask how long does it take for a house that is on the NAMA schedule to devalue to such a degree that one of their executives can buy it at a knock down price and then move to the UK.

Georgian Dublin is heading for decay if property tax becomes penal. Remember slum dwelling (1960's/70's) during economic hardship times is still in the mindset of people aged 45+ In the UK, all it took was a man called Rachman to move North of High Street Kensington to create the 'flat market' that soon became unrealistic as a source of income/investment for the ordinary punter. What is happening down around Gardiner Street now? Many families are occupying rooms. Do we really care?

Phones these days take photos. It would be great if somebody could take photos of vacant buildings, boarded up houses, offices, development sites, North South East and West so that when the so called property tax is introduced in January 2013 the people can express their anger and evidence that the Government is wasteful with its time and resources.

The fact is the system of rental supplement is a joke. It should be paid direct to the Landlord, making housing services organise proper accommodation for tenants. 100,000 people are in need of housing yet NAMA has blocks of apartments sitting empty which could be used, sold and then sold on to tenants via the RAS scheme (ie if it is still in operation).

Peter Mathews on Vincent Browne last night seems to have a more common sense view than most of his party members about site value, development land values. Would like to hear more of what he thinks and recommends.

FG plan to re-invent their head office in Mount Street. At the same time Merrion Square is destined to become the new cultural centre in Dublin. What I would like to know is: Will they comply with the rules of the Georgian Society or will they be more dynamic and follow the example set by Ove Arup and the extensive re-deveopment of three properties they own on Wellington Road, Dublin 4.

Cinderella who represents all buildings/sites/localities/houses presently being stripped of their dignity by bureaucratic monsters who really don't care

author by Dingle Paddy - Ranelagh migrantpublication date Wed Aug 29, 2012 13:41Report this post to the editors

I find this posting above a bit bizarre to say the least. The Government abandoned its people a long time ago. I fully agree that no houses should be left derelict or empty. There are at least 40,000 houses empty in Dublin yet people die on our streets homeless during the winter. My question is simple: Cinderella states that Peter Mathews, Fine Gael, I say Mathews is a celeb gobshite who would need to be on the streets for a week to get a grasp of reality. Mathews is a permanent fixture on Vincent Browne just like Dearbhail MacDonald and Justine McCarthy - this is nothing but cronyism and it is alive and well even on TV3. Flat land is bedsits and landlords who don't give a fuck.

Dingle Paddy

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonmentpublication date Wed Aug 29, 2012 14:07Report this post to the editors

Recession bites deep. The Commission of Taxation are supposed to have a set of guidelines according to piece in the Irish Times today. They go like this: Those below a level of income yet to be determined will not pay; those who bought property between 2000 & 2008 and paid inordinate stamp duty will not pay; every 5 years property owners will need to get tax clearance.

The aim is to establish an up-to-date register that will value all properties and land in the State.

Cartography is one way, but may be too laborious; then census information and maybe then the data base of Google could come to the Government's rescue. Who knows what these data banks of information really reveal and how secure the privacy factor really is? Those cars with cameras may have been curtailed but realistically data is somewhere surely!

Dingle Paddy: a flat dweller in Ranelagh. You know only too well the poor standard of accommodation in those 2 and 3 storey over basement houses divided into pre 1963 flatlets of one units are all about. The question is these landlords have had decades of earning weekly/monthly rents with no obligations to keep the flats serviced as the so called PRTB instructs. The reality is stark. Lateral thinking by government to harnass old landlords who have long made their profits from these houses are made bring them up to an acceptable standard with bathroom per each apartment and therefore with less tenants.

Georgian Dublin is a disgrace. If FG plan to refurb their office in Mount Street, please let them think seriously about making the owners of many of these under utilised houses prepare them for habitation or offices before dereliction is the only way forward.

Last point: Morality dictates if the State continues with Upward Only rent reviews because of the pressure of market forces, then individuals ie landlords should exercise a degree of humanity and reduce rents say on an annual basis until this crisis is over.

Are there any people out there who promote the introduction of a Robin Hood Tax here in Ireland?

author by Forster - Urban Abandonments & Mansion estatespublication date Fri Aug 31, 2012 14:16Report this post to the editors

Could FG be doing a re-run! FG offices in Mount Street undergoing total renovation and nearby Merrion Square to become the next cultural hub, the new Temple Bar but this time restoring the houses of Georgian Dublin? Like with Temple Bar, 10 out 10 for trying to kickstart activity and economic growth, it is the only way forward.

Property section newspapers today is about great value for the buyers? Period residence and land in the country which not so long ago was sold for £4.5 m is now for sale with an expected price of £400,000. There is a narrative of hardship I would suggest here. Could the purchaser @ £4.5 million be the seller @ £400,000 with no say other than what the banks and courts instruct. Reality time, this is as has happened throughout the history of buying, selling in property in Ireland and far and wide. There is always the fall-guy, the person who takes the hit and is made bankrupt. In another century these people were humbled by the Encumbered Estates Act or after the Civil War it was the Land Commission. We all know tales of hardship where banks repossessed houses or as in the 1980's housing crash in the UK, where Irish people just put the keys through the letter box and skipped the country while others faced financial ruin. We need to ask what have we learned from experience? You buy your home or you buy a second home so that you have a pension when you retire but you get burnt in a recession. What do you do when the Banks/Courts are saying 'you stupid person you got greedy and you over extended yourself and WE were basically conned by you the person seeking the loans. The blame shift by Power brokers about the value of the property concerned.

To this I say.....it is 'Take Responsibility by all parties concerned' but the qualifier is there must be some form of write-down in the case of exceptionally high levels of debt and this must rest with the Banks. Don't forget these banks have already stung shareholders/people who invested their pension annuities in shares and these now same Banks who pay inadequate interest to deposit holders. Make the banks accountable, competitive and risk-takers to help shore up this flagging economy with new enterprise.

Who will buy these properties is the question we should ask? In the 1950's, Germans saw opportunities to escape their history and used funds no doubt probably hidden in Swiss bank accounts and bought some of these large homes and land. Then in the 1970's/80's it was Germans and Dutch people who sought Ireland particularly Cork and Kerry. Presently we see the Spanish, Greeks, Italians running scared and capital flowing out to German or even property in the UK. Stop the fear must be near.

What about now? We the people need to identify that many properties, if not sold, will only become devalued and ultimately vanquished.

Is there a narrative that we can hone in on the £4.5 m house now £400,000. Can we grasp the circumstances? Why are the Banks so powerful that they can enforce them to sell now when who knows in 10 years time the house may be worth x million again. How do we help these people to get the maximum amount of money for the house. Can we entice more Germans to enjoy Irish living and bring with them their abilities to farm lush pasture?

It is the people who will re-harness the potential we know we have, it is the people who will tackle the corruption and find those funds cleverly hidden in tax havens, and it is the people who will strive to protect those vulnerable people who need support. It is the people who will say to Government that tax exiles must contribute fairly to the running of our country. These people are content to use the infrastructure/media outlets but think ill of really supporting their home country.

Addendum: Squatting. Before we encounter this, we should note that legislation at long last has been introduced in the UK to make this a criminal offence. The sentence is 6 months or £5,000 fine. This consolidates the home owners status.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Sat Sep 08, 2012 14:56Report this post to the editors

Excellent photos back then but no longer available. Recession so much worse now. We need photos similar to then (now deleted) but for September 2012 as our urban landscape stands on brink.

Headings from posting April 2009
Photos of derelict locations/Urban Art from the Streets/Photos of abandoned businesses...Keep in touch with realities of a near bankrupt Republic.

Last Thursday, I walked with my daugter around Dublin 2, I saw Georgian house after house vacant, shop after shop for sale or to let and for sale signs on property after property. Add to this the presence in town for the next fire sale of Allsop and it is a most dismal time.

Greed Corruption Cronyism has brought this country to its knees yet it continues unabated. Why?

What's left - a Nation trying to cope and struggling to find its identity yet again.

It is the people, the ordinary Irish people and our migrant friends who came to our shores who are the real casualties of the scandalous urban abandonment that is imposed upon us. We need a government who has a will to change. This will not happen. I wish I was wrong. Greed and corruption appear to be winning yet again.

Brian Flannery

author by Apartment Living - TV programmepublication date Thu Sep 13, 2012 14:28Report this post to the editors

They say 100,000 people are on the list for social housing. Yet they say negative equity has consumed our housing stock yet a fairer distribution of people to suitable housing accommodation for their needs could be orchastrated by Government policy. We are now 5 long years into this recession. To see families living in apartments without space for a dining table and raising 4 small children in an apartment fit to hold 1 maximum two people is an absolute disgrace.

Allsop is back in town October 3rd to sell off properties at fire sale prices. I sincerely hope there are housing agencies/NGO's/Co. Councils, Dublin City Council prepared to buy stock at favourable prices to re-home people adequately. They have RAS in place, so let there be no excuses.

Supply and demand still dictates our market prices. If we manage to reduce the supply side, eventually we will create a market to move again. It is interesting to hear (H. Schumann on Vincent Browne, TV3) that inflation in house prices is actually occurring in Germany already. If money is released into the market, the fear is that inflation will re-appear but it would seem to be that inflation is already hovering in the German market, so they will be watchful in this regard.

Today the High Court has made its stand against impropriety, cronyism and conflict of interest. Nama has initiated an action against a former employee and his wife over the purchase of a NAMA controlled property. Enda Farrell was a former portfolio manager who is accused of using insider knowledge to buy a property without notifying NAMA. This man is now living in the UK and working in a similar portfolio based position.

The people of Ireland need to take on board what is happening in their communities. For example, if you live in a community, why not be aware of vacant properties, know who owns them or for that matter if they are owned by NAMA? Get to know the price and raise your personal level of expectation to see the properties marketed and even be a little ambitious and see if you can find interested parties.

Agree with posters. It is a pity photos of derelict houses/offices/businesses no longer on this site. With 450,000 people unemployed, someone surely can put up links showing what dereliction can do to morale. Dolphin's Barn and boarded up windows as shown on tv programme the other night, does not have to be so, we can make the change, if we put our minds to it and address the problems.

Further point: Apartment living is expensive when it comes to management charges. Some people pay £3,200 pa. If property tax comes in people will not be able to pay both and then we will face worse problems because people will not be able to sell apartments as management companies become insolvent. Just look at the McFeely scenario. These are young families who probably bought apartments in the hope of buying housings in which to rear their families. How do we help them now?

author by Marcella - Propertypublication date Sun Sep 16, 2012 14:46Report this post to the editors

Property in Dublin 4: Who will take the hit? Imagine houses in the area of Wellington Road and Waterloo Road as recent as 2006 were bought for £6 million and £3.5 million respectively. The question we ask is, like Thornton Hall site, who received the money and did they anticipate what lay ahead in financial markets and invest abroad or even in the Isle of Man? The next question is who bought? Did they have the jobs, the capital, the deposit, the property portfolio or did they get swept in the tide of those bankers, lawyers, business people who saw only and upward moving trend? What we do know now is that some of these people were badly hit and the banks are hounding them to try and retrieve some paltry amount of money and leave them life bound and their families with negative equity strapped to their backs. This is the reason both with the ECB and our own banks we ought to be pushing ahead for write-downs on debt to make it possible for people to achieve a new balance sheet position. Do not destroy lives, make it possible for people with families to start again using their professions, their experience, their entrepreneurship abilities. James Joyce rightly said that mistakes are but portals of discovery.

Take this house on Waterloo Road. One with a storey less sold for £3.5 m in 2006. Now there is one for sale fully refurbished with a skylight to such a degree that it would make a handsome property for someone in an embassy. The basement has a library, a large playroom, a hall that is an office and its own wine cellar. Then you move up through the floors, each more luxurious and tastefully designed than the last.

To make an assumption so that we can really assess where the banks/lawyers faltered and lent money indiscriminately that the house was bought by say a legal person for £3.5, add expenses for solicitors/inspections and tax. Then assume it was a pre-63 and in say 10 flats so the new owners decided to revert it to a family residence. These people saw potential in a Georgian House on Waterloo Road, they applied for planning permission. They got the loans and the employed the design team and builders. Let us assume a cost of £1.5 m (estimate), now we are at £5 m.

This house is up for sale now. £5 million and the question is who is looking for their money? Is it right that if say the original owner got the £3.5 million and transferred to Switzerland or the Isle of Man tax free and this purchaser was bamboozled by the financiers to take the risk, (alongside their own passion for a house of this renown) and they are now faced with a value of say £1.5 (if sale or fire sale yields this) while the capital foregone and the amount of the loans relate to a hot air sum £3.5 m.

It can't work. We must write down debt. We need to take living examples in to our remit and think it through.

Just had a chat with a man who has been in the property gain for years. His common sense is that Peter Mathews is the only man in Fine Gael who knows about markets and he should be representing us as part of the Finance Team. I totally agree. He has the feel as well as the experience of markets and we need him, and people like Constantin Gurdgiev, Brian Lucey and others to represent us the people of Ireland. Too many in government are from cosy backgrounds with pensions, homes for decades at low cost, investments.

Earlier recessions tell the tale. Look to the Gallagher Group and Stephen's Green. Write down is the only way forward.

author by Michael - Investments overseaspublication date Mon Sep 17, 2012 14:25Report this post to the editors

Mr. Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Why would you decide to invest in a property fund, marketed by AIB private Banking, at a time that Ireland needs every cent invested within?

author by Forster - Interestedpublication date Thu Oct 04, 2012 16:38Report this post to the editors

This week is Innovation week and the Irish Architectural Foundation is hosting events/lectures/photograph collections etc which links nicely with the request on the Indymedia Ireland site for photos - yet to be posted.

Merrion Square over the month of September held events in the Square and environs so it is paving its way to be the new cultural centre of Dublin City. To add to this the Fine Gael office in Upper Mount Street is presently seeking planning permission for the refurbishment of a two Georgian houses on that street.

The Jewish Museum in Dublin 8 is to be extended but plans submitted have raised doubts from the local residents. These are old houses of architectural significance and it will be interesting to see what the outcome will be.

The EU directive should encourage people.

Ireland will be obliged to upgrade 3% of our public buildings (schools, hospitals, courts etc) every year. The knock on effect of this will be to improve the energy efficiency of all areas of our economy by reducing energy prices and increasing competiveness at a global level. This if enforced will provide greater opportunities for the provision of more secure, sustainable jobs nationally.

The refurbishment of our out-dated public and private buildings will create the revival of craftmanship and this is any area which should be tapped by the like FAS.

author by Chestnut - Urban publication date Mon Oct 15, 2012 15:01Report this post to the editors

Irish Architecture Foundation: Going by twitter this appears to have been a great success. Lots of photos will have been taken and it would be great if someone could upload say 20-30 to promote an interest in our urban environment especially in Dublin.

The song goes...'the world is a circle without a beginning and nobody knows where the circle ends....' but we can say Stop.

Apartment living has become the latest nightmare of that so called Celtic Tiger. Apartments have become a noose around the necks of owners.

Priory Hall: the headline in the Sunday Business Post goes 'Priory Hall residents owe £15,000 more each to banks'.
These people are not alone in a negative equity trap but are re-located away from the homes they are indebted for while lawyers, banks, courts, insurance companies, developers squabble. Who pays? Yes, ordinary people, they pay literally and emotionally. Problems have arisen in another block Southside of the city so can we expect more hardship for people and unprecedented costs.

One year ago people were evacuated from their homes yet even though the lenders/mortgage providers gave a moratorium on the loans, these borrowers in effect owe £15,000 more than they did one year ago. Here we need to say Stop. Time is money when it comes to a loan with interest on capital and a compounding effect and then add in the good old negative equity and the added non value relating to Priory of the reputational cost of the fiasco.

A £220,000 mortgage for an apartment in Priory Hall will have accumulated at least £8,705 in interest and £5,675 in principal - this is for the year that the problems arose and alternative accommodation provided so this has to be costed also.

Dispute is what Priory Hall is all about these days. People are secondary to a bureaucratic system that leaves them in abeyance yet meeting the debt for properties they are not able to live in, properties which the purchased. This is becoming another blot on the landscape of our city which did a lot to challenge the deprivation of earlier decades. How long will the lenders facilitate these purchasers. Certus has already taken over Bank of Scotland mortgages. Permanent TSB are supposed to be currently reviewing the deal with Priory Hall customers. It would indicate that the moratoriums granted may not apply in the future.

Ghost living can easily be witnessed first hand. Take a trip towards Leeson Street, Baggot Street and you will see many properties with to let or just vacant. A searing example today is the once famous pub Hartigans on Leeson Street, the shop front is fine but look up the four stories and you realise that dereliction of the upper stories is already visible. Then look around you.
We do not want to add to our Georgian and Victorian stock of houses a post Celtic Tiger contingent of ghost apartment blocks and partially finished housing estates. There is no need for homelessness in Ireland now surely.

author by Tpublication date Mon Oct 15, 2012 21:39Report this post to the editors

Two pictures of a small ghost estate outside Bridgetown village in Co. Wexford.

ghostestate_mosaic_bridgetown_cowexford_apr_2012_medium.jpg

fencedoff_ghostestate_bridgetown_co_wexford_apr2012.jpg

author by Chestnut - Ghost Estatespublication date Tue Oct 16, 2012 13:55Report this post to the editors

T. Thanks

These haunting photos tell a harrowing narrative of life for so many. Families for generations will recall these ghost estates and what austerity demanded by the Troika can do to reverse the economic growth necessary to allow this economy to coast out the recession and achieve prosperity again.

author by Ghostpublication date Tue Oct 16, 2012 15:29Report this post to the editors

Until approx end April 2012 I lived in an estate less that 500mtrs away from where the above photos were taken.

Between my house and the local shop, a distance of approx 250/300 mtrs, there were approx 25 empty houses.
Most of those houses were not 100% complete, i.e. some had no doors but had windows, some were plumbed, and had electrical connections drains etc. All that would be required would be to finish the insides, plastering painting etc. so, a large percentage of them were between 50-60% finished

Of the remainder, almost all of those were maybe 75-80% completely finished, both inside and out. Very little required to to bring them up to a standard where someone could move in immediately afterward.

The houses are currently under the management of NAMA or some related entity, IBRC perhaps. Essentially the Gov't owns them. But in reality they are controlled now by the same Financial Vampires, the same people that help create the conditions which lead to the housing bubble and collapse into debt slavery.

Admittedly Bridgetown is a bit of a hole, and certainly wouldn't benefit socially from a large influx of previously urban homeless into their already disadvantaged community, but there really is no excuse for homelessness in this country when such estates are not a one-off occurrence.

For example, Non-profit Housing Co-ops, established with Gov't granting, could be tasked with finishing such houses and allocating them on long-term rent-to-buy scheme to a mixture of the ever-increasing "working poor" and social-housing recipients.

Something similar to what the local councils used to do, but with estate management controlled somewhat by the residents themselves, making them have a real stake in maintaining quality of life in their local living environment

Care would have to be taken that such places would not become a dumping ground of the rural-poor though.

author by Tpublication date Sat Oct 20, 2012 22:38Report this post to the editors

Here's two more pictures this time of houses completed long ago but now boarded up and probably slowly rotting from damp inside. These are a very common sight all over the country and are a glaring illustration of the mis-allocation of resources in our society.

Corner house in Rathmines at junction opposite the canal
Corner house in Rathmines at junction opposite the canal

Boarded up cottage along Canal Road, Dublin
Boarded up cottage along Canal Road, Dublin

author by xpublication date Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:08Report this post to the editors

http://derelictdublin.blogspot.co.uk/

Blog that ran from 2007 to 2009 - are all these places still derelict?

author by Forster - Environmentpublication date Sun Oct 21, 2012 14:39Report this post to the editors

T X

The photos alert us to be aware of a Dublin we can recreate so very easily. Century by century witnessed peaks and troughs. 1800 Dublin saw the emergence of the Georgian Squares, Northside and Southside, that subsequently became slums and ultimately so the construction of local authority houses to provide humane accommodation for people. Now these Georgian houses which during the Celtic Tiger were basically ignored and are now standing under under utilised. We the people must intervene and decide how to stop the rot.

Irish Architecture Foundation have made considerable contributions to keeping our cities alive over the past 6 years and it would be great if they could contribute to this site to build up a momentum to halt dereliction and create opportunities for further renovation and development, even if this means the Government create an equivalent to section 23 tax breaks but to ensure non dereliction of properties, businesses, shops.

People say the rents are too high. The Govt say it is difficult to change contracts that call for upward rent reviews only. What about the conscience and morality factor of plain ordinary people and the recognition that equity determines if the market says rents must be lower to give new businesses and people a chance to survive, well we don't need to wait for the change in legislation we are prepared to ACT and just cut the rents.

T thanks for the photos. We need to witness what is happening.

X this site was started by you and it is great to have your photos back on this site. I would think this should shame people into taking account of what this global financial crisis has cost Ireland.

Walked past the hotel that was once Juries. A derelict building boarded over with lots of grafitti is now beside it - this area was supposed to be the Knightsbridge of Dublin, thankfully someone invested in the hotel but the environs are just ghost buildings in the making.

Please take time to check out the original photos of this site and lets create a narrative via an interconnectedness to stop dereliction and shame in our cities, towns and villages and even areas known as urban development sites.

http://derelictdublin.blogspot.co.uk

author by Tpublication date Mon Oct 22, 2012 20:05Report this post to the editors

Here's another photo; this time of three separate ghost apartment blocks all beside each other up in Sandyford Industrial Estate. They might look okay in this lighting but most of the time they are eyesores but useful reminders of the mad days of the property bubble. The second picture was provided to give a closer lookup of the folly.

It's almost a certainty that these are NAMA properties and there are plenty of similar structures elsewhere around Dublin.

unfinishedghostapartmentblocks_from_the_propertybubble_sandyford_dublin_oct2012.jpg

unfinished_apartment_tower_block_closeup_sandyford_dublin_ireland_oct2012.jpg

author by Forster - Ghost Estatespublication date Tue Oct 23, 2012 14:26Report this post to the editors

Thanks T

Shrill is the feeling I get from the photos of these unfinished apartment blocks southside city so near our beautiful scenic Wicklow. Who allowed these monstrocities via our so called planning system Was there a greasing of palms? No doubt these developers are now in NAMA. There is another of these buildings that can be viewed from Dublin 4 but I believe the Central Bank decided to buy it and complete the development....there will not be many more takers for such eye sores.

The housing list gets larger, the homeless are out on our streets. Focus Ireland and such groups work with the homeless but one always has to take account of their vested interests. Hostels or B&B's mean bureaucracy can create its own market and keep people on the revolving door of making phone calls each night for beds yet never having the responsibility or ability to establish a home. At least in the 1980's, the response to the dereliction of the Georgian/Victorian slums was the building of local authority houses in Dublin City and throughout Ireland to give families the opportunity to have a home for their families. They also laterally had the option to buy out their corporation homes.

As we all know there is little work for architects, developers, builders thanks to gross mismanagement by our Government, our property now bowed down tycoons. There is a worldwide group who provide houses by engaging the community in renovating houses and providing them to families in dire need. In another era pre FAS (it was ANCO) and one could be assured of people with the craft of building and refurbishing were there to instruct on site people in the art of building. We had this during the Celtic Tiger when people travelled to South Africa to build for people in need. Now let us formualate something similar and stop these houses being boarded up, and apartments for that matter, by forming teams and restructuring the houses and making them houses for people in need.

Pat Kenny zoned in on rent and rates farce. Bureaucracy is making it impossible for people in retail businesses to get rates reduction. Add to this that Government owned properties are excluded and that retail units outside towns/city areas are drawing crowds away from urban centres because there are exhorbitant parking fees in towns and hungry money motivated clampers ready to pounce.

Before dereliction becomes too obvious it is time to say we the people must start looking at what we want and asking for a moral conscience by those with power to improve working conditions in these harsh hard times. Pop shops are a good option to tardy closed off premises in the heart of what should be a community.

Maybe someone can assist me. The organisation I refer to goes like Housing for humanity!

Forster

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Oct 23, 2012 16:50Report this post to the editors

Empty properties are part of modern Irish life. These are derelict properties, unfinished properties, abandoned buildings, buildings for sale, partially occupied buildings (the top floors of buildings through Irish towns and cities remain underused), and perhaps most disturbing are those buildings evacuated due to non-compliance with building regulations. There are mortgage holders who have no homes.

The longer these evacuated buildings remain empty the worse their condition will be. http://www.thejournal.ie/rats-mould-and-dampness-priory...2012/ However, having discussed this issue together with that of general dereliction with architects, it would appear that Priory Hall is but one of many recently constructed buildings that fail to comply fully with building regulations. Compare these failed buildings with those built prior to the introduction of buildings regulations or even the planning act, buildings built before the 1980s or before 1963. One architect stated having inspected many multiple residential buildings in various parts of the country said that “if current building regulations could force the closure of older buildings, then most buildings built would be empty”. He added that while current building regulations best protect the public, many recent buildings would also fail. This is due in part to there being apparently contradictory requirements, one such requirement is for windows to afford egress in the event of fire while also limiting the ability of children to open them. Another issue raised, that of the actual building regulations, 'the building control act of 1990; and any amendment thereof are a prescription for standards. The manner in which these standards are achieved is not dictated but through Technical Guidance Documents is advised. These documents are not exhaustive, nor may they be considered the only route to compliance. On cursory examination of reports the basis of which evacuations have been ordered it might appear that there is a school that interprets these 'guidance' documents themselves as being the legislation. People have been removed from homes, some of whom have been placed in older buildings that may not achieve the same standards than even the failed buildings they have been removed from. There are apartments through Dublin city in the top floors of Georgian buildings that fall far short of current building regulations but fall outside any control due to them having been altered prior to 1963. There are apartment buildings throughout the country that having been built prior to the 1980s fall short of current building regulations. Inner rooms, part of the reason for the evacuation of Priory Hall are not uncommon in older buildings. Single access stairs and therefore limited emergency egress is common in older buildings. Some older building that have been altered to include apartments do comply, due to them having been so altered following the introduction of regulation. It is clearly possible to have these older and often protected structures comply and therefore be made safe. How than can new buildings with often minor failings be evacuated.

Another consultant expressed, “It is possible for many of these recent apartments to be improved with minimal structural intervention. It may even be possible to correct faults fully without having any effect on the occupants. All that may be required is for considered and reasonable debate with fire authorities, in order to ensure both that people maintain their homes and are safe”. The costs involved may in cases be high.

This is an accommodation crisis that has long been recognised as developing. Controls were sought to curtail the burgeoning economy based on buildings in Ireland since the late 1990s. There were sought through rent controls which could have quelled the ever increasing property costs and the then growing trend of developing at any cost. The real value of property is in providing accommodation. During a discussion in 1987 in London where there were an obvious number of derelict or abandoned houses it was suggested “....an entrepreneur could take control of an abandoned house, clean it, paint it, make necessary repairs, change locks and then rent it at an affordable level on a monthly basis only. Should the owners return, they could give a months notice, and then move into their own improved house, ready to live in. Should they not return, the house would be lived in, maintained with the low rent, with perhaps a little profit and generally provide an improvement to the local environment over dereliction”. Such action could be legislatively controlled, would ensure higher levels of occupancy and avoid the pitfalls of squats, drug use, rat infestation and the dangers associated with dereliction in buidings. It could be community based with teams of volunteers for the benefit of people. Ghost estates, abandoned and hoarded houses, all used to provide homes and derelict sites could be used as open space. This would result in areas posing lower risk to the environment and those living close by. Dereliction as noted in the referenced articles in a relatively short time results in vermin, mould growth and damp penetration leading to structural instability and danger to the general public. These derelict playgrounds also pose an invitation to our young explorers with all the associated risk.

The images in these posts are an invitation to action. Compulsory purchase orders can be made by local authorities on any property ill maintained. While the local authority have no money, the real value of these properties is less than the cost of providing emergency accommodation for the growing homeless and those being re-homed from evacuated failures. The real value is in providing dignity and a home, in regenerating micro districts and in making attractive the spoils of a war against people for money.

Evacuated apartments.
Evacuated apartments.

author by fredpublication date Tue Oct 23, 2012 19:40Report this post to the editors

The FG government, their ongoing NAMA scam, and bankrupt bailed out property owners would rather their properties rotted / were demolished than fixed up and given to poor people to live in.

Wouldn't want property prices to go lower. We'd rather poor people remained homeless or died in the streets this winter.

Such is the current screwed up ethics of profit before people.

author by Forster - Ghost Estatespublication date Wed Oct 24, 2012 15:41Report this post to the editors

T

Your photos are so much more captivating than the photo in today's Irish Times. They refer to symbolic unfinished apartments and offices at the Boulevard near Beacon Square Sandyford.

The article is interesting reading titled: Building Blocks for a better future - AND How to fine tune the Market? Don't know if we can get a link!

500,000 or thereabouts are unemployed in our country, add to this people with disabilities with abilities suffice to say contribute 15-20 hours work a week and the will to ensure that our country does not sink any further into the mire created by the greed of global markets and de-regulation, of bankers, developers, speculators and even the foolhardy. The time is here to harnass abilities and reduce the numbers on housiing lists bearing in mind that in Celtic Tiger years those in the local authorities shifted the responsibilities of building local authority housing estates to a broad range market of housing associations, rent allowance paid by community welfare officers, to the newly enticed by Govt landlord via section 23 tax incentives (now loan rangers and over-indebted to banks). What we have now is a mire of potential non take responsibility beings as we can see from the foregoing photos. People from the ground up, possibly out of work or under utilised can participate and act as mentors in the re-distribution of housing to those in need, to those who want to invest, even those who are willing to speculate.

NAMA - yes, Fred, I agree but we the people can through citizen journalism challenge this status quo. Make nothing impossible. We know that there will be insider dealers in such a bureaucratically bloated entity called NAMA, we know of the corruption that occurred in the Land Commission so we can place a halt to the gallop this time ... we have the means, we have twitter, we have citizen journalism.
Two people are already before the courts for trading information and taking advantage to buy properties for their own cronies on the inside. The technology and surveillance may have caught them by surprise though. Now that charges are pending, emails have been tracked and evidence found linking the man's direct emails to his wife.

Markets have no memories or so they say but markets have a tendency to recover often gradually. Today is Tuesday and yet the papers have a broad range of interesting properties for sale. The new game in town appears to be to sell a block of apartments or a part share of apartments in one job lot. An example is St. Edmunds estate in Palmerstown, Dublin for sale at £2.2 m for 18 apartments with full occupancy (except for one) yielding a rent roll of £196,620. The rents are £900-£1150 (std short term leases). This is a return of 8.6% which when you take account of returns in the now bureaucratic bloated non loan lending banks makes you think perhaps others with cash would fund alternative investments like properties...the reality is the circle, the pattern of what goes on in markets when money is wealth and yields returns for investors. The piece goes on to say that each apartment costs £122,222 and is at a 60% discount to the £350,000-£365,000 which similar apartments sold for at the peak of the market. The annual charge is £1,200 per annum.

Opportunity may come to pass but be assured it will not pause. Our Government is busy negotiating a write down of debt with the Troika. Well done to them and keep on doing so but at the same time we ask them not to be wasteful in their distribution of housing to people in need or for that matter to be wasteful in the allocation of housing to people with certain disabilities or those who are homeless. There must be another way to hostel living and begging on the street for the price of a bed for the night. The rent allowance is being reduced but it is paid to the tenant leaving him exposed to the whims of the landlord in a market where rents are not rising while houses are in negative equity.

Forster

author by gobsmackedpublication date Wed Oct 24, 2012 17:17Report this post to the editors

"Our Government is busy negotiating a write down of debt with the Troika. Well done to them and keep on doing so"

do you work for Enda Kenny's PR department?

They just told us we were a special case. A special case of stupid if we think their banks will let us off with a red cent that is. Enda left out that part of the sentence when reporting what was said.

He doesn't give a shit as he's on 200k + perks as long as he can keep bullshitting us. Then it's a huge pension afterwards. He can always retire to another country which has not been reduced to a basket case by gombeens like himself. Maybe with a cushy executive board membership with a german bank "for services rendered".

author by Forster - Ghost Estatespublication date Thu Oct 25, 2012 14:53Report this post to the editors

Gobsmacked.....yes I am. I never considered myself a PR person for Enda Kenny or Fine Gael for that matter.

Personally, write-downs or inflation seems to be the only way to get out of our massive debt mountain so I was just urging the powers that be to negotiate hard and fast when they have the sparce opportunities to achieve the necessary write-downs. I never envisaged that Enda Kenny would have been voted in as Politician supreme by the Germans basically for his exemplary behaviour and outcomes as per Pearse Doherty's tweet last night.

Agree totally that there needs to be an immediate overhaul about payments of salary, pensions, expenses, allowances to a transparent and much simplified system.

author by gobsmackedpublication date Thu Oct 25, 2012 15:45Report this post to the editors

pearse's tweet:

"Kenny gets German magazine European of year award chosen from 503 million people. if I was German I would nominate him myself #yourspecial "

I think Pearse is correct! Kenny has saved the asses of gambling german banks at our expense and the expense of our local economy and our health service and our education system and the privatisation of our profit making state enterprises.

They already gave him the cover of TIME magazine for being a good boy. They are cynically playing on the over inflated ego of this ineffective little man like a violin. They must think he is a complete idiot selling out his own people for so little.

The Bilderberg meeting also allowed Michael Noonan into their inner sanctum to play on his ego too. He got to be one of the boys for a while in return for his part in selling us out. They must all think these two guys are complete idiots.

Conversation in the back room probably (didn't) sounded like this:
"Just let the bumbling finance minister into some of our meeting and he'll feel like he's one of the big boys now and will willingly do whatever we ask. And give that egotistical little man that is called taoiseach the cover of TIME and he'll keep paying us billions. What unsophisticated idiots these irish paddies leaders are! Don't even have to bribe them with a lot of money or photograph them with cocaine and a prostitute to get them to sell out their own"

Also, if I worked for shell, tamboran, providence etc I'd nominate him too for the sweet deals he is giving everyone to help them steal Irish natural resources and in doing so they will no doubt destroy the environment and leave it for the stupid paddies to clean up the mess after, as is the pattern with such unanswerable corporate types. It's called "externalisation".

author by gobsmackedpublication date Thu Oct 25, 2012 16:08Report this post to the editors

...

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video


author by Forster - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Sat Oct 27, 2012 15:57Report this post to the editors

Gobsmacked again. Yes, Enda v one time Sean Lemass 1963 on the front page of Time magazine and our Finance Minister Noonan making it into the waiting room of Bielderberg. There is one thing that can be said, they are trying!

RTE and Revamp evidently is in hand by new head (ex BBC). Pat Kenny is back on Prime Time and last night Turbridy - had a panel of three including Dearbhail MacDonald, Legal adviser for the Irish Independent. David McWilliams took the stand for 5 minutes. It was 2003 when he predicted the housing bubble. He stated he saw the writing on the wall. He drew the analogy of visiting his grandmother in times of yore, when the people of note in the locality were the Priest and the Doctor. For people who are to young to remember this, it was about having a special room (living, parlour) where you could pretend you were that step above others. You had the china set wrapped in newspaper for the occasion and all was discussed in secrecy. David McWilliams compared the meetings of our representatives as similar to that of the Doctor and the Priest and that realistically our politically representatives are in fact being patronised but in a different way. This time is it the Europeans not the Doctor and the Priest who hold the cards of superiority.

His view is there needs to be a tackling of debt, if not a write off, perhaps let Europe introduce something like debt for equity swaps or other products.

Dearbhail has covered the courts where repossessions are effected (in an overly protracted painful way to the people in arrears). She too is adamant that the banks are still orchestrating the market for debt and are not as efficient in sorting the wood from the chaff ie those who can never be expected to repay the debt they have versus those who can. Closure within a time period is essential.

Negative equity is a reality but if you engage in debt forgiveness for some and not for those who struggled to pay off their mortgage at huge personal sacrifice, then this too is unfair and even inequitable.

Suggestion: Assuming you bought a property say for £620,000 at height of boom and now have sold it in 2012 for £280,000 and because you bought with cash you have taken the hit head on, would it not be fair for the extremely high stamp duty charged to be refunded to the purchaser or to the Bank to reduce the capital amount.

The plain people of Ireland need to put heads together, use ever tool that we have, from twitter, to citizen journalism, to RTE, to media and we must tell the banks what we want and ask Government to repay stamp duty paid by people who bought houses at the height of the negative equity disaster.

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonmentspublication date Tue Oct 30, 2012 14:56Report this post to the editors

Yet when I asked a person who comes from Elphin in Co Roscommon if there were any houses boarded up or left to dereliction, she looked aghast and said what about all the rural developed houses and small developments scattered throughout our most scenic areas just abandoned. This of course can only get worse, as the property tax will no doubt be introduced in the next budget, followed by an increase in the 2nd home category, followed by the water tax and who knows what else. Yes it is middle Ireland and our young people, their education, their opportunities that are being consumed by that roguish contingent of politicians, developers, gombeens who were only to at ease with that adage of 'borrowing from Peter to pay Paul' and creating a debt mountain.

Tom Parlon, Construction Industry Federation is of course trying to promote the building of more houses to create work . However, if we have so many houses, and nearly 100,000 on the waiting list for accommodation, followed by people who are technically bankrupt and who must forfeit their 'homes' and then be housed, add to this the buy-to-let casualties, and then those who are on rent allowance in properties/flats not fit for human habitation - someone somewhere needs to come up with a mathematical equation that matches supply to demand before we start building again, while letting ghost estates and boarded up houses environmentally pollute our country.

Thankfully there are some people out there like Charlie Chawke willing to see opportunity and I wish him the best of luck. Searsons pub was one of the pub casualities of the recession. Rumour goes that rates alone were punitive (someone might know the figure). A few weeks ago, it re-opened and thankfully so. Baggot Street Upper Village/Baggotonia was on the wane as the recession bites hard. It should not be, after all we host matches at the Aviva and there is an embedded culture for people in this area. This is one pub off the list for closure. Let their be a revival of community culture. Silicon Valley and people from Google talk about meeting in coffee shops to create opportunities for venture capital exposure so why not revive our pub culture to create dialogue again between people.

Check out the earlier photos to see what we don't want to continue to happen to our city, to our towns, villages, scenic resorts, to our country.

To read in the Sunday Independent that 6 former FF politicians (50-60 yrs) receive £150,000 pa (until they die, index linked - guaranteed - inflation protected), costing the people currently paying towards their pension, a pension pool about of £6 million per person, is an indictment to the Troika's inability to curb waste in administration before they tackle the most vulnerable in our society. We need to grasp this urgently. These people are receiving multiples of the average wage and when you add to them their Secretary Generals - the cost is in the region of £75 million. We need them to give us some money, a gesture to a Robin Hood account.

author by anonpublication date Tue Oct 30, 2012 22:00Report this post to the editors

Yes, I heard they had to pay the ridiculous figure of €8,000 a week. Not a month, but a week. I had to ask several times to confirm it was really this amount and apparently it was. I don't know how they managed to stay open so long.

author by Chestnut - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Thu Nov 01, 2012 13:55Report this post to the editors

Anon

Thanks for response. £8,000 is a huge amount of money in the present climate. Is Diageo the landlord and can we assume that Charlie Chawke who has re-opened Searsons has negotiated a significant reduction down from this amount. If this is the case it could set a trend of reduced rents/rates for the people in business on Baggot Street Upper Village paying unacceptably high levels of rent for premises.

Assuming the £8,000 rent per week for Searsons then what are the rates?

I was speaking to a cafe owner the other day and he told me there is a new deal for arriving at the rates amount. Apparently the rates to be charged by the council will in future be a % of the rent. The details are unclear and the person who checked on the computer said that this would effectively put his cafe out of business.

Again we must ask the question about Government buildings and for that matter those owned by NAMA. Do they pay rates? All await legislation but in the absence of same pressure should be placed on landlords to have sufficient moral courage to charge a fair rent for their properties taking account of the hostile economic recession we are in.

Links for photos worth a look. Keep looking out for potential vacant buildings which potential for dereliction, squatting, being boarded up and keep pressure on people to get supply demand equation in balance.

author by Forster - Urban Abandonments publication date Fri Nov 02, 2012 14:41Report this post to the editors

Do we know what lies ahead?

Do we care?

We learn today that Mr Timmins, Chief Executive, Clery's Department Store has been asked to stand down as Chief Executive. It is possible now to say (according to today's Irish Times) that he stood over the decisions for opening retail units in Blanchardstown, Naas and other unsuccessful options. The staff of these stores had hours cut and in turn without any notice were notified their jobs were gone. Cold harsh treatment and quite inhumane.

Gordon Brothers Europe, a Mr. Morton are the new boys in town. A US investment vehicle who buys £26m debt owed by Clery's for £11m. Their job is make profit for investors in their fund. They are risk-takers with experience, some might he even go so far as to refer to vulture funds.

Just imagine if they decided to maintain the building until markets improved by dismissing all staff and just leaving it vacant?

What would this mean for the already dischevelled O'Connell Street? This is just a what if? No doubt soon we will hear what plans Mr. Morton has for that once splendid shop. I wonder have the Government given them favourable rates or for that matter what deal was negotiated with Gordon Brothers.

50% sale on at present and the aim is to de-stock and re-plan? It would be nice if their plans could be put into effect before Christmas.

There was a time when people travelled far and wide to see the windows of Clery's for their Christmas Display for children. Austerity is the order of the day in Ireland for 5 years now. Would Gordon Brothers and Mr Morton, while renovating the store, create a theme for children in those store windows like times of yore? Just a thought but we need HOPE.

Also would the Gordon Brothers and Mr. Morton re-employ as many as possible of the staff who have worked as loyal workers of Clerys but who are now unemployed and willing to work?

author by Chestnut - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Tue Nov 06, 2012 15:34Report this post to the editors

Keep the momentum going. Legislation not yet in place so upward rent review is what the contract is about. This does not stop the landlord acting in line with a moral conscience.

If rents are too high, premises, houses, shops, retail units are left vacant. The longer they are vacant the less rates, rents are paid and it is our society that suffers.

Pop-Up is a great idea. If only people could focus on empty retail units, properties in their communities and become involved in creating a market.

Are there any photos? I see that Kilkenny Design have now take a small unit in Grafton Street.....this will attract people to explore Nassau Street. We need more of this.

author by Forster - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Wed Nov 07, 2012 13:47Report this post to the editors

Pop Up - yes, if this is what it seems to suggest why not!

Rates and high rents are forcing people out of business and in the absence of legislation to stop up-ward only mobile rents, small medium enterprises need to engage in creativity and start tapping potential markets in key locations. There is nothing better than a shop in a key location to market products and especially coming up to Christmas.

Waterford Crystal is a prime example. This company flourished worldwide and at home for decades but the final take-over and merger with Wedgwood in the UK ended up in shareholders losing their investments but more importantly people lost their jobs and as it is now known they are only received .25% of their pension fund. Some of these are not at pension age so they were forced to react and act. They are back in business so would it not be a good idea for them to have a pop-up store say in Grafton Street. The craftsmanship is not lost. This would promote self esteem to so many now facing redundancy or redundant.

I am looking at a For Sale sign on Pembroke Crescent for a long time now. It was the International school for the area but it is no longer. The story goes that in the 1900's it was established as Miss Merediths so the house has a history. It is across the road from houses that used to house the communist party (now totally re-gentrified). The house for sale is an end of terrace Georgian building with a mews to the rear. It has vacant possession and 3945 sq ft. The houses in between are presently occupied and maintained well but at the end of crescent is this derelict house that has to be causing problems for the structures in the other houses, most definitely rising damp, rat infestation most probably. It used to be one of those pre-63 houses let out in many flats and nobody really now knows who owns it.

The house for sale is possibly losing market interest because of the near derelict house at the other end. Dublin City Council must provide impetus to stop such dereliction. Just take a look in the area nearest to your home or to your work and start looking for outcomes. There is no need for the poor standard of accommodation in hostels only for many people on the housing list or homeless.

Celtic Tiger, yes we see ourselves as victims now but we must face demons and realise all the additions to infra-structure realistically now exist and surely we have a duty to maintain it. Ideas to outcomes are possible if people interact, communicate, use technology and embrace let's care and share, much the same as in Northern Ireland it should be 'Give Peace a chance'.

author by Forster - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Sat Nov 10, 2012 15:42Report this post to the editors

NAMA is supposed to be marketing our casualty list of properties from the 2007 economic collapse, fall-out. Can someone explain to me why they are not on Twitter. Checked out earlier link Knight Frank in the UK via Twitter and they project the properties prices will not reach 2007 levels until 2017/19 - at least they are in the business of creating and marketing their markets.

Is there promise? Perhaps there is. Education has promise and it is good to read Cormac Murphy's article in the Evening Herald about St Michael's House - a Dublin 4 mansion in Ailesbury Road. The property is on the grounds of St Michael's College primary and secondary school. The planning permission (irrespective of the complaints of others living on Ailesbury Road) has gone through and this large house will no longer be a potential derelict property but is to become student accommodation for 24 third level students. The Congregation of the Holy Spirit, which runs the school sought the change in the planning permission to accommodate students rather than priests. The Order hope to entice students studying at Pittsburg's Duquesne Univresity which it founded in 1878 to undertake courses at UCD and Trinity College Dublin.

Again Cormac Murphy writes about Dublin's most iconic buildings Iveagh Markets in the Liberties, Boland's Mills, Hume Street Hospital, 14-17 Moore Street, where the 1916 Leaders surrendered, Aldborough House in Dublin 1 "which is one of the city's principal Georgian landmarks". There are as many as 200 historic buildings in need of urgent attention. Some were bought at the peak of the market and now lie empty. The National heritage trust An Taisce are appealing for support. It wants to document "large numbers of vacant and derelict historic buildings in the city". Support at every level needs to be garnered to stop dereliction and create markets and infrastructure.

It is interesting to note the role of Dublin City Council: The neglect of such properties will add millions to future refurbishment costs, we just need to look D2,4,6, and all the houses in dire need of attention. The council have a city register of derelict sites but ironically there are only 36 buildings listed. Owners of these houses who are placed on a schedule are fined by the Local Authority. Bureaucracy in Ireland dictates that an amount of £670,000 is outstanding ie unpaid up to last year. The council retire behind the excuse that their priority is to get the owners to carry out works required to render the buildings non derelict. As the budget approaches it is essential to ensure that Dublin City Council kick into gear in line with the Risk report of An Taisce.

An Taisce: Prevention is essential to stop Dublin being "returned to the ravaged derelict state which caused so much damage in the 1980's.......The time for taking action to secure a building is when it becomes vacant or when signs of vandalism or water damage appear, not after the roof has been allowed to collapse or the site becomes dangerous"

Create HOPE

author by Hope - Irish Times publication date Mon Nov 12, 2012 15:33Report this post to the editors

In the absence of more photos, there is an interesting article by Frank McDonald in the Irish Times today and in fact each day this week.

We know only too well the problems. McDonald writes about those complexes earmarked for urban regeneration ... those that have been shelved or scaled back because the deals collapsed.

Olivia Kelly asks the question: "What do you do with an Unfinished urban estate? The case study investigates what it is like to live in an unfinished estate? The Architect of that hideous (my view) Elm Park development, says it could be hired out as a film set (okay there are tax breaks but surely when we have so many people on a housing list this proves absurd and insulting). There are options. Housing associations like Cluid exist so let the banks fund them. They are after all buying stock at knockdown prices. Fire sale stock is about bargains for the next generation of owners.

How do people feel living in apartment complexes which have lots of empty apartments? Are people in these situations worried about paying annual fees to management companies and who forms the committees that employ these companies. Some people are paying £3,000+ pa. Can this be sustained? What happens if not? Who owns the lease and can these be sold on?

They deal with the questions of Ghost Estates and how Dublin is affected? According to the Department of Environment there are 354 unfinished developments.

5 solutions suggested include: Involve both private and public sectors; take the Boston option; engage in district development; bring in more tax incentives; try thinking small for a change; look to high density guidelines.

The previous postings have dealt a lot with Georgian Dublin; The Times article has some ideas here too. They are not suggesting the office route but converting them to apartments. Incentives good work well here to encourage environment refurbishment with solar panels perhaps. Dublin City Council must take back the reins and force owners of these properties to maintain them at a standard. This makes more sense than the Government increasing the property tax which in turn will be a disincentive to many of those who are just sitting on their hands waiting ..... and not utilising these properties. Just look to Pembroke Crescent, Waterloo Road, Elgin Road, Pembroke Road. Options exist. Ove Arup have recently renovated 3 Georgian houses on Wellington Road and this is a resource to be tapped. CUS, Lower Leeson Street has also recently been refurbished. It is time to keep up the momentum.

Reinventing Dublin is about our City. What can we do while the recession bites deep to create markets to satisfy demand. Each day this week, the Times are featuring articles as follows:

Tuesday: Transport: getting Dublin Moving
Wednesday: Northside versus Southside: Why the myth persists?
Thursday: How to make it a maritime city again
Friday: The Dublin we almost got: REVIVING SHELVED PLAN.

Indymedia needs to go parallel with the Irish Times invite online. They ask:

How would you improve Dublin?
Comment on their Irish Times article at irishtimes.com.
They also have a photo story

author by Tpublication date Mon Nov 12, 2012 18:55Report this post to the editors

I've heard that these management companies are a real mess both literally and in the legal sense. It seems every new apartment block and housing estate especially anything that was gated or townhouse type developments all had management companies supposedly for the upkeep of the grounds. In most cases the builders had themselves installed on the board and were taking a very tidy earning every year, but as far as I know they do have to be eventually handed over to be run by the residents. But because many of the building firms have gone bust and have not filed accounts, I think they can't be resolved legally because the law requires that they be signed off by the same companies.

I've heard its an utter mess, although I'm sure some are probably okay but there are some real disasters out there.

author by Chestnut - Apartment livingpublication date Tue Nov 13, 2012 14:48Report this post to the editors

T yes you are right to say this area is and will be a major problem for people in Ireland.

Legislation is drifting through but it will be ineffectual because it will be historic built on the Celtic Tiger pretensions as to what apartment living would construe ie for first time home owners or older people who choose to downsize.

Realistically the problems are many and T you are right many builders of apartment blocks and who invariably own an apartment in the block have considerable power over the appointment of the management company, the fees that are charged to each owner occupier on an annual basis and house rules. This whole area is part of the no-go non transparent NAMA and now we see blocks of apartments being sold to say one company and mainly from overseas who then are responsible for all the apartments in the block or for that matter a proportion if this has been the choice to sell off same. We have confusion in place.

So many more people now live in apartments than say 2 decades ago. The talk is property tax so it is reasonable to assume the net for property tax is far greater than at any given time in the past. A person I know living in an older block of apartments in D4 pays £3,200 pa and with that all they have is hassle from the management committee virtually self appointed because only 10 out of 40 owners turn up at the management meeting for the appointment of the committee and approvement of the auditors fees! Their priority is to clamp cars who illegally park on their grounds and hire in NCPS. What a priority list? There is no room for random acts of kindness in their weekly agenda. If you have a visitor you can find that their car is clamped and they or you have to pay.

What about those who have bought in the last 5 years. In this particular development an apartment sold for £800,000+ but the last one sold was only at £250,000 approx. How can these owners pay service charges of £3,200? You just need to read the accounts/minutes of the meeting and you know that people have already ceased paying and they are in arrears. This is D4 and it begs the question about other areas and the ghost estates which are supposed to be managed by the owners. It looks as if we are to be faced with years of friction, court cases, non payment of fees and then we have a government intending to tax all house/apartment/dwelling owners with a property tax. How can people pay services to live in an apartment unable to afford to move to the next tier when they have their family and then pay these exhorbitant annual charges, to be followed by yet another government tax based on property.

Middle Ireland can no longer be bled for the mistakes made by the banks developers the government.

People in negative equity need support. Moral hazard is the argument of those who don't fall into the foregoing category so maybe it is not fair. However the government reaped huge gains in stamp duty at the time of the peak. Take someone who moves up a size in house and goes out to Swords to a detached house and builds on a conservatory. They trade up because the previous property increased in price over the decades since they first married. They pay in cash the £620,00 for the new dream home in Swords. The reality now is that the family situation changes, a divorce and now their house is worth £280,000. You do the sums and add the costs of solicitors and you have real negative equity lost in real hard cash not loans by a middle aged couple. Is this fair? No.

Is there any remedy?

No. Knight Frank in the UK say prices will not return from the 2007 peak until 2017/2019.

Assume that Stamp Duty paid by the above couple cost £60,000-£80,000? If they are unfortunate enough to be in debt to the banks and in the courts, surely our Government ought to intervene and repay this amount of stamp duty paid to them. If they received said amount they could deduct it from the capital and have some form of practical reprieve from hideous debt.

Discussion is essential. Answers are best achieved through diversity of thought with creativity. Public service are still caught in the Celtic Tiger bureaucracy ethos and need to step up quickly to the plate and interact with people on the ground who are the casualties and in need to prompt efficient and sensible outcomes.

author by Forster - Urban Abandonmentpublication date Sat Nov 17, 2012 14:28Report this post to the editors

It is a Saturday. Yesterday was property day in the newspapers.

Banks are in the news. Overpaid are the executives and non creative is their brief and they are busy hoarding funds of vulnerable savers afraid to remove their savings from the bank in case they may make further bad and more importantly loss making investments.

Add to this the pension funds. What is their portfolio these days? The fiscal cliff in the US has all Continents on an edge with the questions what do we do with money? Some buy gold, others investment at paltry interest returns of 0.5% if you choose to hold cash in Sterling and 1.5% if you want to keep it in Ireland.

Ireland needs to cut unemployment. We are facing the same problems as Italy, Greece, Spain, France where in some countries youth employment is as high as 50%. How do we be the CHANGE? Courage is the word. If the banks are hoarding savers money and not lending it while safely using treasury to invest say in ECB & other currencies or other continents and making clear profit for themselves, then savers need to start thinking if they agree with this morally and if not what can we do?

Some people are already doing this. Fire sales by Allsops in particular are becoming frequent and each time cash buyers are taking a chance and in the last sale a house in Northumberland Rd, 3 storey over basement, Georgian house sold in July 2012 at once price and 26% higher when sold a few months later. The time is here to be watchful of the potential that still exists in property.

It may be a good sign that Criminal Assets Bureau seem to think the market is ready so that they can sell the Olympic-size Equestrian Centre Jessbrook, in Kildare and other properties which belonged to John Gilligan after a 16 year battle with this man who is a convicted drug trafficker. They are also in the process of identifying other properties of his which will come to market shortly. Jessbrook if maintained would be a 'steal' for someone willing to take a risk. Add to this that it is an investment that could become an income source as a riding school or training facility and yes here is an opportunity for someone to consider and most likely at a good price.

Then there is a house Lot 34 Allsop: 4 Upper Gardiner Street, D1. A pre-63 property which means that it has 10 self contained residential units. Presently the rent roll is £62,348. The reserve is not to exceed £295,000. Pre 63 now conjures up potential near slum condition flats in buildings facing dereliction. Here is the chance to identify these, acknowledge the location, and ask Minister Noonan and his team in Finance to create incentives for people to 'Green-Sustainable-Solar' these properties and say create five apartments yielding a fairer and higher rent return. If you have cash and an agreeable bank manager, maybe this risk is worth it for the better return than you get from our State owned banks. For the elderly - why not take a chance and back a son or daughter or for that matter a grandchild and at least double your interest return from the paltry bank savings returns. Opportunity comes to pass not to pause.

Lot 51 Allsop. Here is another example. Dublin is the City of Universities now. Rathmines is the location where so many people choose to rent. However, dereliction and boarded up houses are to be seen and why? There is no incentive or the Dublin City Council is too lazy to enforce the law and have properties maintained according to legislation standards. Unlike the last property this house in Leinster Road (an eminent place at one time) is freehold and is a residential investment building. There are 8 units and the reserve is not to exceed £495,000.

During the Celtic Tiger people decided that rural was okay and went out to the dormitory locations. The idea is not necessarily wrong but the issue is about having work and paying the mortgage, if you can't, well all you know is you have a lesser mortgage than if you bought in the city. In Longford there is a standard modern house, two storey with windows boarded for NOT TO EXCEED £20,000. How many more of these opportunities exist. NAMA must link now with people in dire need of housing and on lists that exceed 100,000. There must be people with mental health disabilities in Longford in need of a home. Charities, housing associations, Councils need to snap up such properties on behalf of vulnerable people and their rights to live in communities must be supported.

Co Roscommon=a ghost estate. 5 nearly complete houses (fine family homes and detached) are for sale @ £75,000

Match and mis matching and markets. Courage needs to imbibe people to look at their asset portfolios. Not everyone is in negative equity, there is whole cache of people who retire in their 50's with severence pay, pensions and have bought their houses in the 1980's when the cost of a house was approximately £40,000. How do we encourage these people to create other markets and stop propping up greedy bankers by keeping deposits with them that yield virtually nothing while the Banks themselves place the money and basically are involved in usury. Faith in Finance and Sharia law could do well in Ireland for a while.

Yes the Irish Times tackled the property market in a most interesting way during the week. The details are on the last posting from Chestnut. Yesterday's is worth reading. It was about the What if's that were not achieved.

author by Browser - Newspapers and social mediapublication date Mon Nov 19, 2012 14:28Report this post to the editors

Maybe someone who reads the Irish Times could add to this Indymedia site about the article written today. Fatima mansions and others are now the real casualties of the Celtic Tiger. There are no Public Private Partnerships now and at a high human cost to the people who once hoped for same.

author by Forster - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Tue Nov 20, 2012 14:49Report this post to the editors

We await the budget and the talk is target the middle class who can pay, avoid the tax exiles who pay the best accountants and have the best advise as how to tax avoid or evade, and lets really hammer those who are in the property market. They are easy to identify so charge them low first and then when you have them on the radar, and then just hammer them. What about all that falls beneath the cracks. The ensuing derelictions, the boarded windows and doors, the empty space storey's high in prominent locations.

What an imposing street - O'Connell Street, Dublin, once known as Sackville Street. Clery's, the GPO dominate but if you take the time to look upwards you see that many of the buildings were designed to a high standard but have been down trodden by the takeaway gaudy type of ground floor facades. McBirney's (Aston Quay) is still over the door which is now Super Valu - the history resounds and it is good to read in the daily's that Mr Varadkar is tuning up and in for 2016 and the anniversary of the 1916 Rising. Foreign travel is yielding benefits and some of our Ministers are being creative with ideas. In a visit to Boston, Mr. Varadkar was greatly impressed by the 'Freedom Trail' where Paul Revere began his journey to warn that the redcoats were coming. The minister has asked Failte Ireland and the National Tourism Development Authority to put on their thinking hats and create something similar in Ireland called the 'Independence Trail'. Indymedia has covered the whole area of the properties facing demolition in Moore Street which played a significant role at the time of the rising for those on the run. They plan an 'App' which I think means you can use your phone to follow the 'Trail'. I hope the property in Moore Street, its history, and the links to certain war heroes becomes a part of the 'Independence Trail'.

What potential lies in this especially when the Gathering starts 2013 - the time of brinkmanship from prosperity and William Murphy, his businesses, his newspapers, the trams to pure hardship through strikes unemployment and Jim Larkin and James Connolly. World War II started in 1914 and brought such change in the world.

'The Independence Trail' similar to the 'Freedom Trail' in Boston has massive potential to inform people about dissent, 700 years occupation, revolution, civil war, independence for 26 counties, the north, the Good Friday agrement, the Peace Process, the intervention of former President Bill Clinton, former Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair, George Mitchell, Ian Paisley, Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams, Bertie Ahern. It is taking what is bad and seeking good. It is saying you can 'Give Peace a Chance' and it can work.

The 1980's saw people with vision who have made a significant impact to the city of Dublin and we have been reaping the benefits - the parks, the monuments, Kilmainham prison and so much more. I think however 2013 is the time for more 'vision for the present incumbents who appear visionless'. Mr. Varadkar - your idea about the 'Independence Trail' is a vision and may it be inspirational. However, I would suggest that you encourage Minister Michael Woods to seriously address Georgian Dublin and O'Connell Street, College Green, Grafton Street - there must be a way to stop the upward only rent reviews and reduce rents and stop closing down businesses.

Parnell Square makes a significant contribution to this history. Again Georgian Houses need adaptation to provide utility either as apartments or offices but definitely as locations for people to use. Tax people who own these houses for decades and who are responsible for leaving them empty yes but encourage people to take the risk to invest and encourage them to 'Green Climate Change' comply.

Washington the state of 3 men from the Vietnam War is a photo I keep by my bed. War destroys people and we need to know our history to prevent ever returning to war in our little Island so an Independence Trail sounds to me a really good idea.

Forster

author by Chestnut - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Fri Nov 23, 2012 15:03Report this post to the editors

Forster - you talk about grand plans in a country that is in near crisis.

This 86 year old like so many returned from Britain in the 1970's having lived in bedsits over there with a few pounds in his pocket - enough to buy himself a pre-1963 house say in 10 bedsits yielding now approx £100 per week. He had an option then either take out a pension or as a lot of people did he decided to buy a house and be a landlord and rent it out in flats. Some of his tenants get paid the rent allowance while others work and pay him weekly. Some tenants have been with him for nearly two decades.

His problem: Apparently 4 years ago then Minister Gormley created pending legislation. Every bedsit from February 2013 has to have certain facilities including a bathroom. In effect this means cutting tenancies in half, re-locating people to new flats while carrying out structural changes and repairs to properties. Add to this 100,000 on the housing list, students looking for accommodation while at University and people who will technically become insolvent due to negative equity and who will need to be re-housed and so many more in need of housing.

We have crisis now but what will this entail. Who will enforce the Law? Fines are £5,000 to the house owner - possibly per tenant or 6 months in jail. What is Mr. Noonan going to do about this imminent housing crisis in the budget?

Rathmines, Ranelagh, Pembroke Road, Elgin Road, Raglan Road, Haddington Road - just take a look around. How feasible is this planned legislation when money is so scarce. If the law is put into effect how many long term tenants will find themselves so vulnerable that they face eviction without the ability to re-house themselves.

Enforcement doesn't appear to work but them Govt is choking the middle classes with bureaucratic one off taxes related to property and bodies such as the PRTB, all seeking bits of money from the landlord classes who are often heavily burdened due to unwise expenditure in the property market during the so called Celtic Tiger.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Fri Nov 23, 2012 21:17Report this post to the editors

In response to T. It is not strictly accurate that development companies have typically appointed themselves as management companies for developments. Local councils have sought that management companies be established to manage private developments, these are typically comprised of apartment of house owners, which in many cases included directors of the construction companies. Many problems have arisen due to the collapse of a number of construction companies. Amongst these are the plethora of defects that are common and arose due to 'poor workmanship or sub standard practices'. These in a normal building contract would be attended to by the contractors. Construction companies act as both client and contractor, the responsibility therefore is theirs in attending to 'snags'. Where the construction companies or developers liquidate, on whom does this responsibility fall? In short, the 'management company'! Often the funds are not available. In a normal building contract, where there are major defects, the building would not be taken in charge by a client. However, where the 'client' and 'contractor' are one and the same, called developers there arises a conflict of interest. As is evident with topical cases (Priory Hall) the taking in charge of some developments is often premature.

Chestnut, the management fees would in an ideal world be based on maintenance costs. Lifts, grounds maintenance, decoration, access systems, fire alarms and so forth can all be reasonably estimated. However, where the standards of construction fall below that which should be accepted these 'maintenance' costs become repair and upgrading costs. The non payment by those unfortunate enough to have fallen into arrears leaves a shortfall not only of the reasonable estimated maintenance costs but a far greater shortfall on the real costs. The lethargy in bringing legislation governing the control of development has resulted in these difficulties. For clarification, legislation brought in after the vast majority of these developments had been complete enshrined the profession of Architect in a similar way to that of doctor. Unfortunately the horse had bolted. Much of these maintenance costs are unavoidable. The danger in lack of funding which is a very real result of the inability of many development property owners to pay is that required maintenance will not be carried out. Lifts and access for those with ambulatory difficulty, fire safety measures and general health and safety associated with waste and general maintenance are in danger of being neglected. The hitherto actions by councils to evacuate developments falling short of regulations will fast become unsustainable.

To focus on the comments of Forster, the auction lots noted are by today considered of low standard. There is poor access, often no lifts and inadequate fire safety measures. Is this perhaps the future of poorly maintained development? Poor access, inoperable lifts and ill maintained fire control systems will apply to the newest developments in the future if there are no measures taken today to prevent austerity related absence of required maintenance. The cost to the Irish people then would be very great, preventative credits as proposed in one example through the refunding of some stamps duty may well be an economical way to prevent disaster. Should many of these development fall into disrepair and the occupants require alternative accommodation, the costs could be enormous. I spoke with one architect who having inspected some apartments in Dublin 4 stated, 'these fall short of modern regulations, are poorly maintained and require immediate attention. The costs of carrying out these remedial works, though unavailable are not great. The costs associated with neglect are likely to be very great.' It is now that these works should be addressed correctly.

The 86 year old purchased his property in good faith and with regard to the conditions and regulations of the time. That these have changed only means those today purchasing for the same reason take the same risks. I too know an 86 year old who drives a car similar to that he first bought at the age of 28. The car does not comply with any modern vehicular regulations, does not need an NCT, can drive on less tire thread than a modern car, has poor lights, poor brakes, but that an 86 year old can legally without difficulty drive it is perfectly acceptable while another may not be permitted to remain in his long term home.

As I have previously noted, there are means by which renovation and modernisation can be effected in order to convert existing non-compliant buildings or older buildings such that they comply with modern regulations. This can in many cases be effected economically.

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonmentspublication date Sat Nov 24, 2012 15:48Report this post to the editors

Gale

Now I am really worried. Housing and compliance, apartment ownership and management fees, landlords now individuals as distinct from the Dublin City council in negative equity because they were enticed into the 'Buy-to-let' market and now 86 year old landlords informing us about the new legislation coming in February 2013. Mobile investments sure have an unfair advantage these days to those people who took the old traditional route of buying out a house and letting the rooms to people who lived in flat land and often in bedsits for decades building up a relationship of trust with the landlord.

What happens to those shoddy, delapidated tenancies on Raglan Road/Elgin Road? Half posh now and half flatland bedsits. No doubt, these people are day by day waiting for notification to vacate their humble homes? Where do they go? For many approaching retirement the prospects are dire? Community services are no longer available locally. Between ill-health, approaching retirement, these are the real vulnerable yet they are to be made more vulnerable as progress brings in legislation while social services are eaten with bureaucracy and no provisions actually exist to protect these people.

In another time one would have moved to these Georgian houses and the owner of the house would have been invariably the Landlady but this changed.

Can anyone answer me the question on this day that people march throughout Ireland stating stop the Austerity programme. Does legislation include the tax incentive of the person who provides a room in their home (no bathroom)? If so, the left hand regarding property investment/ownership/landlordism is sure out of step with the right hand, as we can see all to readily with a Government that fails to govern with efficiency and effect.

Muddling is the order of the day. Health fumbles with womens right to choose. Property is immersed in legislation and taxes with houses unoccupied while the housing lists grow longer and longer. Social security are focused on fraud but what about the 14% unemployed ie 450,000. The old fashioned way of FAS has faltered. We need some outside thinking to help people stay in their jobs or providing a centre where people out of work can get together and have think tanks and create work.

We have plenty of space now and worth little financially. Let's get people together creating opportunities for each other.

author by Forster - Urban Environmentpublication date Sun Nov 25, 2012 14:37Report this post to the editors

Chestnut

You forgot to mention about the homeless at present who live in hostels. Hostel life is long-term these days and penal. It is winter and you may spend your day begging on the cold streets of our capital to collect enough for the hostel at night. You are given the slot but you must be out next morning by 9.00 until the evening. How can people condemned to this existence have the opportunity to even dream of living in a home. Society keeps pushing its vulnerable people down further instead of trying to create proper environments for them to live in.

Thursday 20th November Niall O'Connor had an interesting piece in the Evening Herald. It is now the case that there are 'hundreds of city council tenants' who owe £10,000 or more. 300 tenants have built up arrears of more than £10,000 and one tenant has acrrued an amount of £32,401. Needless to say the Council says it is "extremely concerned" at the level of arrears. Add these arrears to those of banks and negative equity house owners, people unemployed and unable to pay mortgages, landlords whose tenants often on rent allowance who cannot pay the difference, those landlords who have tenants who just can't pay. House/Home now is heading towards crisis potential.

The Council's rent sector is responsible for over 24,000 tenancies (considerably fewer due to tax break policies of the Celtic Tiger era which moved landlordism from state provision to private landlords). These 24,000 tenancies are on both sides of the city. They have in place a "performance monitoring system" so that assistance is provided to staff when making decisions about EVICTING tenants. In fact the Council has carried a number of evictions this year already. Do we know where these evicted people are moved to? It sounds very much like they are literally turned out onto the streets ..... and in a hapless way looking hostel locations or just living on the streets. There is a report that states: The dominant demographic profile of those evicted in 2012 is of a single adult male living in a flat in the inner city. The arrears ranged from£1,822 to £10,200" As much as £18.35 m of overall debt is greater than 12 weeks, while an amount of £924,087 is listed in the category 6-12 weeks.

Given the profile of the single male, one wonders if Co Council housing provision will comply with the new legislation relating to ensuite provisions for tenants as of February 2013? I doubt it. Chaos abounds yet all the time Budget projections are eeking out the landlords and make them pay tax, PRTB, et al and al. Why? The market has caught them out and they are there for the plucking. Meantime those with mobile assets like bank deposits or shares have most likely fled our shores without evening an intention of buying up our firesale properties because they have no faith in their government given the bloated bureaucracy enshrining property going forward. Meantime our vulnerable will suffer. The Government need to re-capture and grasp the concept that a country is judged by how it treats its vulnerable.

Is there a reason why people are evicted from council tenancies? The creation of chaos coming down the road gives the reason.....
"Under declaration of income and failure to report changes in circumstances are the primary reasons for the £20 m arrears. The rent assessment policy is to apply retrospective debits to account where there has been an under-declaration of household income".

If this £20 m applies to City Council tenants, does anyone record the problems encountered by ordinary landlords in negative equity who took on the role of landlord so that privatisation would relieve state responsibility for the provision of housing.

Casting a glance through this site, one stark reality exists. There is no integration of planning from Law to Environment to Housing to Social Security. Mr Noonan in Finance, the time is now, pre budget, to gather these strands together and before you introduce a property tax that probably many will be unable to afford, do a checks and balance excercise. We move from homeless in hostels to tax exiles in mansions and maybe even more than one. 'Thread Carefully because you Thread on people's dreams' - that is after all what Governments sold the people - the right to be beneficial owner of your own home'.

author by Chestnut - Urban Abandonments & derelict locationspublication date Tue Nov 27, 2012 14:41Report this post to the editors

Dereliction surrounds us. There are vacant retail premises in central locations; in out of town shopping centres, in town centres. Upward only rent is the determinant of the contract and the Government drags its heels about changing the legislation. The lack of moral conscience of the landlord who has financially gained from his property over a period of decades goes unchecked as he relies on legislation to change, knowing that it will not, basically penalising the tenants and ultimately pushing them out of business. They say as many as 6 small businesses are closing down each day in Ireland. These landlords are ultimately concerned with asset appreciation. Hence we see so many Georgian houses non utilised, under utilised in Dublin 2, 4, 6 and then there is the North side, Mountjoy Square, Philsboro etc.

Dublin City Council can't even manage to get people to be diligent in paying their rents and they end up serving notices on people to quit (who possibly in many cases should be in sheltered housing) i.e. eviction. Where do these people go? Do we know and what's more do we really care? Our city has become a haunting ground for men in particular to beg. They walk up to you and say we have no money, we have had no food for days, have you anything to give? These are the people who fall through the cracks possibly due to mental problems, addiction to drugs and alcohol. Is this the correct way for our social services to treat people who basically have needs. The options are beg to be in hostels.

George Lee's programme last night brought up a valid point. People don't communicate enough about the basic government of our country. There are reasons why? Years ago before our homes improved, people used to frequent the pubs - a handy way of keeping warm for a couple of hours and having the chat with people from all walks of life, playing darts, reading the newspapers. Now you just need to look at the property sections of the newspapers and all you see are pubs for sale at a fraction of the price. This is another step down to eliminate community at local level. There are distinct disadvantages here. The culture of the pub has changed to that of loud noice, young only or alcoholic, followed by excessive obliteration no memory tomorrow is okay. What a pity and what a loss?

February 2013 and the Joe Duffy show. Another belt by Government to the landlord but the crazy part is this is about enforcement and as we know from the property charge, the PRTB, the second home tax, the tax return and USC, how will the Government put this willy nilly legislation into effect? It is a bloated bureaucracy in the making and those who are used to going under the radar and who often have paid no taxes and own many of these properties with their bedsits, will escape yet again. If we add property tax it is in effect penalising the middle income group who are younger, rearing children, who have more than likely bought during the Celtic Tiger and are in negative equity. A young woman spoke last night on the George Lee programme RTE 1 and stated she would not pay the £100 property charge because it is unjust. She had paid £35,000 in stamp duty for her family home in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath and will continue to pay back on this amount until her mortgage is complete in 25 years time. Her understanding was and is that this was her contribution for services. Personally, it has been said many times before on this site that people in negative equity and who bought their houses at the peak of the market ought to have money returned by the Government - if not the full amount, then that proportion that relates to the negative equity and it should be used to repay the capital amount and lessen their mortgage in the now and over the 25 years.

We have a right to know how efficient our Government is in prescribing law. We can at least expect it not to be bureaucratic, wasteful and invariably non efficient because it is provided by the public service sector who are part of a vested interest ie government bureaucracy. There is a need for transparency.

Buildings like the hospital in Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4 and many more are slipping away towards ultimate dis-use. Is there another way? Surely, there is a need in the area to preserve this architecturally of merit building and can we make it work to provide a public service for a community. Why do we not promote public private partnerships? We have enough multi-national companies in this area benefiting from tax breaks who could work with others to provide a service. To name but a few: Tescos, Google, Sky, IBM, Boots and so many more.

Hotels at least in Dublin 4 are on the route to survival. The Burlington is reportedly purchased for a fraction of what Bernard McNamara company paid. Blackstone is the purchaser and is connected to Waldorf Astoria, Hilton chain of hotels. Reports are they paid £85 m McNamara is reported to have paid £255m what a steal it is for them? However for the community it is good news because the new owners will invest further in this hotel and create a market and a business environment.

Transparency would be good way to start in formulating the budget taking account of the most likely way to enforce the commands. Surely the Troika can advise ..... but then EU accounts are not audited for years now which in turn suggests a Gravy Train......

author by Forster - Urban abandonmentspublication date Sat Dec 01, 2012 15:45Report this post to the editors

What is going to happen?

Independent today states if you have an apartment in Dublin 4 worth £225,000 (500 sq ft), for 6 months of 2013 you will pay approx £225 property tax and in the next year 2014 you will pay approximately £450. Imagine those houses in negative equity and how the Government intends to place a value on them as a source of reference for the property tax. Moral hazard is the issue here.

But

take it that if you inherited a family home in Palmerstown, Dublin 6, and the value of your 770 sq ft home is £1.85 m, you will pay in 2014 £1,850 in 2013 and £3,700 in 2014. This is closed to amount of Invalidity benefit paid in the UK - what about the maths in the equation for the budget.

The landlord who was enticed into the property market as a means of providing for his pension has one headache coming down the road if you read the foregoing postings.

Add to this the rates and the closure of businesses as many as 6 per day and then the closure of pubs and the loss of jobs ie 7,000, we really need to start asking some serious questions about the society we the plain people of Ireland want to maintain. We don't want urban abandonment and dereliction and the crime it brings with it. We need to start thinking about creating growth so that we can have people in paid employment.

Well done Judge Olann Kelleher. Here is a Judge with some vision at last. He used his position in Cork District court to highlight that Cork City Council and those in a position to do so, do something to halt the devastation of businesses and the number of shuttered premises in the main streets of Cork. His case load for the day was 170 in rates arrears with a further 200 expected before Christmas. The City Manager, Mr Lucey raised the defence that council rates for commercial sales have not increased since 2008 - despite the fact that Government spending cuts were as high 30% ie £8.6m.

The budget is like that steam train coming down the track with a person standing in the middle of the track - the impact on people is severity at all levels as the rich with their mobile investments at least have the option to decide to move abroad.

author by Chestnut - Budget 2013publication date Wed Dec 05, 2012 14:47Report this post to the editors

Imagine recently a three bed semi-detached sold in Portarlington for £50,000 but if you lived in a similar property in Castleknock or Dublin southside, the same property could be worth as much as £250,000 if not £300,000. Is the property tax proposed equitable? It is likely that the income stream into each home is the same - let's assume a teacher, young doctor, nurse. Same house, same jobs just different location and you pay 75% less than the owners in Dublin.

Constantin Gurdigiev needs to be listened to on this subject. He re-iterates what the Memorandum of Understanding from the Troika earmarks and quite common sensibly thisit is the site value tax which would apply to all types of properties, industrial, agricultural, vacant, retail units, and houses that are quite evidently under utilised for whatever reasons ie from probate to sitting on hands until prices increase again.

What about the casualty of buy to let? Patrick Honohan earlier in the year put it to the banks that the time had come deal with the situation of negative equity and inability to pay. Bank of Ireland, Mr Richard Boucher is the man to pave the way. The tracker mortgages are the target and once you miss a payment, the contract is at an end and then the wheels are in motion to evict. This will release somewhere between 100-150,000 out on to the market. Management of this amount of property is a costly exercise especially into a market where people have less money for rent, mortgages, lifestyle and this means banks would be moving away from their core purpose to receive deposits and provide lending. Ireland could be facing the Peter Rachman mentality that changed elite housing in London to near tenement living conditions for the rental sector. Don't laugh, the papers yesterday spoke of the creation of "scum villages" in Holland.

Families: new buzz word is intra-generational. This can be found in Italy as a custom. People could move to larger properties (now often cheaper than the 3 bed semi-detached) and create a self contained area for the older generation and all under the one property charge. I believe there is a tax break in the UK for this kind of provision. There is a lot of vacant property in D2, D4, D6, D8 that could be a living urban hub of creativity and self sufficiency ie no cars as a necessity just bikes and taxis if necessary.

Imagine there are houses in this city of ours that sold for amounts of £6 m now worth £2 m (ie if you can find a buyer). Yet they say there are only 3,000 who will definitely fall into the Mansion House tax......

it has to be site value as common sense.

author by Tpublication date Wed Dec 05, 2012 20:18Report this post to the editors

First off, the appeal to have more Public Private Partnerships is totally misplaced. These do not work and only benefit the private partner. There is a long history of the public paying more and getting less in these deals. The ones that were planned in and around Dublin up to the end of the boom years were quickly abandoned once it was clear the crisis had hit.

For a lot more analysis on these, see: http://www.publicprivatepartnership.net/

At this stage it ought to be clear that since late 2008, we have entered not a recession but the early stages of a long depression. The financial crisis itself sits within the larger issue of the end of the era of cheap energy otherwise known as Peak Oil. Globally we have peaked in growth and max-ed out. There can be no recovery, although there may be some mild recovery for a while in some places and regions, but overall it is downward.

Thus we are seeing that the big pie or cake from which we have all being eating is now slowly shrinking. However the wealthy insist by means of their control of the state and corporate propaganda system (i.e media), their national and global institutes (government, ECB, IMF, Banks and think tanks) to set the agenda and dictate where resources go and at the moment, they are flowing upwards away from you and me towards bond-holders and their fellow financial terrorists travellers. So as they try to maintain their large slice of the pie, what is left over for the rest of us is shrinking fast.

The effects of this can be seen all around and one of the most visible is indeed urban abandonments & derelict locations, the demise of social services and this of course is directly reflected in a decrease in the general health and well-being of the population. As we know many cannot keep up payments on their houses or rents. It is well known for example that many people have put off visits to the dentists, stop paying into their pensions and some have even dropped their private health insurance. For those in further difficulty, given that waste companies quickly cut off their service when you don't pay, I can only guess that a great many people are dumping the waste by other means or via fly-by-night operators. When the water is privatized, then what is going to happen there? One should note that when the Soviet Union collapsed many millions of people died as the state services vainished overnight. (see for example: http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-05-27/peak-o...lapse )

It takes little imagination to see that in the poorest areas, where many abandoned and boarded up houses exists, trash will build up and as water gets cut off, there will be severe problems and possibly raw sewage. They will become slums. That is where we are heading and we are heading there quite quickly.

There are a great many gone back to college to try and up-skill to get a job and many more parents keen to see their kids go to college because they know it is grim otherwise. But the current €2,500 "admin" fee is too much for many now and yet this is likely to be €3,000 next Sept, and onwards and upwards in years thereafter. So we will see a fall-off in people pursuing 3rd level education. The percentages will fall back to those times when only 5% to 10% of the school leavers went to college, namely those children of the top 20% or so.

And as more or less outlined in the comments above, we have conflicting forces in terms of taxes and regulations making the housing system work against any common good as chaos sets into the governing system.

There is one final point though and that is the cost of buying into the mainstream view. Most of the people who bought at the height of the property bubble have now been saddled with a huge burden of debt for the rest of their lives which guarantees they will live their best years in austerity because most of their disposable income is being siphoned off by the banks. These people by believing in the system at the time were completely misled and fooled by it and to be fair when every newspaper, media report, TV programme and pub conversation seemed to be about nothing but getting on the property ladder and the fear that was generated should you not, then it is not surprising that so many were hood-winked. People can and are hood-winked in many other ways, whether it is foolish young men signing up to armies only to get their limbs blown off later and searing horrific images burned into their minds such that they are mentally damaged for the rest of their lives, to the parents who agree to have their kids take government sanctioned vaccines which later because of sloppy practices by big pharma have their kids health damaged permanently like for example the teenager in Dublin South who developed narcolepsya -the sleep disorder and has turned her life and that of her parents to permanent disaster. http://locally.ie/article/DublinPeople/teen_battles_sle...20000

So to continue this theme the widespread belief that somehow if we take the bitter medicine as much as we don't like it and we will get through, is simply wrong and a fatal belief because by thinking that way, we all stop ourselves from taking action and working together and having a radical upheaval of the social order rather than muddling along as is happening now; for in the wider context we are going through much greater global and resource change than just the national changes which are only in sight and in order for us to keep our proportion of the big (global) pie is going to take intelligence by everyone and by not just a few and determined action.

author by Tpublication date Wed Dec 05, 2012 20:53Report this post to the editors

More pictures to help document the record.

The 4th picture (red hoarding) is worth clicking through to as the notice on the hoarding advertising the apartments which now remain unfinished because of the bursting of the bubble, are a real throwback to the gushing hype of those years.

boardeduphouse_outsidenaas_cokildare_oct2012_pic2.jpg

apartment_block_in_dundrum_abandoned_because_of_defects_oct2012.jpg

wyckham_point_unfinished_apartments_south_dublin_oct2012.jpg

Click through to main image to read the notice. It is epic Celtic Tiger stuff
Click through to main image to read the notice. It is epic Celtic Tiger stuff

empty_unfinished_apartment_block_wyckham_point_south_dublin_oct2012.jpg

author by Chestnut - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Thu Dec 06, 2012 14:29Report this post to the editors

Mr Government what do you think these apartments are worth?

Who is going to manage the occupation of these apartments or will it ever happen? Will they just be a blot on the many landscapes throughout Ireland.

5 years down the road to austerity.....and we have this? The Banks are sitting on their hands because they know their buy-to-let fiascos require action and rather than think creatively they are going to get these owners to pay a high cost for their (bank lenders) bad advice.

Social housing is in crisis. Private struggling landlords are not equipped to be social housing landlords so serious re-thinking is urgent.

T. I put you up on Twitter. Because we need awareness of the dereliction and hardship being caused by inaction.

Who will pay the property tax on these UNITS

Chestnut

author by Forster - Urban abandonments yet homeless on streetspublication date Tue Dec 11, 2012 14:37Report this post to the editors

Shame on us. A man is found in a doorway in Bray, hypothermia determines that a man in his thirties is no longer for the this society.

Last week, we had an altercation in Nassau Street, again a young man but deaf, who lives in a hostel results in one innocent man dead with appalling injuries, and the deaf man being charged with manslaughter. Add to this the trauma of the bus driver and all the people who witnessed the accident on a busy street at rush hour. This recession is biting hard and the social cost is leaving people highly vulnerable while the entitled/established classes embrace the denial necessary to detach themselves from the harsh reality that condemns Ireland to years of excessive budgets ie £12 bn pa compound. At least in the US, people are honest, they know they need Revenue to avoid their Fiscal Cliff and they are honing on higher taxes for the wealthy.

T your photos tell us a story of neglect by government, by City and County Councils, by Banks who are failing to manage their property portfolios (particularly those due to the inability of people to repay their debts), to housing associations, to private landlords and all property owners who are proving totally ineffective in putting the supply demand theory of economics into practice. Meanwhile, there are people on the housing list, properties left vacant, over 1700 ghost estates, properties left vacant in the hope property appreciation in the medium to long term. Action is what is needed.

Instead we have the Government/Revenue throwing in their lot of further hardship. Those people who hold a mortgage and who are 6 months in arrears have further debt thrown at them. This time the tax relief that is collected at source which amounts to £4,000 where a couple have signed the mortgage is to be added to their debt. This is Christmas tidings for 65,700 residential mortgage owners. If they manage to find 3 months consecutive payments from Santa over the Christmas period, their relief will be restored. The truth is if they haven't managed to sort out their mortgage by now, it is improbable that they will collect the necessary 3 months to alleviate them going foward. Maybe this is the policy makers say to the courts foreclose now and push people towards the housing list, we believe they are going there anyway. What a way to start 2013 for 65,700 people? I sure hope there is a plan.

Time and time again, it has been suggested that a special exception should be made for these people particularly those in negative equity because they were facilitated to buy properties by the banks up to the peak in 2007/8. What happens? The government reacts with this £4,000 excess charge + the property tax (yes that property tax that people must pay once they own a home irrespective of how they repay for their mortgages or what financial position they are in or for that matter if they have disabilities and are unable to work). Personally I believe that the Government gained significant Stamp Duty amounts from these people and it is only ethical and moral that it be repaid (even if only on the negative equity proportion) to reduce the capital amount of their loan. It may be just enough to move them out of arrears.

Meanwhile we are building an empty/potential empty property mountain - that same idea that used to happen with the EU and butter mountains! We need to wake up and start getting people grounded. We need now for someone to do the maths equation. Social housing which should have been built during the Celtic Tiger needs to be aggregated and then apartment blocks like those in the pictures need to be de-Namatised pronto in 2013 and people who live in the like of Fatima Mansions/O'Devaney Gardens and in other premises which are below standards need to be re-housed and the maths equation made to work.

Who will pay the property tax because I cannot see tax exiles doing so even if it is they who build 44,000 sq ft mansions with a swimming pool, gym and cinema. This man is said to have spent £100m on this house. The key is what will this house be valued at the due day of May 2013. Then of course there was the sale in Ailesbury Road for £10m with the new owner named as Mrs McManus. I wonder will she have to pay the £23,300 property tax. It is correct to assume that she may be a tax exile soon.

Negative equity is like an illness and take heed, if you neglect to treat it, it can easily become the disease that causes you to be a non contributor to life going forward. We know this happened to many people in recession of the 1980's in the UK. Act now and stop the chaos.

Michael O'Leary please check into Government Ireland. We need some more of initiative urgently.

Forster

author by Tpublication date Thu Dec 13, 2012 21:39Report this post to the editors

Here's some more photos of unfinished office towers and of boarded up buildings abandoned for the moment.

The first series are of a few different shots of the now infamous landmark to the Celtic Tiger property bubble madness years. This was originally going to be the HQ of the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank along North Wall Quay, Dublin. Anglo who largely made loans only to developers lent in excess of €100 billion much of which will never be recovered from the original lenders but is being recovered off the backs of the Irish people by virtue of the bailout of the rich.

It was reported back in April 16th 2012 that the Central Bank had agreed to buy this relic. You can see the report here: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0416/....html

The second series of photos is of a building in Ballsbridge next door to the former Jury's hotel. While it was not part of the Sean Dunne high-rise tower fantasy it was bought by another developer called Ray Grehan who acquired planning permission for a 15 story tower, as reported here in Feb 2008 http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2008/0219....html The development was to be called "Number One Ballsbridge" and you can just about make that out on the front view on the erected sign. Grehan is another NAMA individual. Recently NAMA tried to sue him as reported here and titled: "NAMA sues bankrupt Ray Grehan after contentious asset disposal" at http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/nama-sues-...osal/

river_view_unfinished_anglo_irish_bank_hq_office_tower_dublin_2012.jpg

view_of_anglo_irish_bank_unfinished_hq_northwall_quay_dublin_2012.jpg

liffeyview_ne_of_unfinished_anglo_hq_office_tower_northwall_quay_dublin_dec2012.jpg

view_of_old_veterinarycollege_ballsbridge_dublin_dec2012.jpg

abandonedbuilding_old_ucd_vetinarycollege_partof_raygrehan_site_ballsbrige_dublin_dec2012.jpg

author by Tpublication date Thu Dec 13, 2012 22:01Report this post to the editors

This series of photos is of a boarded up apartment block on Pearse St and of empty offices clearly left-over from the property bubble built around the Hanover Quay area and still not rented out yet. There seems to be a huge quantity of unused office buildings all around the country lying idle.

All photos are Copyleft.

Boarded up unused apartment block along Pearse St, Dublin 2
Boarded up unused apartment block along Pearse St, Dublin 2

emptyofficesforrent_britainquay_grandcanalarea_dublin_dec2012.jpg

vaccantoffices_prorpertyboomlefovers_corner_britainquay_hanoverdock_dublin_dec2012.jpg

vaccantoffices_frompropertybubble_johnrogersonsquay_dublin_dec2012.jpg

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonmentspublication date Fri Dec 14, 2012 14:58Report this post to the editors

Vacant
Boarded up
To let

Fast our city is in the process of architectural decay. Builders and developers, the 5th Christmas into Austerity are accustomed to media coverage and are either buckling under debt living in their houses compliments of the Banks or Nama or else they are like McNamara, Ivan Yates and many others who have taken the quick route out of bankruptcy by moving over to the UK where the system facilitates them to be declared bankrupt in one year, leaving them ready to start again. Is this good or bad? Really I don't know but bleeding people like a stone that has nothing to give is surely destructive to the soul of the people, their families and to the country. This brings to mind the negative equity period that befell the UK in the 1980's/90's, the advertisement for a large house then read as follows: Bought for in excess of Stg£1m but will sell for £500,000 now (the period of time 6 months when rates moved from 7% to 14%+). I often wonder what was the final outcome for so many people including many Irish from the negative equity scenario in the 1980's/90's. Many people just put their keys through the letter box and virtually disappeared. Feedback would be interesting if anyone was interested enough to do the research back then.

All we know from the economists these days is that markets have no memories so this recession in Ireland most likely is the replay of the Canary Wharf London boom/bust of the 1990's, the desire for apartment living in the City and the buy-to-let source of investment return way. The irony now is that the UK has housing shortage. What can we learn now that we have plenty of time on our hands to come up with solutions. Let us not forget that during the Celtic Tiger affordable housing plans replaced social housing and public private partnerships were put on the long finger and never came into play to meet the needs of people in need of social housing. The reality is we need departments to communicate and take surplus un-occupied property and make it available at newly achieved market prices.

Christmas this year and there is sadness in the air for so many. These overpaid bankers with the quick dash of pen or a thought can wipe away the plans of a person, their family, their business, their workers to oblivion and we need to ask why? We need to ask is there a better way? Would these people be better advised to say goodbye to the idea of owning their own house. After all we are only following the English man's ambition 'My home is my Castle'. Is it? The French and Germans think differently. They lean on the side of renting and saving. Could there be a culture change in Ireland. This property tax will not apply to people who rent a house, it will be up to the landlord to pay. Will we shift the divide? Landlords banding together like REITS in the US versus tenants who are protected by the law to certain standards of maintenance for where they live. Is there a better way? A change of attitude perhaps.

Tax incentives to buy property seems to be going out of fashion if Bank of Ireland are kicking into play if you haven't met your arrears for three months well then they will deduct £4,000 that would have equated to the tax relief and are effectively evicting the people from their homes. Why Christmas? If this is the case why as stated before that it is both moral and ethical that the Government ought to repay the stamp duty charged to those people who bought at the high end of negative equity ie around 2007. The repayment to the capital amount would be sufficient to restructure the loan, the repayments, add to this extending the life of the loan to over 30 years based naturally on the potential of people to repay when the economic climate improves. Debt forgiveness is a bitter pill for people to accept but I would think nobody would object to the Government paying back stamp duty as a gesture. For other people who are beyond such a remedy, then take them out of the agony, that dream of home ownership, and create the rental market that gives them an opportunity to find their level.

Today the headline goes that as many as 20,000 are in arrears for 2 years, the size of the City of Kilkenny.

Europe through bad planning and the Euro creation created its own Economic War. Economic is about money in a world that is harbouring countries like Syria, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan to say just a few. Their war is real war death and suffering. Ireland needs to ask the Europeans to put the foot of the accelerator for progress. They have NATO doing their 'dirty' work of war. January 2013 Ireland heads into the EU presidency, rumblings say there is a decorum when President of the EU that you don't give priority to your 'dirty washing'. All I can say is this is an opportunity and we should not let it pause.

author by Forster - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Sun Dec 16, 2012 15:24Report this post to the editors

Michael Hasenstab-Franklin Templeton is the optimist for Ireland and the "turn around" circa next year ie 2013 we presume. Let us hope this man who manages a fund of £165 billion is right when he says our bonds "will be one of the best investments of the decade".

Taking a peek at property in Dublin 4 the For Sale signs are on the down-turn it seems and circa Aylesbury Road, Shrewsbury Road, what had to be sold including the architectural gem which used to be the French Embassy appear to have been sold so maybe we see a bottoming out and a new supply demand quotient in place. What is now McManus (wife registered) home appears occupied this Christmas season so who knows what the year of EU host Ireland presidency will unfurl. With some luck we might escape that promissory note in March 2013.

At last there is an element of certainty to the cost financially, economically and socially of the property crisis. The Central Bank have finally come up with a list of properties available based on the length of time people are in arrears. We now know that there are 19,541 people in arrears of over 2 years. The question now is how many of these comprise the family home and that without any other financial assets available have social housing as their only alternative option. It is this group of people who have built up 2 years arrears and if they choose to give up their property voluntarily, they are expected to apply for a debt deal under the new insolvency process.

Enter into the marketplace another aspect of namatised called 'new Insolvency Process'. This will ultimately release more properties on the market for sellers like Allsop to firesale to the hawks waiting in the wings to get bargains on the basis of income and capital appreciation going forward. This Insolvency Process will allow for the formal write-down of debt, over a 5 year period, with the added bonus of not having to go to cour to be declared bankrupt. We await this legislation because definitive non profitable forays in property can be defined and debt written down, so properties will come to market. As they say 'water finds its own level' and this is what the property market needs right now.

There are supposedly 180,000 residential mortgage holders - some in arrears, others who have restructuring arrangements with their lenders. Central Bank has consistently put pressure on the banks to basically evict where the assessment is that it is impossible to repay. Bank of Ireland are the first to react to Central Bank pressure. Too long now is the period of time for keeping properties in abeyance with no direction. The Banks are not in the game of managing property for the rental market and in particular for what ultimately could be social housing. Closure is needed and now.

Troika have power but yet their reticence in certain areas, (particularly property, governmental/public service salaries and pensions) at last state that they want "legal clarity to the procedure" for repossession of foreclosures. Justice Elizabeth Dunne has called to fix the lacunae/loop hole as is also cited in the recent Troika updates. 5 years not knowing, unable to pay arrears, unemployed, having emigrated, accruing debt to capital, extending period of debt for some people makes the dream of owning their home impossible. This definitive line needs to be set and people need to free from debt and provided with social housing if that is what their post Celtic Tiger financial circumstances dictate. This also means the Government must review their social housing obligations particular such small provision has been provided for decades now.

Ireland hosts the EU presidency so let's market Ireland. The Troika admit we are exemplary. If so let's take the initiative, come up with the mathematical equation, that sorts out our property mess with some form of assurance to people in the family home that provision of accommodation, and suitable accommodation for families through transfer deals, is an option. Property tax is proving to be unfair. The majority of people live in Dublin. You can buy a house in Offaly for £50,000 (fire sale) and the same house in Dublin is £250,000 and the proposed tax is the same. How is this equitable?

Apartments blocks and estates who pay fees eg some as high as £3,500 a year, surely it is a disincentive for people to downsize to apartments if they are hammered by property tax and maintenance?

Where is the foreward thinking? Family homes could become generational based on age/need.

author by xpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2012 23:16Report this post to the editors

Disappointing there is no squatter movement in Dublin. Come on peeps! So many empty properties just sitting there for the taking!

author by Comyn - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Tue Dec 18, 2012 15:54Report this post to the editors

Ripe for the Picking
by Comyn - Urban Abandonments & dereliction Tue 18 Dec 2012 03:49:35 PM CET
x you have said it.

Someone said - 'If the Dutch had invaded Ireland, they would have fed the world'.

Who has heard of Camelot? The story will unfurl. Go to the www to twitter and keep informed.

There is a recent report by Deutsche bank and it claims that Ireland has so many empty houses, including 60,000 vacant holiday homes, representing a vacancy rate of 15%. The report then goes on to state that it will take 43 years to fill them. Demand determines how long the supply will last and add to this population growth! The Deutsche bank report states that based on 2011 figures which showed population growth of 13,000, and the average number of residents per house, the bank estimates that it could take until 2055 to overcome the glut that exists in the market. Mr Haughey, Mr Matt Gallagher, Mr Desmond, Mr O'Brien, Mr O'Leary - we need heads together urgently or else this Island which is presently blighted with the emigration of our young and recently educated will prompt;y re-visit the harsh winter of the 1950's when we owed the Annuities to our former Colonial master.

We need drivers of Economic growth, we need people with ideas, we need unemployment offices like FAS as centres of initiative to create opportunities. The time is here for all people who are unemployed to upskill to digital so that when they take up employment they bring with them initiatives and value added.

Camlot: A Mr Joost Van Gestel (frustrated with corporate life in Kraft in the 1990's) took a look at potential opportunities that existed to provide him with an alternative to corporate. He founded Camelot in 1993 and it is now the world's largest manager of vacant properties. The idea is to put temporary tenants at low rents in buildings that otherwise would be vacant. Ireland is already part of his portfolio and that includes Abbeville designed by the famous archictect Gandon which has failed to achieve the £7.5 m asking price. Common sense dictates and Haughey's ghost that Camelot is about "Protection by Occupation" and waiting for markets to gather steam again.

Van Gestel started with the intention to combat the squatter culture of recession bitten markets. He went contrary to the Netherlands' anarchist counter-culture. The aim is to prevent urban decay which is caused by vacancy. Dublin can so easily identify with this if you look at what Unesco regards as our culture while we leave it facing dereliction and decay. Van Gestel was not the first in the business but he did establish Camelot with the core value of professionalism.

Tackling bureaucracy is essential. Dearbhail McDonald rightly identifies that the delay by the Banks and the stalling of proceedings leading to families chained to houses that they will never be able to repay, is part of a huge problem in Ireland. The negative equity crisis could be short-term but based on the Deutsche report it could be decades. Add to this the 100,000 people awaiting social housing and the crisis coming down the road in the buy-to let-market and we need some consolidated think tank with an entrepreneurial mindset like Mr VanGestel to put a halt to the blundering City Council ineptitude before it gets into full belt with the bleet we have no funds!.

Camelot tackled the local authorities. It created a scaleable model. It tackled the legal structures in each country to establish exemptions to tenancy laws for temporary tenants. He then tackled the Governments and persuaded them that to the advantages of keeping buildings occupied. Certain countries created a tariff system to make owners of buildings liable but this creates its own problems when local authorities begin to count on these tariffs as income for the council, a little like the property tax. Van Gestel promotes occupation not squating or non utility.

Camelot now operates in 6 countries. The financial crisis is good for the company in that tenants are less fearful about having to leave quickly. The revenues are increasing by 30% a year, hitting Stg£20m 2011 up from £15 m in 2010 - not bad! Their properties include bankrupt bread factories, former convents, abandoned theme parks. Camelot consists of department for database entry, IT department, with software developers in India. His motivation is about keeping his employees challenged.

It is not all bad in Ireland but we have a long way to go. We need vision but it must be motivated by the common good.

Initiatives exist. 'Come in from the Cold' is in place by the Simon Community, Focus Ireland and St. Vincent de Paul. It is a tiny step (21 only homes) but let it be the start of something new. The aim in Cork for this Christmas is that every person will have access to a hostel while others will have their own home. As Focus Ireland's Ger Spillane said "We are guaranteeing landlords a monthly rent, ongoing maintenance of their propertie and an assuarance that their property will be returned in its original state at the end of the lease. We will support every tenant as long as its necessary". Its not a bad deal for the landlords. Too many landlords became victims to bad tenancy arrangements during the Celtic Tiger and the dis-interest of estate agencies and the lack of effectiveness of state agencies like the PRTB especially in the area of rent subsidies.

The public private partnerships for the like of O'Devaney Gardens may have failed but this at least is a start of people using their mental capacity to ensure people have the right to a home.

author by Johnston - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed Dec 19, 2012 15:35Report this post to the editors

Comyn

Is Mr Desmond one of Ireland's tax exiles? No problem for all to gather and praise each other last night?

We have the challenge at our feet now. Do we go with capitalism or shall we try to hang on to the premise of maintaining a socialist intentioned EU ethos for the public good premise supposedly core to the founding Fathers of the EU plan. The IFSC was a daring endeavour which worked and still works.
Ideally, we need public private partnerships to work, taking the best example from both.

Well done to the 4 young men who have made it to the Forbes 30 list, they give us hope with the message that social media is for us all to utilise.

Back to property and avoiding surplus properties, homes, castles, convents. David McWilliams (Economist) makes an interesting analysis in today's Independent. It goes something like this:

We know there is a relentless rise in the number of people in Ireland falling into mortgage arrears. According to McWilliams, the biggest myth of the Bust "is that debt is sustainable" and secondly "that there will be a soft landing". What we can ask though is that defaults will apply to those borrowers who are most exposed. The Central Bank figures state that we have 86,146 people with mortgages in arrears of 90 days with another 67,000 in arrears of 180 days.

A possible solution according to McWilliams is a deal called 'large debt for equity swap'. What this proposes is that the banks take 50% of the ownership of those in worst case scenarios properties. They hold the properties and debt for a period of 20 years and then the option is to sell the property. This means people continue to pay 50% of their mortgage and most importantly there is no default. He then suggests that the function of the ECB is to take as "collateral" the potential equity upside that banks are holding. Surely we can assume past on past history of property peaks and troughs that prices will be higher 20 years on. What we are in effect doing is asking the ECB to be lender of last resort. An example of this is a 2 bed apartment bought in 1993 @ £90,000 to peak value Euros £800,000 to now £245,000.....somewhere herein lies a true value.

Christmas approaches and people are in hardship and Central Bank figures now reveal just how many. There are ways out. We need to create employment, we know that austerity is too harsh, we know the US and Britain are asking the EU to waiver some of our debt exposure. To all of those dreading the post each day, just put it aside until 3rd January 2013 and with our Presidency of the EU with more knowledge on our side, options to eviction will be created and people will have less fear impacting on their ability to find gainful employment.

Johnston

author by Negative Equity bitten - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Dec 20, 2012 15:47Report this post to the editors

'Give Vision to the visionless' Jonathan Swift

The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter warned the banks that if they fail to co-operate with the new Personal Insolvency Bill which passed through the Oireachtas last night, he would not hesitate to bring in new legislation to ensure their compliance. This Personal Insolvency Bill is about the fundamental reform of our antiquated bankruptcy laws. This will be enacted by year end and the intention is to have it operational by March 2013.

The question raised before is why the banks remain entrenched in the courts and on the backfoot with regard to making decisions, forcing fire sales, and basically evicting people who have no possibility of ever meeting their debts.

Will these Personal Insolvency options work? The article by Harry McGee in the Irish Times today is detailed and for the many people in debt, it is worth reading.

T if the banks act it could be more vacant properties on the market for you to photograph.

When are the housing association, councils, homeless organisations going to start thinking ahead and buying up fire sale properties to let out to people evicted by the banks! It will become a tenants public/private partnership scenario in that tenants will pay the amount of rent they can afford while the state via organisations will pay the balance. These people would have the added bonus of not having to pay the property tax because they move from being mortgage holders possibly in significant negative equity to tenants.

Does anyone know if Ireland is building social housing? The paradox would be crazy surely.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Dec 21, 2012 15:48Report this post to the editors

Yes negative equity bitten, there are many of us to tell the tale but it is what is about to happen which we need to understand and grasp because changes lie ahead. There will be repossessions and considerably more than the 1351 which have occurred since the Central Bank started keeping records. These repossessions will more than likely flood more properties out into the market via firesales at below value cost and possibly lower than prices at current levels. This will be good for the first-time buyers but tough for those who hoped for the debt forgiveness which is but a dream if the argument put forward from AIB is that this would result in banks seeking a further bail-out.

Personal Insolvency laws come into effect for 2013. Goodbody's Stockbrokers reckons there will be a "substantial pick in repossessions as a consequence of legislation particularly in the buy-to-lets'. The go on to say that this could lead to drop in house prices. The property value cut-off point is £3m. Most principal private residences are substantially less than this amount but the aim is to "capture the amateur and professional buy-to-let investors that have multiple properties". The property owners most at risk are the 20,000 2 years+ in arrears and 7,000 buy-to-lets.

Change is ahead. The Troika have an input. The review of the bailout programme advised that the Government should amend the law 'to remove the legal impediment to repossession of homes dating back to 2009'. It is this the explains the inability or the lack of impetus by our banks to enforce contracts that ultimately create evictions or foreclosures. Now this is the option open to them.

Is there hope for property and Ireland? We don't know. Some say No but it is interesting to note the purchase today of Humewood Castle (sold many times now) to a US billionaire, some say he is the biggest landowner in the US. Mr John Malone, billionaire businessman paid £7,225m for 38,000 sq ft.
This is a man who looked at property in Ireland and said this is an opportunity and I am not going to pause, I am going to act'. Perhaps he pays head to Michael Hasenstab's Ireland's 'turn-around'.....yes the man who manages $165 Billion portfolio.

US$ to Euro - Is it strong or weak? The property appears a steal but we welcome its purchase to save it from dereliction potential. Imagine a house in Aylesbury Road sold at firesale price of £10m to Mrs McManus. Location is very important when making decisions going forward to buy properties.

Comyn

author by pricing pricingpublication date Fri Dec 21, 2012 18:03Report this post to the editors

As long as consumers dont rush out and mass buy,we wont see a rise in house prices,so instead of acting like little lemmings,there is a bit of a property stand off at the minute.And people simply do not have the money to buy.
Auctioneers/Estage agents will talk house prices up,and say things like ' now is the time to buy as they will rise in the future'..What we need to realise is that WE dictate the PRICES,they dont.
As long as we dont rush out and buy,i think we will be fine.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sat Dec 22, 2012 14:56Report this post to the editors

Pricing Pricing

Yes, words of wisdom. People do not need to act like lemmings. So many have learned such harsh lessons during the past five years in negative equity. It affects all generations - parents, children, siblings, we all know people who are suffering at present through a property market that has manicled people to banks for decades going forward ie unless there is debt forgiveness. Even if this occurs, others will feel that they have been treated unfairly.

Water finds its own level. Yes, we must realise that decisions are with the people and we create the market. Thread gently but also for those seeking a home let's share information and help people back onto the housing ladder with the aim of keeping unoccupied houses, empty apartment blocks or for that matter ghost estates as blots on our landscape in the market place. Let the prices reduce and let's give people the option to own their own homes at an affordable price. There are companies still choosing Ireland to set up a base. They are creating jobs and there are people who want to buy a home. Let people interact and create this market with a little bit of sharing caring thrown in.

Anyone know of an apartment in D2 D4 one bed room for say £130,000? There are people who want to buy. The confidence is lacking in our banks but we must not forget that banks have a job to do also and that is to take deposits and lend money ie give credit. They have been lying low for too long now bleeting about their loan books in arrears. Banks are supposed to be the risk-takers so five years on let them create suitable products to encourage potential home owners back into the market place. It is not like England in the 1980's when people saw rates double from 7% to 14.5% in a 6 month period.

Comyn

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sun Dec 23, 2012 15:46Report this post to the editors

Visit to Co. Meath.

Decades waiting for a motorway and now it exists and what was once an interesting journey is now just concrete and road bypassing all the villages. They call this progress.

Decided to vere off at Dunshaughlin for a coffee and this the Sunday of Christmas Eve there was no place to sit and chat a while.

What we did notice was the sign for Kileen Castle and nostalgia brought us there. This was once the home of Lord Fingal but through the decades it has passed into the ownership of different wealthy people but each time it managed to surpass their capacity to spend on it. We approached it in style but it looked quite vacant of people and cars. We took a chance and the door opened. We asked if we could take in our my companion dog and while they said no at first, they relented (there is some good common sense left in Ireland) and we went in and had a most pleasant interlude with coffee and gateau with a beautiful hearth fire burning in a central space. The view towards Warrenstown College ensured us that some of the old landscape of the once Royal County remained intact. We don't know if this is another of these Namatised demesnes but if you are looking for a place to visit or a game of golf visit Kileen Castle, Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath and support business where possible. This is supposed to be Ireland's fastest growing Golf Club with full membership at £2,000 (someone tells me it was £20,000) and under 30's £1,000. There is no joining fee.

We were surprised by the number of apartments built on what was once the Phoenix Park race course and those near Kilmainham. Such lifelessness exists - one can sense the doom and gloom that these casualties of the tiger have created. Surely, Dublin City Council, housing associations, or property funds can buy these often vacant properties and create a low priced rental market which will suit social housing which there must be a demand for by now since the public private partnerships failed for O'Devaney Gardens.

Okay we hear the message entitlements must be cut. We know that those on rental supplements over the past 5 years have had to ask their landlords to make reductions to bring them in line with the amounts social housing is prepared to pay but shortly this market will change and rents will start to rise and it is people in social housing or in receipt of rent supplement will be the first to suffer. 'Pricing' - you know what this is going to be about. We need to think ahead and why not now for 2013 before Bank of Ireland & other banks dictate foreclosures with near to immediate effect to those over leveraged and those in buy-to-lets that they are unable to make create a income to a balance sheet.

Happy Christmas : Austerity is too severe. There must be another way. Economic growth is generated through employment and intentional savings ie cutting cloth according to measure

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Dec 28, 2012 15:52Report this post to the editors

The four years are up and the country is awash with properties and problems of mis-match. You have money whereas another has a budget of a minimum amount.

Well here comes more confusion. This was written about in an earlier posting.

Landlords are being sought out again. This time it will be the old kind of landlord who bought the Victorian house/Georgian House and turned it into flats ie bedsits. Check these houses out: you see them mainly Dublin 1, 2, 4, 6 and in similar areas in other cities in Ireland. Some of the properties like on Waterloo Road, Elgin Road were pre-63 and some houses have as many as 10 people living in different rooms with common area facilities. The truth is without investment their destination is slum status ie over decades.

The law now is: it will be illegal for landlords to rent out these bedsits. The legislation is due out in January 2013. From February 2013, all rented accommodation must have its own sanitary facilities in a separate room. There is more detail about this from an earlier posting based on commentary on the Joe Duffy show. There is no excuse for non compliance. The fine is £5,000 for failure to comply or a 6 month sentence.

It is reported that there are as many as 5,000 bedsits in Ireland but if one realistically looks to Dublin alone, there are many more and if not, the next question is how many people can be found sharing these bedsits or small apartments? Head counts are never discussed these days.

The Irish Property Owners' Association makes the case for Landlords stating that they cannot afford to put in place the changes legally required. Renovation is costly while the banks are sitting on deposits with an unwillingness to lend further to the property sector.

Does this mean more properties will be closed down and left for decades until they can be knocked down? Students, elderly people, people on rent supplement, people with disabilities or next step homelessness, are most likely to be affected when this law is put into effect in February. Where is the joined up thinking between government departments from education, to social protection, to environment. Mis-match leaves the vulnerable homeless ---- and others on rent supplement in shoddy housing.

It is a tough call to make a decision here. People deserve to live in properly maintained properties. Landlords have duties as does the City Council who provide the rent supplements to people with social housing needs. Threshold advocate that these bedsits 'have no place in the Irish housing landscape'. Their findings suggest that it is mainly men (often separated or away from the family home) are forced to live in these "grossly degrading conditions".

Public sector and waste. In the heady days of the Tiger there was demand for rental properties from all sectors including many people who chose to move to Ireland and take up residence. This created problems for landlords who received rent allowance from the State. The State paid the tenant and the tenant was then supposed to pay the landlord - in certain cases several amounts of subsidy went into one household.

The local authorities are demanding property taxes. That's fine provided these local authorities cut out waste and ensure their links with property market runs as efficiently as possible. The local authorities now have stronger powers. They can serve prohibition notices on properties. These can prevent a landlord from letting a property until it is in compliance with the standards as per the legislation. Previously the co councils were responsible for a maintenance service to local authority houses, now it is time for them to be efficient and effective in enforcing the powers they can apply to keep the rental housing stock to a certain standard.

Speaking to a young German woman, she said living in Ireland is too costly and that it is a lot cheaper in Europe. Irish rental, she said is particularly high. She explained that an apartment in Germany averaged around £500 for 70 sq m? Camelot (Google it) or something similar works in Germany. People who have properties/homes which are too big for them share them with others. This is common sense and we can learn from this. Also particularly in East Germany there are a number of vacant properties and there is a scheme whereby you can opt to live in one of the properties. You maintain it and they pay you a token amount.

It is worth noting one positive point about Irish tax and property. There is an allowance of circa £10,000 a house-holder can take tax free, it could be a better option for students or City workers than renting a flat.

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonmentspublication date Wed Jan 16, 2013 15:40Report this post to the editors

A miserable winter day and boarded up businesses become all the more a stark reality of where Ireland is heading if action is not taken. January proves a miserable month for people struggling to keep their businesses up and running so let's create a change and show an interest in other people and promote a revival (if it ever really existed) of a caring sharing culture. They say we need economic growth, well let's keep money in the pockets of the ordinary Irish people so that they can keep spending with a proviso that they will try to support Irish where possible.

To the Government: A reminder of what once was a street of significance in Dublin - yes Grafton Street, our symbol to tourists that we cater for all and the elites too.

Bewley's continues to attract customers. It's theatre never fails to attract tourists as well as locals and a fair contingent of pensioners. However, they are also battling with upward only rent reviews. More and more businesses are closing on the street so the rents have only one way to go and that is downwards.
Yesterday HMV went into administration. The truth is it had that air of doom about it for months and people kept hoping it would survive. Now it is up to the administrators to strip it bare and try and create a business going forward. Maybe this might see the government dealing with rents which are excessive and a blatant threat to established businesses going to the wall.

Let the efforts made by Korky's - Grafton Street go to waste. That well know show shop that battled for nearly 8 years against upward only rents. The shop is now shut and 8 jobs are lost. Do you recall their banners from the building, their efforts to win support. The shop was 900 sq ft and the rent increased rapidly to £445,000 back in 2005 from £210,000 a year. There was 15 years remaining on the contract.

Outcome: No real negotiation with Government to give a fair outcome to landlords.

What do the plain people of Ireland have to say about this?

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments & derelictionpublication date Thu Jan 24, 2013 15:39Report this post to the editors

At last some real common sense is spoken on the airwaves. We can only agree with Olivia's words to those who make decisions in Leinster house and urge them to drop the spin doctors and take a walk outside to meet the people, to listen to their stories, to see the shops that have been closed. Olivia O'Leary graphically described the walk out down Molesworth Street (past that Namatised Buswells hotel), into Dawson Street and to what once was the Bond Street of Dublin, Grafton Street, now in tatters with closures of businesses and the air of fear of more to close and no hope. This is the year of the Gathering and yet Dublin, our Capital city, is not meeting market expectations of the people who will visit this Island. Why? Short-sightedness and the crazy upward only reviews that finally forced Korky's to withdraw from their 900 sq ft business in Grafton Street.

Donal O'Donovan comments in today's Independent about 'Upward Only' leases. This clarifies the up-to-date status and enables people to understand and seek redress. Before the election, it was both sides of the coalition who spoke out against these leases and promised a ban on same. The election promises were to scrap such 'upward only' clauses in leases but the all-out ban was scrapped on the advise of the Attorney General who said such a move would be unconstitutional. So what can people do about this now!

The question we now ask is what about a sense of morality amongst landlords. There is the human factor and the ability to concede and compromise for the public good. Apparently, already the State does cut rents for some of its tenants. The businesses that have sought cheaper rents from NAMA have negotiated cuts. This exemplary behaviour should inspire all landlords where possible to re negotiate more favourable rents. What is disappointing is that Minister Coveney's department are still using 'upward only' leases - and it is reported that in those election days the same Mr Coveney was an 'outspoken critic of upward only rents'. According to the O'Donovan article: "All leases issued in respect of properties in the six Fishery Harbour Centres...contain what are refererred to as 'upward only' rent review clauses" (a statement by the Agriculture and Fisheries government department).

Too many businesses are being driven out of the marketplace these days. It takes only a short period of time for dereliction, wastage, loss of soul to enter communities and Ireland is an Island of communities where each needs to maintain a status quo that inspires people to create markets, to persevere and generate employment that drives the economic growth. Too often short-sightedness leads a struggling company to falter where an additional period in business would be to its benefit. Rents are crippling. Communities need to interact and discuss how penal some landlords are in their drive for earnings and as in the case of Korky's, the landlord is the like of Canada Life who probably have held their assets for decades and achieved both asset growth and income growth. They should be willing to show a sense of moral justice in the absence of an amendment to leases which is deemed unconstitutional by our Attorney General.

Chestnut

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments & derelictionpublication date Sat Jan 26, 2013 15:41Report this post to the editors

Heritage and Habitat - today's Irish Times writes about housing vacancy rates.
Check: airomaps.nuim.ie/picturesofireland. Pink denotes the areas with highest occupancy rates (25%) and you will notice that is Donegal, Leitrim, Longford, Cavan, the upper Shannon region, the west of Ireland and Kerry are most affected. It is houses and apartments that most represent the carnage of the property bubble. The 2011 census counted 289,451 vacant properties ie 14.%% of the total stock in April 2011. 59,395 are classed as holiday homes. To put things in perspective 6% of properties are deemed to normally be vacant.

What is the Government doing? Holiday homes are a blight on our scenic areas and if they have no value apart from occasional usage - and given the level of negative equity experienced, can we create a plan to create viability and usage of these properties? We talk about our diaspora - are there people who emigrated and who would like to return to Ireland. Some of these small housing developments could be adapted and used as units for independent elderly people who want to live in a modified home rather than the traditional nursing home with one property designated as a primary care unit for the area. Emigration in the past was mostly from the west coast so maybe there is a possibility in bringing home some of our diaspora, with their pensions, their assets.

Ireland is a small open economy and we have geo-political advantages that we can use to our advantage. The Germans, the Dutch were attracted to Ireland particularly in the 1950's and then again in the 1980's, so why not again? We must market our properties with a commitment to building a future. It is not acceptable that we are now 5 years into recession and we have as many 14.5% of our total stock empty. The Government, NAMA, the banks are being lazy in the absence of creativity and could be said to be just waiting for a time when the markets take off again and if the truth is known want the asset appreciation as part of the calculation. This could easily happen again if inflation takes hold and interest rates rise like in the 1970's. The truth is we need to start acting and encouraging the market to be like water finding its own level so that we can move on.

The Government apparently have two initiatives and it goes without saying they are ineffective. Has anyone something positive to say about the 'Social Housing Leasing Initiative' or for that matter the 'Site Resolution' plans? Try looking at the above website and it is west of the Shannon that is suffering the most and yet again.

Comyn

author by Menlo - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sun Jan 27, 2013 15:51Report this post to the editors

'Why a one bed flat in Dublin will pay a country mansion tax"

Why should a person with a three bed room semi detached in Dublin valued at £250,000 be discriminated against because they pay more to live in Dublin?

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Mon Jan 28, 2013 14:51Report this post to the editors

Check out urban abandonments and dereliction via google and see what can happen?

Eddie Hobbs (Saturday night programme) suggests that our oil/gas reserves could yield for our needs for 100 years and is worth billions to the Irish exchequer. However, we sold away a considerable portion of our income potential back in 1987 under the auspices of Ray Burke, FF. Recession always re-activates interest in potential and naturally now is the time to look to our seabed in the hope that we can follow the US lead to become self-sufficient as soon as possible (and for the US, this is close now). Eddie Hobbs urges the people of Ireland to engage with this new marketing force and to become actively involved, especially now that Dalkey, Providence, O'Reillys are actively engaging in offshore potential. The organisation name suggested is 'Owner's Oil' however I stand to be corrected on this.

Ireland is built on boglands. Research states that care must be exercised. Landslides occur, noise becomes a problem. Farmers own their land and are often reluctant to give access to their land. This means the process is compulsory purchase orders. We just need to look to the Corrib or Tara to see how people react to what they deem unfair and inappropriate for this Island of ours.

Frank McDonald, Environment Editor has written an interesting piece in today's Irish Times: "Wind farms 'an Irish solution to a British problem' - Protesters say 2,000 turbines set for midlands because of opposition in Britain"

Apparently a memorandum of understanding was signed last Thursday by the Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte and a British counterpart that will put in place a means for electricity exports from Ireland to Britain. This is about windfarms and their future on our landscape. It is our midland counties who are the likely candidates. 5 counties may have as many as 2,300 185m high turbines built on the land. An electricity interconnector would link up with Wales. What do we really think about this? Do we know enough?

Richard Tol who is formerly of ESRI and now lecturer in University of Sussex says, according to the article in Times, that it was a "good deal" from the British perspective, but for Ireland, it would amount to "giving away the family silver".

Desperation is one thing but becoming a near wasteland for ugly wind turbines needs consideraby more insight, knowledge and disucssion.

Chestnut

Urban abandonment

Editor: This is getting off-topic to the discussion here. However an article covering this issue is now available here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/103212 - Signing of Energy Memorandum with UK paves way for up to 2,300 Wind Turbines in Midlands
Please post all further comment on that issue to that article instead

author by Comyn - Urban Abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Jan 29, 2013 15:52Report this post to the editors

Aisling Tannum in the Irish Times quotes: 'Investors should remember that in good and bad times, Georgian properties will suffer when landlords do not put the necessary capital into the buildings'.

Absolutely true Aisling but Government must promote this heritage which is an integral part of our history, our lives, our tourism. There must be a way of introducing incentives that encourage occupation of these houses in as creative a mechanism as possible eg offices, schools, owner occupied, families sharing the house in units as done in Europe.....

Comyn

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sat Feb 02, 2013 15:56Report this post to the editors

If you work in Dublin 2, 4, 6, 8 and other known places, next time just take a look at those houses that are occupied by people living and flats and note that now these people are looking for new homes.

Don't fret. Threshold say 'this would see the end of the traditional bedsit accommodation and improve requirements for private rented accommodation', their chief executive Bob Jordan said that the new regulations would serve to remove the "bottom layer" or the most sub-standard accommodation in the country.

Glut, fear, dishonesty, NAMA, landlords of the cash mentality are the words that come to mind. What about the vulnerable who have lived in their flats for years, those who may have fears because they have mental health problems. How many people in some of the old georgian houses around Mountjoy Square are homes to families of people who have emigrated to Ireland. Do we really know or more importantly do we really care?

Yes everyone should have a bathroom but let's hope Threshold is able to accommodate all potentially homeless people. We do not need more homeless casualties on our streets.

author by adampublication date Sat Feb 02, 2013 21:11Report this post to the editors

More rules and regulations means more homeless on the streets,and they can pretend all they like,but there not one bit concerned they dont give a shit about those one step away from homelessness

author by anonpublication date Sat Feb 02, 2013 21:42Report this post to the editors

I know of a 70 year old chap,who lived in a bedsit for 20 years,and will not find a 1 bed apartment for himself if he gets tuffed out which im sure he will given these new rules,which have a fine of up to 5000 and the threat of imprisonment..

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Mon Feb 04, 2013 14:42Report this post to the editors

Agree with the earlier posters. The law is in. The £5,000 fine exists but the reality is do the Government really grasp that rogue landlords have existed for decades and places like Mountjoy Square, Elgin Road, Raglan Road, Haddington Road et al have houses that are in bedsits. We can put on our rose tinted glasses and pretend this is new legislation is great but we also must be aware of the people who at the moment feel threatened about the loss of their home, in the area they live in, at the rent the pay and if they receive rent subsidy, the balance that they are responsible for.

It is scandalous that over the years landlords abused their power and benefited from rents, often on the black market but what really scares me is the provisions that will be made for the so called 9,000 now 6,000 people (and frankly conjecture states that there are many more unknowns). Threshold state there will be provision but I would ask them if this is so why are there so many homeless people in Ireland, and why is the hostel industry thriving with its methodology of servility and late night phone calls from people in need of a bed. Add to this the rule that you leave at 9.00 am and return at 5.00pm - what hope is there is this system. Begging becomes a necessity for interaction surely.

There is a house in an affluent area with the rooms as bedsits. A man lives in the roof space but it is home. He shares the bathroom, he has no provision for cooking. He gets rent subsidy, he pays the balance, he has been there for years. Who is comforting him now as he reads in the newspaper about the changes in hand! When he is told go - who provides him will accommodation suitable to his needs. There is one law for the rich and another for the poor and too many now are one social security payment away from homelessness.

In Celtic Tiger days Indymedia hosted an article about eviction in Dublin 4. It is worth reading because that was then and now is now and things are so much worse for the vulnerable.

Comyn

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments & derelictionpublication date Tue Feb 05, 2013 14:42Report this post to the editors

This used to be Miss Meredith's school going back decades. Then a young woman with drive, vision and a love of children opened the International school and it seemed to attract young students in neat uniforms from different countries including Ireland. It gave heart to the Upper Baggot Street village, a heart and soul that once existed or so the lore goes but sadly it is now bereft and struggling.

One day we met the owner of the International School and she said they were closing down, no reasons stated but that they had re-located to Blackrock. Failing to question further, we assumed the preference for location was Blackrock but then if one thought a little deeper, it would be apparent that it was the landlord/owner getting greedy and looking for excessive rent....the same story that wrecks our towns, our villages and the communities in our cities. This upward only rent is destroying potential prosperity in markets that are already in existence ie International School gave heart to Baggot Street, provided business and gave people choice in the environs of D4, the embassy belt.

We stopped to admire this lovely puppy in the grounds of the former international school today. The person told us the story and how the parents and school had tried to negotiate with the landlord .... Greed, no vision won and the International School, the teachers, the students, the parents left and settled with the location of Blackrock. This building is now sold. Let us hope, someone else will run it as a school and Baggot Street can move forward again as a community.

Dereliction is a reality. 57,000 holiday homes lie vacant and so many more houses. Ineffectual communication stops solutions. We have the technology, let us communicate and create potential.

The Germans, quite contrary to what one would expect, have similar problems to our country with people leaving towns and villages. Unlike us they are adapting in a sensible way. They have re-introduced barter. The word TIME is the currency instead of MONEY. To make our communities work, is there anyone willing to say take the time of a person on dole/disability/short of money and make it something positive through exchange. NALA has a great scheme teaching people how to read, so this model has the potential to create a subset. Baggot Street Hospital needs a public private partnership to drive it forward as the proper Centre of Excellence Primary Health Care centre - some time from IBM, TESCO, BOOTS, GOOGLE, STARBUCKS would create the business plan, the expertise, the dedication to community. These companies excel in the Global Stock Market, so it is time for them to add a value chain and help out locally.

Chestnut

author by anonpublication date Tue Feb 05, 2013 14:43Report this post to the editors

This boils down to the haves and the have nots..Nobody in the dail would like to venture living a month on the dole , living in rented accomadation,under threat of being chucked out with these new rules..

They should put one of these ministers living on a month under such circumstances to see how they would fare out,and maybe it would give them just a little appreciation of what the average person has to go through with the struggle of life on the dole.

There is a such thing as over - regulation,and 'regulation' done by rich upper middle class twats who obviously do not take into the account circumstances of those who are effectively one payment away from homelessness,where is the man who is in his 70's going to find a 1 bedroom apartment after he is chucked out?

Here are two different reports on what this 'new regulation' is going to do to irelands tenants..

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/warning-that-mo....html

http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/new-l....html

author by Comyn - Urban Abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed Feb 06, 2013 14:54Report this post to the editors

Upward only rents now have the answer. Prime buildings in strategic locations are being sold at knock-down prices, ousting Irish ownership in many cases to that of the newly created Creditor country named Germany, the Germany that merged with their World War II cessation of East Germany to create the entity, Germany, yes so flush with funds. Meanwhile, we one of the debtor countries are the victim of what could be termed an economic war of the 21 century. It would suggest that some of our landlords failed to be moral (and rested on Attorney General decision) and left rents so high that people were forced out of the premises. Now these are the properties that are for sale at huge discount and the purchasers are those private equity groups, the Germans and no doubt there will be Russians, Chinese and people from India too. We are not complaining about the diversity but we are asking landlords to reconsider their rents and be fair and help businesses to survive this crisis and create employment, fair employment, for the people of Ireland. John Lewis is an interesting company with a policy of Corporate Social Responsibility and a motto 'Never knowingly undersold' are supposed to be considering purchasing a shop in Dublin and these, like Boots and M&S we would welcome. Maybe they would consider a public private partnership with Baggot Street Community Hospital, if only it was for sale.

We don't have to be rich, in fact we know the morals of those who were the Celtic Tiger rich and we can now with the benefit of hindsight create the new model of Ireland Inc with the views of the plain people of Ireland contributing to Ireland's rebirth, and in particular now that we approach 2016 the anniversary of the Rising that led to Independence of the 26 counties and then in 1998 to the Good Friday Agreement. We are on a bridge and we are possibly mid-way, we can retreat, or we can create and move forward again, as we have done so many times over the centuries.

Grafton Street had become so shoddy recently. Shops are closed down and others are struggling to stay open. Grafton Street is Dublin's equivalent to Bond Street - not anymore. It is worth listening to Olivia O'Leary's podcast of the drivetime programme a week ago. Grafton Street has become our cinderella. The Times today informs us that 2 of the architecturally splendid Grafton Street shops have sold for 65% below the 2007 price. It is a German fund manager called GLL Real Estate who has bought these jewels for a fraction of what they are worth. The fund is to pay £40 million for River Island and the adjoining Wallis outlet (just beside Weirs). David Daly bought this for £115 million in 2007.

Quote: Jack Fagan
Irish Times
'The latest off market sale means the German fund is now one of the largest property owners on the city's premier shopping street'.
It bought the AIB branch for near £28 million (sale and lease-back deal) with a return of 6%. It is estimated that the River Island/Wallis deal will yield 6.85%. What a pity all our entrepreneurs are being priced out of our own country.

Anonymous: Enforcement and fines of £5,000 will dictate hardship for 9,000 people (and more than likely many more) living in potential tenements in areas like Rathmines, Ranelagh, Mountjoy Square, when this new law comes into effect this week. We need provision of proper accommodation and we need a plan to maintain our Georgian and Victorian housing but in a way and without the red tape that provides homes for people and especially for our vulnerable people.

The time is now for people to share and care. We must say now to Germany's economic invasion and most definitely no to this promissory note of £3.1 billion. Germany has lots of bank assets and the EU has it is said as much as £33.9 trillion while America has £8 trillion. The time is now for the EU to be generous with its funds and to treat Ireland in an equitable way.

Comyn.

author by David Moran - Architectpublication date Sat Feb 09, 2013 20:20author email info at davidmoran dot ieReport this post to the editors

Thirteen years ago, almost, the authorities in Ireland commissioned a report on the Accommodation Crisis then developing in Ireland. The aim it would appear was to have this published in June of that year. By chance, or by design, this was followed by an initiative (that's what they call stonewalling) to publish a report on the Housing Crisis. It's interesting to note that the later of these two reports was published first, in June. The Housing report was highly supportive of wholesale development and supported various initiatives to support sub-urban expansion.

During the course of the following years I was commissioned to carry out reports on the viability of residential development in various locations throughout the country. As an example, I was asked to look at and procure investors in one housing scheme in an inland border county. Some seventy houses had been given outline permission, the directions to the location were complicated, turning off a main road, second left at a signpost for a minor village, third right turn up a minor road with no signpost, passing through a hamlet, the site was at the next crossroads. The image is obvious, an obscurely remote location on which the local authority had deemed it reasonable to allow an urban development. Some urban is called sub-urban due largely to the fact as many people are concentrated in an area as would be in an urban setting but without the facilities to support them. Sub-urban leads to sub-prime, which is in effect sub-standard. Public transport is needed, often inadequate so private transport only contributes to traffic chaos.

Anyway, I won't rant further, for we all know the picture even though we may well be unaware of all the consequences. Therefore, the maintenance of many of the so called ghost estates throughout the state is likely in most cases to be unsustainable. This is for many reasons. During the boom time, I was asked to evaluate schemes based completely in flood plains, in very rural high quality agricultural land, in areas where there were no proposals for authority infrastructure (drainage, water supply and roads) and in many cases the advice given was that these were even in those excessive times unsustainable. The values were based not on realistic current values at the time but on the incited basis of these values increasing. For instance, banks would pressure developers to purchase sites on the pretext that on procuring planning permission their value would have doubled. Then a new developer would be pressured into purchasing these assuming that the sale values after construction would be worth double the total costs. Massive profits were generated falsely. The advice that I gave to a number of clients during the boom, was based on current values only, for instance, the site value related to the then current sale value of units. Very little was sustainable. Some of my clients understood my comments and reports and took heed. Others also understood but related their greed to the burgeoning property values and KNEW that there was profit to be made. Based completely on projections of massive growth.

The results are not only that there are many ghost estates throughout the country, but also that within many urban areas the support needed is vanishing. There are many urban sites that were purchased with the same disregard for sustainability, their values being related to burgeoning growth only and not to reality. That has resulted in an increase to above 1980s levels of dereliction even in high urban areas. The current real value of these locations renders them unsustainable, but the development of these areas are being prevented by developers, banks and local authorities. Developers are waiting if they can for the markets to return. Banks are refusing to finance development due to the existing negative equity. Authorities are enforcing draconian measures that were developed when money fell with the rain, awarding permission with huge contributions or dictating conditions that even in the boom made certain developments unsustainable.

The complexity of this challenge requires experienced minds. Not only those who suffered the collapse but those who could see that suffering develop. The evaluation of all the options for correction with the combined fiscal and human values taken into full consideration needs to be accomplished. One possibility that might address both would be the taking control of derelict buildings and renovating them to reasonable standards such that they can be used by the growing dispossessed, economically. It is possible.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonmentspublication date Tue Feb 12, 2013 15:28Report this post to the editors

David.
Architect: no doubt feeling the pain of the recession when there are virtually no houses being built, renovated, plans required and otherwise. This may be a presumption on my part but inherent in your writing is that derived from your personal experience of being part, in the profession of architecture, of that transition from boom to bust. Sub-Urban - what a neat way of creating the visual in one's mind. Urban abandonments in earlier postings and the initial posting uploaded photos of what is happening to our country, and you have given us a history of how it came about with that non factor of production called Profit driving people to take risks with no interest.

Fingleton and Irish Nationwide was reported on the TV last night. The Ernst and Young which was commissioned is damning with loose management structures, lacking in computer skills and and virtually no paperwork. It also highlighted the warning signs stated by the KPMG report published almost 10 years ago. We know the outcome Fingleton got the bonus of £1m and the gold watch. He promised to return same but now states that a Government Official in high office made promises. This man is one of the few elites that were created and who tried to destroy our country. The question now is neatly summed up in the George Santayana quotation 'those who forget history are condemned to repeat it' and we have the knowledge, we have the experience, we know what tenement Dublin and other cities created, we know about Moyross, the gang wars, and what we need to do is prevent this social deprivation descending further to the degree it is in many European cities where they are know congregating groups of people in what are known as scum estates. Those who fail to observe the rules of society are evicted and sent to these locations. Do we want this to happen? Can we prevent it? Do we want vigilantes?

NAMA is "It" now. The Troika are putting the boot into our Central Bank Governor and the message is loud and clear. Your banks are shrirking their responsibilities. They gained from financial flows and the intention was to create employment ultimately but they have failed dismally. They have taken the money, invested no doubt at favourable rates in the ECB and meantime back in Ireland the crisis looms. The buy-to-lets, the sites without planning permission, the vacant Georgian and period houses in bedsits now subject to fine of £5,000, the ghost estates, the over subscribed apartment market (with the whole of issue of management fees a problem yet to destroy morale further), the myriad of country estates restored and now Namatised as hotel/golf courses, the mansions of the developers so lurid with excess are like a volcano ready to erupt causing massive social injustice in our society and the irony is that the same people who created the boom are the cause of the massive hardship now entrenched and coming down the track.

What can we do? Well Mr Architect if you were part of the construction of the boom, what can you contribute to Nama? You seem to have identified the problem at the time. You know doubt have experience and abilities that NAMA should be able to use and maybe you would be willing to work for them at a considerably lower rate than the people who worked for the now be liquidated Ex Anglo Irish Bank / Irish Nationwide building society which morphed to IRBC. The early days of NAMA and IBRC according to the figures in the papers paid excessive amounts to people who were evidently the boys in the know. We need to stop this rot. We need to look at cost benefit analysis of 'PEOPLE'. We want to know whether 'Chinese Walls' really apply within these newly constructed entities, now consolidated to Monopoly status ie IBRC liquidated. NAMA in many ways resembles the Land Commission, yes another time when landowners with their encumbered estates in return for small amounts handed over the land for re-distribution to the Irish post the Treaty 1921.

Now NAMA is the revolving door only this time it is not the Anglo-Irish who are bankrupted, it is that new breed who are to be stripped bare and it is the Troika that are calling the tune and the melody is Banks look to your books, look at the numbers in arrears, start procedure to repossess with near immediate effect otherwise the targets which will be set by the Central Bank will be applied. NAMA is moving to first gear, it is gained its experience on the commercial side, so beware to those unable to pay mortgages, buy-to-lets, holiday homes, or houses you bought instead of pension funds.

Mr Architect: 450,000 people are unemployed and yet there are people paid massive salaries and there is no real transparency. They say developers were retained by NAMA to enhance prospects of selling commercial undertakings. Now, Nama assumes a new role but this time it is the non transparent monopoly and we need people who understand and who have vision to create the alternatives we need. The IFSC was vision and we need a vision now. The foregoing postings show the direction downwards. We need people to address the problems.

NAMA must become more transparent. They are going to force people into eviction. We the ordinary people want to know that provision is made for families/home owners, that there are alternatives for example as suggested by David McWilliams a form of debt swap. Like minds need to come together and need to work with NAMA. They need to have a social entrepreneurship drive that merges the new insolvency legislation option with the best alternative for people taking account of their capacity to earn a fair wage. It is time now, especially in this housing dynamic, that 'water will find its own level' with equality and integrity at the core.

Comyn

author by David Moran - Architectpublication date Tue Feb 12, 2013 23:32Report this post to the editors

All of those and us suffering from the transition from boom to bust are an unwilling part of it. That those who chose to ignore the injustice developing not only in the building industry suffer too may to some be ironic. It is nevertheless painful. The Government Saving Scheme during the boom sought to borrow from those with money on the promise of returning more, perhaps a reasonable interest rate. My investment in this was nil, though I did place a spanner in a drawer until the scheme passed. That spanner by no coincidence did not tighten any bolts in all that time, just like the money appears to have achieved very little of any true value. Where are the new hospitals, primary health care units and jobs? I found it frustrating to see the accommodation crisis document being ignored, the recommendations that would guarantee residence while curtailing the false growth in apparent value, the replacement of these suggestions with rich peoples money making schemes and tax concessions.

Today, we are faced with a challenge. It was once called urban sprawl, now the sprawl of dereliction poses a true human challenge. There are growing numbers of homeless, these it has been suggested could be housed in ghost estates. This is only sustainable where the locations of estates are themselves sustainable. Commuting distances, public transport, infrastructure! The plethora of circumstances that need evaluating make for a complex demand that will require a complex solution. It is possible, but only where people themselves form the primary concern and where money, though necessary is secondary.

Following the collapse, there was a move to re-zone lands again, with consequent reduction in values. The zoning of certain lands as development lands should never have happened. The logic that accompanied the boom unfortunately continues. I recently studied the re-zoning of lands from residential back to agricultural in an area close to a town. In this particular case there was a steep slope to one side of a small river and a flood plain to the other. The flood plain extended to about 200 metres, with an elevation above the river of between 1 and 2 metres. To the sloping side of the river, the elevation from about 20 metres back from the river extended to 8 metres above the river level and increasing. The basis on which these lands were zoned back to agricultural was officially on flood planning requirements. Logic dictated in this particular case that the lands were zoned 100 metres to either side of the river without regard to the actual topography despite this forming an integral and important part of the councils own study. Where this type of logic continues we are unlikely to find correct solutions and true sustainable land values will continue to elude us.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed Feb 13, 2013 15:19Report this post to the editors

Today, Mr Architect, I am going to heed what you have said and I am going to target Mr Central Bank Governor, Patrick Honohan. Why because I have read his "Speech" in the weekly edition of the Sunday Business Post. The title alone states Change is ahead. There are no examples to follow. "The Unprecedented financial distress' speech by Mr Honohan will send shivers up the spines of those who are blighted by the property deluge created by the Celtic Tiger and added to by the global financial crisis. What we need to grasp is that there are in existence extraordinary rates of arrears where people are failing to service their mortgages/debts and in particular where homes are owner occupied.

Mr Honohan states that while most borrowers continue to service their loans that the general proposition is summed up in a quote from a recent authority on the need for debtor-friendly insolvency arrangements: "debtors should fulfil their obligations if at all possible, and freedom from legitimately incurred obligations is a privilege, potentially subject to abuse, that therefore should be a carefully guarded last resort". What this is saying is that debt forgiveness has a strong moral component. If there is to be long-term debt modification that involves permanent debt relief related to the arrears, it will only apply for cases of over indebtedness involving or bordering on insolvency. The train is now on the tracks - Insolvency legislation is due to be in place by April and the Troika via our Central Bank is stoking the fires for action by our banks with time-tables, targets and action driven.

Mr Honohan goes on to say that to date the banks have dealt with the loans crisis using two devices: a) capitalisation of arrears b) a temporary interest only payment schedule. This buys cash flow for some people only but for others if they vere off schedule and the spiral of debt returns, then something else needs to be done.

Mr Architect: I think you could interact now because it seems apparent that debt-wise related to property, Ireland Inc is now in unchartered territory. Embracing change and moving people who once worked in the private sector into the like of NAMA is part of the new remedy which is only presently being drafted. To quote Mr. Honohan "What is the best way of operationalising better decision rules for banks enabling and impelling them to triage the loans that are unsustainable from those that can come back on track?" Your vast experience as an architect and your ideas re Sub-Urban imply the loss of the social element of the property transactions that must now form part of what is known as social entrepreneurship and the revival of a sense of hope going forward.

Connecticut, America. This week there is a court case. NAMA sues Sean Dunne but this clever property magician has played a hand of cards that puts his property Irish speculative brain into that of his columnist wife and re-plays the game but in America. He now lives in an elitist enclosure with rent in excess of US£20,000 per month, having ventured into speculative property transactions which it appears have created profits. The US courts have to decide either in favour of NAMA or Dunne's wife, Gayle. These are the larger stakes that NAMA must play out and invariably in foreign courts and at phenomenol costs. This means we need to ask the question as to what happens now post the liquidation of IBRC. What will happen for instance re the Quinn group? NAMA now becomes the monolith, the monopoly driver to resolution but people have a responsibility to be informed to keep informed and ensure that there is transparency, no insider dealing, court resolution if there is, and keep making demands that developers who breached our laws pay the full cost or at least are disciplined via bankruptcy under the new Personal Insolvency Act. We need a clear picture.

Stormy seas ahead and we will all know people who are indebted. Earlier postings suggested that those who had bought properties since 2006 and paid excessively high stamp duty should petition the Government for repayment of stamp duty appear to have had no support. The banks should have supported their mortgage holders in this request. A repayment of say £60,000 stamp duty off capital would delete some people at least from the crisis status of the Personal Insolvency Act. After all some banks have begun to think creatively and they will re-structure the loan, taking responsibility for waving credit card debts, credit union loans, car loans etc.

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Feb 15, 2013 15:57Report this post to the editors

March 1st 2013 is the next firesale by Allsop at the Shelbourne Hotel. Those who use twitter (and note NAMA fail to do so), the internet, the newspapers, those with the access to cash or loans from banks, where their existing assets count as security, are in for great bargains. For the rest and those whose homes are under the auctioneers hammer, there is hardship ahead and if there is no debt forgiveness then surely now the plain people of Ireland have the right to ask questions. There is a reserve price on a 3 bed semi-detached house in Granard at £30,000 (rent roll £4,700).

Allsop (lot 29) 20 Herbert Street, Dublin 2, offers a freehold mid-terrace Georgian building - five floor accommodation - substantially refurbished and restored and better still with vacant possession. This is not quite as upmarket as Dublin 4 but the potential is massive, it is adjacent to the canal, with Merrion Square a short walk away. It is an area embedded in Irish history which as we approach 2016, it challenges our new narrative. The government have granted incentives according to yesterday's papers for a pilot scheme to revive the usage of Georgian homes, but the designated areas are not Dublin (which is in dire need of attention) but Waterford and Limerick. The Troika dictates to the Central Bank and the Central Bank orders the banks to start acting in relation to mortgages in arrears and to making tough decisions which they avoided over the last 5 years. The going is very tough now for many who face eviction and soon rather than later.

Do we have a right to know that these bankers will use discretion; that NAMA will have assessed the market of available properties and that there are sensible opportunities highlighted so that areas like social housing are provided for adequately out of foreclosure stock and already vacated houses or ghost estates.

Why we should be concerned about NAMA?

Co. Wicklow needs urgently a social housing initiative. Imagine, they want houses built! NAMA can't meet the local authority needs. The word 'suitable' is the determinant. It is a co-incidence that in Camden in London, people who break the cap for the Irish social welfare equivalent, have been told they must leave their homes and can be sent to any county where suitable property is available to them. Why are people in Wicklow, 5,000, left on a social housing list, when Dublin has empty properties, apartments that would provide suitable housing. NAMA must be able to transact a deal. They need to employ Mr or Mrs Architect who have suffered gravely through this economic depression and give them the task of finding and allocating properties in line with the socially motivated emphasis that prevents people from being held on a list for years or worse again for those who are on the brink of homelessness, lost in the hostel industry, paying day by day or week by week because profit and disempowerment go hand in hand for capitalists whose God is profit. They suggest a wait of 10 to 12 years in Wicklow. This does not make sense. Social housing should relate to potential to get work somewhere in Ireland.

Do we actually know how many empty homes we have in Ireland? England and empty homes is 3% of the total housing stock. Do we have the data? Do we know when our Banks start foreclosure where people will be re-housed, how many people will it apply to, how many are genuinely on social housing lists and in urgent need of accommodation?. Supply and demand have created a false floor in Ireland but when banks are forced to act the water will again find its own level, but then this depends on the data we have.

In England, there are 734,000 as at September 2010 vacant dwelling according to the Council Tax Data collected by the local authorities. 301,000 of these are in the private stock, which accounts for 1.6% of all private stock. It is a need to know for Ireland now that 'Empty homes brought back into use can contribute to the housing supply to meet local needs and help tackle homelessness, prevent neighbourhood decline and regenerate areas'. Ireland appears to be on a different track...we don't have the data - it is the great ambivalence and the wolf at the door which has been ignored. NAMA must now be tasked to tackle the socially based re-distribution of housing but also identifying those empty properties/ghost estates, unlived in Georgian houses facing dereliction. In the UK a £100m capital fund with 2011-15 Affordable Homes Programme has been established to tackle long term empty properties which would come back into use without additional financial intervention. This aims to provide 3,300 affordable homes by March 2015.

We need to know the strategy of the banks now. Will they flood property out onto the market. Has NAMA a plan?

author by David Moran - Architectpublication date Sun Feb 17, 2013 16:01author email info at davidmoran dot ieReport this post to the editors

In response to the post by Chestnut, I agree with the term 'suitable', though consider that sustainable is a better and more accurate description. The allocation of social housing should in order to create the possibility of dignity to those requiring accommodation, be located with proximity to employment opportunities. 'Ghost' estates are far too often located away from these opportunities, and are without reasonable infrastructure (buses, trains, schools, etc.).

Many of my colleagues are prepared or have already taken the initiative of taking accommodation nearer 'work' by very reluctantly emigrating. This is not a life style choice, nor for most is it in any way related to escaping responsibility at home. For 'home' is to them what Ireland represents. Many will at the first opportunity return, often meaning too that they will return to their families.

The initiatives relating to Georgian buildings should, I agree include all parts of the country where dereliction effects these historic buildings. As a valuable tourist attraction these are a vital part of our heritage. Might I make a suggestion and an offer, for anyone or everyone interested in maintaining all of our heritage. I am prepared to evaluate the sustainability of buildings in both fiscal and human terms in order to advise those holding these properties, perhaps including NAMA. There is a means by which local authorities can compulsorily purchase properties that remain derelict. The purchase therefore from NAMA or other holders of dereliction, of properties by a partnership scheme combining the private sector with local authorities for the purpose of providing suitable accommodation would alleviate the burden of cost from the authority and ensure that these building can be preserved. The sustainability of properties generally needs to be established urgently. Dereliction brings with it many problems, pests, hazards to health and safety that require ongoing costs in terms of maintenance and insurance for the purpose of merely maintaining their existence.

My hope is that our people may remain at 'home' in Ireland in a sustainable manner and not be forced to abandon this land. This is a general hope, but also a very personal one.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Mon Feb 18, 2013 13:24Report this post to the editors

I agree totally with David Moran's above posting and also with the previous one by Chestnut. I would like to add my own personal opinion. While driving around this country of ours over the last couple of years I have witnessed the estates at first hand. Eyesores is being too moderate. This government along with the County Councils should bring in the rogue developers and buildings and the incompetent planners who are responsible for these ghost estates and tackle this issue head on. We need enforcement - we have too much regulation. At the moment this country has so much regulation it is a police state yet when it comes to solving the problems there is no enforcement. My point is bulldoze the estates down otherwise we are going to have as David Moran has stated we are going to have major health issues in future years. Big Phil Hogan is great at huff and puff - home tax, septic tank tax, water meters - yet Hogan remains dumb what they are going to do with the ghost estates. Surely, we have enough highly qualified architects out of work at present who have the expertise to address this issue and who could work in liaison with a FAS (now Solus) and this could re-deploy people and create employment around the country.

When you have 19,000 ghost estates around Ireland the majority in fact probably need to be knocked down with the remainder being used for social housing. This could benefit the homeless people, the vulnerable and the unemployed.

Brian Flannery

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Feb 19, 2013 15:53Report this post to the editors

David

Wholly agree with your posting. You have a vast experience that should be availed of particularly now as the Troika, the Central Bank, kickstart the banks into sorting out their mortgage books. Sometimes, when recession hits, it is suitable for people to use their qualifications to emigrate to countries with opportunities but if you have children and they are mid-way through secondary school, you have to really way up the pros and cons of leaving the family home and travelling. Some people choose to do so and this is their decision but others have a different vision for the supports they want for their children. This a basic human right.

IBRC is liquidated. The staff are in limbo. The mortgages are on the move to NAMA and probably the staff once employed with IBRC are being retained by the newly appointed liquidator KPMG, Mr Monaghan. What we know is they will be placed on contract work and paid a fee as distinct from a salary, they will have no bonuses anymore or no pensions, as the liquidation determined that statutory redundancy is all they will receive. Some of these people no doubt feel badly done by but then this recession is about hardship and a bit of caring and sharing has to be the principle we need going forward. This is the time for people to redress the balance.

We need a new breed of professional and to give them an opportunity to advise those that have been privileged in say the IBRC, NAMA, KPMG to embrace change. What I am saying is that people become stale particularly in times of recession when they have not been the chosen to be out of work for periods of 'years' and maybe just maybe it is time to cast the net out and give other people an opportunity, like you Mr Architect, to share your expertise and experience in what is your line of work ie an Architect with decades of valuable work experience. Brian Flannery's point about these ghost estates and health problems ought to seriously concern the people of Ireland. I heard recently about a block of apartments partially occupied in Castleknock, Dublin 15. Where the apartments are vacant, the rats have appeared. Do we really understand public health in Ireland? Have we forgotten the oral history of our slums?

Chestnut

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Feb 21, 2013 16:26Report this post to the editors

The Duke of Leinster is reputed to have said about his move from Northside Dublin to Southside Dublin - Where "I" go fashion will follow and yes it did. It was the like of the splendid designs of Mountjoy Square, Belvedere Place, Summerhill, North Frederick Street that were vacated by the wealthy and became the slums of Dublin as families lived in single rooms. The pre-63 bedsits are remnants of those days of sheer poverty and non provision by the State that are now to be phased out ie if the Government persist and fine landlords (£5,000) for not providing adequate sanitary amenities for each bedsit in these old Georgian/Victorian homes. Already, landlords have these Pre-63 properties for sale, those who don't wish to engage with the legislation. However, we are told that the housing list is now approaching 100,000, and it seems incredibly unlikely that provision is made for people living in these properties for many years, probably in receipt of rent allowance, often with disabilities. We need to look around us, be it Rathmines-D6, Elgin Road-Dublin 4, North Circular Road. There are many people living in fear and vulnerable. We all need to be aware of this.

His Master's Voice: The record and the marketing. The old gramaphone and the Jack Russell listening with intent. HMV failed to keep ahead of the markets and it is now financially challenged and Grafton Street has lost one of its anchor retail outlets. Not alone is the HMV shop gone but there are now seven vacant retail outlets closed between it and the St. Stephen's Green shopping centre. We hear Government talking about "the Gathering 2013" and one can only ask them to listen to the Drivetime programme and Olivia O'Leary's rendition of what has happened to our once charming city and her request for some of the minister's to walk out of Government buildings up Molesworth Street, into Dawson Street, Sth Anne Street and to Grafton Street. I would add to this for them to look at O'Connell Street, one of the widest streets of the capitals in Europe. It is great to invite people to our country but we do need to impress them when they visit and more so if we ask our diaspora to return, we need to be able to show them improvement, culture, warmth when they return. O'Connell Street needs to invoke the necessity for us to look upwards and witness the architecture that once existed while to look at ground level, there are just tacky often fast food outlet doorways destroying the potential of our city.

Enthusiasm and adventure is needed. We need some visionaries to inspire us. Temple Bar and the IFSC challenged the 1980's recession but now we need to develop some alternatives. Who can lead us in this direction: Why not look to our war-torn world and promote Ireland as a country which has step by step over the decades created a Republic with recognition of the Good Friday Agreement to the Peace Process. There is an impressive transition that resounds Peace, not war.

The news about NAMA is not all bad. There is some progress or so it seems from todays Irish Independent. Those developers in NAMA who thought they could avoid paying their debts by switching assets into the names of their wives' and children have been scuttled. 'NAMA is now confident that it will secure legal rights or security over £750m of additional property assets controled by its debtors that were not not secured when loans were transferred to the agency (NAMA) from the banks'. To
secure legal chargess over assets makes it easier to seize and sell off property if debts owed to NAMA are not repaid. As much as two thirds of the increase is expected as NAMA identfies previously debt-free/"unencumbered" owned by some 80 developers with debts to the agency. Once these assets are identified, it is up to NAMA to establish a legal claim or charge thereby giving them rights over the properties. The remaining one third is concerned with reversity "asset transfers" most notably in the period post 2008 and before the transfer of the bank loans to NAMA in 2010.

NAMA is a creation that must be about transparency. We need to know what it is doing at all times. There needs to be a cost benefit analysis because this belies an important function to cut the deficit Ireland Inc. owes, in as progressive a way possible. This is just a question: Is their (NAMA's) performance good enough? Last year, 50 NAMA linked developers out of 188 (those with the biggest debts) made transfers (37 of which were made at the request of NAMA). Does anyone know the position re Sean Dunne and his wife in Connecticut? What about Michael Lynn who escaped by having a child in Brazil so no extradition? Those who escaped Irish bankruptcy who fled to the UK for better terms? The Irish Nationwide Chief Executive who chooses not even to return the £1 m bonus he promised and for that matter the watch. Simply: Ireland needs to work both sides of the balance sheet. We need to tackle expenditure but more importantly we need to collect as much money that is due also. To the Law Society: what is your level of transparency about errant solicitors? To the auditors - what have you to say?

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Thu Feb 21, 2013 22:22Report this post to the editors

It's great to see NAMA making progress, with a proposal to invest 2 billion in making provision for completing and building new residential and office developments in Dublin's central business district. Today after listening to the news on my car radio I was driving from Clontarf to Ballsbridge. My passenger and I took a slightly circuitous route, we drove to the roundabout on the North of the East link bridge, from there towards the city centre and back along the South quays, then towards Ballsbridge.
Apparently high quality office developments were abundant and empty. There was easily in excess of 50,000 square metres of office space to let, some of the developments I know have had large empty portions since being built. Some buildings have been vacant for as long as ten years. The demand even during the 'boom' was not sufficient for what exists.

There has been a lot of press about dereliction and the need to housing in sustainable locations. The billions proposed for investment in residential development could bring people into the city, to live, to avoid long commuting distances and to make Dublin more vibrant and attractive. Some of the empty sites are unlikely to be sustainable. Parks could replace dereliction, the large concrete frame soiling the North quays could easily be completed as residential with some supportive and imaginative commercial aspects to the ground floor. The completion of this as offices would only add competition to the masses of office space obviously available in the area.

There are real options, there is expertise available from people with vision. The IDA have apparently informed NAMA that there is a shortage of quality office space and that we WILL need this space in the future. Is it possible that the investment of 2 billion in Dublin's city centre is falling back to the boom time trap of short sighted greed? 50,000 square metres of waiting office remains unused and empty.

Let's not waste more time or more money in futile hope without planning.

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonmentpublication date Mon Feb 25, 2013 14:10Report this post to the editors

Mathew Elderfield makes reference in a recent article to 'Mortgage Delinquents'. Is this too harsh or is there a sense of realism here and if so, why? If people in debt from the heady days of the Celtic Tiger have fallen into unemployment, they are most likely to form the category of 90 days in arrears and possibly face eviction from their homes. There are targets to be set which will no doubt revolve around potential to get employment and the ability to reactivate the loan (where it has been converted to interesting being capitalised) and go forward with a new deal restructured by the bank. The problem for the people seriously in arrears is that the period of 5 years has advanced them further and further into debt . It is suggested for every one mortgage in arrears, there are as many as 4 other loans attached. How will the Personal Insolvency Act cater for these people? Will they offer to pay say the credit car loan/the car loan or credit union loan based on the fact that the mortgage repayment could work without the other outstanding loans. This means the more powerful banks could negotiate a write down with say a car loan debt which we know is subject to very high interest and is most likely paid off within say 4 months of a 2 year loan? We need forensic accountants but then perhaps this is what the Personal Insolvency Act is about.

Drogheda, Balbriggan and so many more towns are bereft. The motorways we sought are now in place and people gladly pay the tolls but the outer suburbs and rural locations are now the potential rural abandonments of the future. Every second shop appears to be closed and if this is the case on the east coast of Ireland what must it be like in the midlands or for that matter the west of Ireland. Allsop are having a firesale on the 1st March 2013, and it will be interesting to see if the bottom level of the house price decline is yet reached. Recently, there was a 3 bed semi-detached house Granard advertised in the newspapers for £30,000 with a rent roll of £4,700. This throws up in the face of people living in Dublin where the same house is £250,000 or more, the injustice of the property tax based on value. Could there be a motive here for people to sell their Dublin property even in negative equity from say £400,000 and move to the rural areas and live with less debt and the banks rewarding them with some form of debt forgiveness deal?

Debt forgiveness is prickly to say the least. Take that Celtic Tiger span of 5 years where people are now caught in the negative equity trap. For those who are, there are many more who are not. There are people who bought their homes in other decades who
have paid interest rates in excess of 10%, there are other's who bought out their homes without any debt and for them there is an injustice in the potential of the banks to write-down the debt, it removes what the power of the marketplace is all about. There are people who have faced negative equity by being actively participative. They have recognised they cannot manage their debts, they have emigrated for work, no doubt let out their property, with the intention to return when the employment improves, or if ever. What they are doing is acknowledging that unemployment, negative equity created the motivation to move and pay off their debts based on the contract they made when they decided to enter the housing market.

Elderfield may be right about 'Mortage Delinquents'. This man worked for a UK bank in Bermuda or one of the tax haven Islands. The bank are in the market to make money and protect the deposits of those who save, to pay them interest that rewards them for saving, and lending out money that will be repaid. The capitalist would no doubt say: You enter into the property market at your peril. You should be aware that like all investments there is an upside and a downside. Sometimes you buy in and the property value rises speedily and at other times it declines to negative equity. However the term of a loan is 20 years to 25 years and the hint is therein. Property values are fluid. In 1983, a three-bed semi-detached in Castleknock was £34,000; within 2 years it had increased to £38,000 but then for nearly a decade it hovered around £34,000 (yes, there was negative equity in Ireland before). Now the same house would be valued at £250,000. Banks employ forensic accountants, they employ actuaries. We are 5 years into down values on properties, be watchful of the deals that banks will engage in.

Why? Imagine: Lender with sub-prime book of debt re mortgages who sells it to private equity company at discount e.g like Clery's to Gordon Brothers or for that matter Burlington to Blackstone private equity companies. If this can happen, they the private equity firm that buys has done the maths. If they give a write-down, then they are assessing the future value of houses over a longer period of time.

Mr. Elderfield is warning the mortgage delinquents who have possibly sat back waiting for write-downs, you should have done more to honour your commitments and if he could take a job in Ireland surely then you could travel abroad and work....contracts are legal and binding so maybe concessions will only apply in genuine cases. But if the private equity companies are hovering over mortgage books and buying up houses at discounted rates then the equation of assessing house values over time, might be the more beneficial assessment to value properties. It is worth noting that most people paid deposits of 20-25% on the properties which are now in negative equity. If a private equity firm seeks to take possession of the home, they secure the deposit!

Chestnut

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Mon Feb 25, 2013 21:46Report this post to the editors

French driver speeds and uses mobile phone while driving. This would normally relate to delinquency but in this case sympathy is expressed. Now, delinquency is seen in law as a choice, where one fails to carry out a legal duty while able. A delinquent mortgage account is where the account fails to operate as envisaged at the time it is opened. That may be seen as neither the fault of the lender nor of the borrower, it is clearly a failing of the combination. This is the reason why delinquent accounts are so termed, the fault is not directed at any entity. This is also why each case must be evaluated alone with regard to both parties and thereby establish if either are in fact delinquent. That there are for instance many more delinquent accounts associated with certain lenders is a clear indication that there is a higher than average fault with that particular institution. This is no way need alleviate the fault of the borrower, but mitigating circumstances need to be examined. Much as those with that defenceless driver in France in that case the delinquent would appear to be the car. The just solution in that case would be to provide that driver with a non delinquent car. Might the same apply to housing?

Related Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/13/french-driv...chase
author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Feb 26, 2013 15:33Report this post to the editors

Gale

What a nightmare for the brakes to jam on a car and having to drive at 125 mph until you run out of petrol.

I don't see how this relates to the 'mortgage delinquents' as coined by Matthew Elderfield.

Is it that blame rests with the source? The car company responsible for the faulty brakes take the rap. If this is so then surely the banks who lent the money using a faulty format for lending must also take some responsibility?

If so, then write down of debt must be pursued by the 'moral delinquents'!

Chestnut

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed Feb 27, 2013 16:36Report this post to the editors

Indymedia sources have been highlighting this major shift in housing policy for a long time now and today's article by Treacy Hogan in the Irish Independent reports that Dublin City Council have shifted into gear and are actively pursuing those landlords who have for decades failed to provide suitable accommodation for tenants. Change lies ahead but the legislation which came in February 2013 is only as good as the enforcement.

Pre-63 properties were once the mainstay of basic homes for people from the country in areas such as Dublin 2, 4, 6. Many of the properties were of old Georgian stock with two/three stories over basement and subdivided into 'bedsits'. The news today is that there has been a blitz by the Dublin housing inspectors - there are new regulations including fire safety and too many breach the law. According to the today's Irish Independent, 84 houses on the North Circular Road are made up of a total of 589 flats. The environmental health officers attached to Dublin City Council carried out dawn raid inspections Warning letters are now in the post to errant landlords and it is quite shocking to read that as many as 483 flats are in breach of regulations. We need to grasp that only 84 houses (589 flats) have been inspected and indications are that there are more than 10,000 properties that are in breach of the current regulations. This asks the question how many flats/bedsits need inspection. Apparently, of the 483 flats found to be in breach of regulations, 220 are in such poor condition that follow up notices have issued that improvements must be carried out.

Landlords need to grasp the importance of up-grading accommodation and if not in the position of doing so, then they must vacate the properties and sell them. Landlords knew of the legislation in advance so there are no excuses yet the reality tells us a different story. Crisis management says that there will be many people without their homes yet again. Threshold and other housing associations hopefully will have accommodation for people presently in receipt of rent allowances and living in these sub-standard properties. Is this legislation badly timed? Housing waiting lists are near 100,000, the Troika are pushing the banks to clean up the mortgage arrears casualties who will be in need of housing, the buy-to-lets will be brought to market, and the holiday home fiasco lends more to the supply side. Perhaps the time is now to use the supply side of available property to enhance the standard of living for people in Ireland. Landlords have obligations. They buy properties to let. They look for income and asset appreciation and in some cases people have chosen the property route as their pension fund. For too long landlords have failed to maintain properties and have gained handsomely from cash rents and prior to 2006 have had asset appreciation.

Sub-standard is as follows:

No working smoke alarms; no fire blankets
Gas or electric heating systems not properly maintained
No proper hot or cold water supply
No proper sanitation
No toilet facilities
Dampness
Inadequate ventilation

The Council plan to inspect 6,000 places over 3 years. There has to be a more efficient way of upgrading now. After all we are in need of revenue in our Exchequer so those who fail to comply should have their hands forced creating an income stream. Failure to comply with laws state that penalties apply namely £5,000 fine or imprisonment. The former would be revenue while the latter would be a cost. The truth however is that we need to improve housing supply standard.

author by David Moran - Architectpublication date Wed Feb 27, 2013 20:24author email info at davidmoran dot ieReport this post to the editors

Having both lived in and inspected properties that are now required to be upgraded I can honestly attest to the fact that some are in extremely poor condition and some in good condition. This also applies to apartment accommodation that I have inspected. Those landlords who have maintained their properties in good condition I would expect have or are trying to upgrade their properties as required. Those who have not have often a basic disregard for their tenants and are therefore unlikely to comply without force. See link.

Compliance can in many cases can be achieved without great expense. However, negative equity does effect the viability of complying and this may well be reflected with the levels of funding being provided by banks. As with so much in Ireland today, the unfortunate reality is that compliance with common decency relies heavily of funds being available. This could also be stated as funding being made available. The reality for some of these properties is that the rental income is failing in even maintaining interest only repayments, these rely totally on concessions by the banks. This can be effected by either providing the funds in order to maintain the income or allowing the non payment of the rental income in order to facilitate compliance. Many properties are also in the care of various financial institutions having been repossessed.

It is very clear therefore that the full cooperation of the financial institutions in Ireland is required in order to prevent many from being evicted from sub-standard accommodation. The recent NAMA stated allocation of €2 billion in funds may well be used to alleviate the problems likely to develop. This can be effected through the renovation of small scale development that has been transferred from the IBRC and through the completion of large scale development already in the care of NAMA. For those errant landlords whose properties have remained in very poor condition for some time, those that failed to maintain them even in the fat times, action should and has been taken against them. For those who have attempted to maintain in reasonable or good condition their properties and now for various reasons find themselves in financial difficulty, the funds could be used to in part purchase these properties thereby ensuring compliance. An action that could be taken for those wilfully negligent would be for NAMA (as like local councils) to enforce compulsory purchase legislation. There are many possible solutions to this expanding problem. 10,000 properties will make this a large challenge with an achievable goal.

Related Link: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2010/0626...ia=mr
author by Bankrupt Plasterer - Construction to the Dolepublication date Fri Mar 01, 2013 15:48Report this post to the editors


Dave

You say you are an architect which I presume you were one of those flying high chasing the pie in the sky during the Celtic boomerang. I worked on sites in north Dublin and I will agree I made good money in 2000-2007. When the architect would visit the site with the developer they were the semi-Gods. They would arrive in their large range rovers or mercedes sports then change into their Chelsea Wellies and take off their £600 Italian shoes. They would walk the site and people would run to the canteen and would hand them their coffee. It was as if they felt entitled to all of the attention.

I am reading your postings and I just don't get the points you are making. I am owed £45,000 by two different builders. I am in 90 days mortgage arrears and now I rely on the black market and do cash in hand jobs. Are you telling me that you were not one of these architects that behaved like the semi-God of the sites during the Bertie era because hindsight Mr Moran is a very easy book to read. I am not being personal in any way here. I am just trying to illustrate that the greed was among developers, architects, and the politicians of that period. It seems to be me you have had a complete new hairdo - a transition from architect to preacher. Now, I would like to ask you in a simple format as an unemployed plasterer - what can the architects do to resolve the problem of rural and urban abandonment?

Recently I met an architect by chance who I knew on the North Circular Road and he said to me that he was just after a visit to the doctor who diagnosed depression. Then in the same breath he told me that he was flying to Spain for a week with his partner to relax. So he kept his holiday home in the sun or so it seems. I felt angry but I had enough respect for him to just walk away. I know a lot of architect who have off-loaded massive sums of money into foreign accounts and pretend to be bankrupt back at home. I am not saying you are one of those but what I am trying to find out is your opinion as to how to knock down the ghost estates to be found throughout Ireland and create essential employment for people like myself and the unemployment architects also,

Bankrupt Plasterer

author by Comyn - Observerpublication date Sat Mar 02, 2013 16:02Report this post to the editors

David the architect versus the plasterer. Is it not time to let bygones be just that? 5 years on and the blame game has become so entrenched that fatigue and apathy are destroying the Island of Ireland. This is an economic war and while Ireland could remain neutral during the World Wars we succeeded in being a core component of the economic war waged by the rot and sub-prime disease and due to banking speculation, contracts for difference, the heady power of the Maple 10, the developers, we were forced to hand over our economic sovereignty to the Troika. However, we differ from the other peripheral countries because we are deemed to have been restrained and even exemplary!

What can we learn from history:- There is an old Co Clare saying that 'After a gatherer comes a scatterer' to be followed by another 'castle's falliing but dung hill's rising'. Extremes but therein is a little wisdom. Where are we now? Who are the gatherers? Perhaps the real gatherers are now going to step in. Could it possibly be that there could be a social de-distribution of power as the people who buy up the negative equity property will dilute from the elites that smothered our little country and then abandoned to become bankruptcy exiles abroad.

Is there hope? Mr Architect and Mr Plasterer, you both experienced the property industry, you worked, maybe you gambled, maybe you have debts but don't let the apathy and fatigue put you on the back foot. Change is in the making. The Troika are kicking the Government and the Central Bank into first gear, immediate action is the battle cry and the banks are being told get paid what is your due or else evict those people who over extended on mortgages irrespective on what excuses they put forward. The time is here for those people who have been put on the racks by lenders to draft their balance sheets, look at their debts and work out a game plan. Meantime, NAMA as the sole co-ordinator of the property boom to bust narrative, need to be forced into a more transparent organisation with a creativity to help people to become employed (and not under-employed) if needs be so that they can meet their mortgage commitments. We did it before thanks to the vision of Charles Haughey, Dermot Desmond, and others, we can surely come up with another vision now.

There are people out there taking these opportunities now. The timing is now. How many people out there are part of the what if's. I am. Allsop sold properties yesterday - location the Shelbourne of course and there are plenty of people with vision willing to take chances and buy at knockdown prices. My choice (in my dreams, but then I am a Dublin person and would not leave) was the bargain of the day. A refurbished former convent in Eyrecout, Co. Galway owned by Roger Whittaker and it was bought for a mere £285,000 by a person on the internet from the UK. This person could even be part of our diaspora but what a dream home with its own recording studio and a two bedroom apartment attached and 4 reception rooms. Sterling buys euros so the price is a lot cheaper!

Others gained too: A father a three sons bought 10 unit housing estate in Co Leitrim for £250,000.

An angler in Co. Galway bought a B&B (Potorra Lodge) in Moycullen for £267,000. Mr Canney was the manager but now he is the owner and who best to assess the potential of the area and how to tap the European angling market. He said he was prepared to pay double the price.

Herbert Street so close to the Fine Gael offices on Upper Mount Street and adjacent to Merrion Square which rumour has it will be the Temple Bar of the southside regeneration programme, was sold for £640,000. The young man does not want to be named. Hopefully, this man will take the opportunity to create this model of a Georgian home and create a proto-type that will encourage people to return to our cities. I think this is the house that has already been divided into five floors so it could be re-created into apartments or even a nursing home encouraging our older people to live in locations where services are available. The Government should intervene with some step-down from large homes to suitable apartment living accommodation for those nearing retirement.

The auctioneers claim that it was the most properties ever sold in one day in Ireland. 115 were sold netting £13.7 m

Mr Architect and Mr Plasterer - the solution is closer than you expect. See it and create. We need craftmanship restored and what best but in restoration of properties in need of same.

author by David Moran - Architectpublication date Sat Mar 02, 2013 20:42author email info at davidmoran dot ieReport this post to the editors

Comyn says we should stop the blame game. I absolutely agree.

Prior to studying architecture I worked as a stucco plasterer where I witnessed an attitude to architects on building sites that architects rarely see. We are all equal in importance, a building site is a team event where everyone has a place. The reality is that during the growth years I worked on projects ranging from the very small to the massive, hindsight is a wonderful thing, I noted in 2000 the two documents produced by our leaders, the one used expedited that growth I believe now and believed then would cause problems. It appears that it continues to so do. I count amongst my clients, a plasterer property owner, a block layer developer, carpenter developers and main contractors, bankers, barristers, tilers, etc. There were many. One banker wanted an extension to his modest sub-urban house. One tiler wanted an 8000 square foot mansion.

The reality is that no single type of person or profession is alone guilty of the crash or the boom. I refuse to blame the block layer worker who parked his new Mercedes in the site car park while I cycled. I refuse to blame my colleagues who bought modest houses at exorbitant prices for the mere purpose of living close to their parents.

Being owed large amounts of money is the bane of the employer class, the sole trader, the service providers, whether they be plasterers or architects. The truth is that those who took control of their own reigns during the boom and beyond are those same people who can orchestrate a solution. There are among them risk takers who suffer the consequences but who are also prepared to move forward, With them I believe lies the solution. The problem is that with some of those same people lies the continuance of the problem. We need not blame nor talk of the past but perhaps it would be wise to listen to those who did speak out during the boom, those who perhaps refused to partake of the Government Savings Scheme because they believed it unjust. I've not posted in these pages to either lecture or to be lectured to, but only to make some contribution to a possible solution. That solution I believe should have as its highest priority, people. This is enshrined in our constitution and should be upheld where accommodation is needed. The unfinished estates, empty buildings and growing homeless are at odds articles 41 (1) (2) "The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State."

This essentially and especially with the granting of huge sums of money through NAMA should guarantee jobs and homes through the remedying of the rampant dereliction. Jobs for plasterers, architects and all the other necessary service providers.

author by Construction Worker - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:45Report this post to the editors

I worked through the whole boom on various sites in Co Meath. I am a carpenter by trade. The above poster is a most remarkable man. He is an architect and also Stucco plasterer, what a rare combination? I agree the building site should be run based on team work but Mr Moran if you are under the illusion that there is no class distinction between the architect and the ordinary squaddies you are in cuckoo land. I also notice the comment about the tradesman arriving in the new mercedes while you only had a push bike, I have no doubt what you say is true but I never experienced same myself.

One morning in May 2005 on a site outside Navan the developer and architect arrived in a helicopter. Now these helicopters are long gone or held by the NAMA group as inventory. I agree with Elderfield (two weeks ago) when he used the term 'Mortgage Delinquents'. I took out one loan and I am struggling right now to make ends meet. My bank and myself have module in place where I pay as much as I can every few weeks. I do believe as a former construction worker that people who took out three and four loans were short-sighted and I hope they don't believe they will get debt forgiveness from the Irish taxpayers. In the middle of all this we have 17,000 + ghost estates (apparently 6 have been demolished) on the whole island. This should be a priority for local government and also there should be a Think Tank group set up for unemployed skilled workers to tackle the problem. This in itself would create jobs and would help to tackle the unemployed crises while building up crafts and skills in those presently out of work.

I will close by saying people people who borrowed have to face the responsibility of paying some portion of their debt back but at least they must try otherwise this country will sink into a cesspool of debt which ordinary people don't deserve and who are suffering with levies and pension cuts as a result.

Construction Worker

author by Peter Sparks. - Ex-building.publication date Mon Mar 04, 2013 16:30Report this post to the editors

It appears clear from the above posts that there's a blame game operating. So many empty houses and estates are clearly the fault of a market created by greed. This has through the years been supported by many, their professions are of little importance for these alone do not define people. Architects, together with developers and bankers are perhaps guilty. Like many site workers, architects took jobs on unsustainable development merely to make a living.
I would like to ask David Moran, how many ghost developments did you work on during the boom? I've asked this of a number of tradespeople and professionals who worked in the trade. The defence often given is that they were employed and only took orders. Theirs was not to question why.
But, autonomous professionals who were asked to work on these sites, by the developers could have said no.
I would like to ask David Moran if he ever said no?
It's easy to preach after the fact. Did you ever preach during the boom?
Now, don't misunderstand me! These questions are as valid to anyone who worked in the building industry in the last 15 years.
NAMA employs developers to solve a problem created with their encouragement. NAMA should employ intelligent people who can answer the above questions honestly, people who are prepared to do the right thing, even at personal cost.
These people, it they exist, will express their view regardless of the short term pain in order to avoid long term pain.

author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Mon Mar 04, 2013 17:16Report this post to the editors

A colleague of mine who worked in banking in New York, said to me around 2003/4=when I asked him his views on the Irish economy, that the Irish economy is f****d. He stated that the problem was bank lending policy and a liberal and light touch regulation regime that let the banks distribute excessive credit in a low interest rate regime. That if you want was a regime where the thermostat was disabled while the house burnt. Throw in bad planning, corruption, greed, excessive fees.............
Excessive credit was to blame. And where did the credit come from?

author by Developer - In Debtpublication date Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:40Report this post to the editors

I at the moment reside in England. I have taken their option of bankruptcy route. I make now qualms about making mistakes and I alone am accountable for them. I admire Mr Moran who writes on this site and who gives us the road to Damascus! I don't quite get the Mr Sparks though - it is a bit too much like Jekyll and Hyde. In the years 2000-2007 I employed 80 people and then with some part-time work I could gear up to 140 staff plus the sub-contractors. Yes, I made money. I lived well. I bought sports cars, shares in race-horses, and had shares in two hotels. Now I am a customer of NAMA. My debts are in excess of £7.5 million - I gave the keys back to my home in the midlands before Christmas and I live with my wife and child at the moment in Chelsea, London. The point I am making is.......I went to make money but never saw the warning signs and let's also mention now the bad government policy of the FF reign. I would love to come back to Ireland and work on behalf of the Government in relation to the ghost estates for just a decent wage to keep my family on the breadline but with the witch hunt that is going on in Ireland presently I had no choice but to exile myself to the UK. I have given up as much as I can to cover my debts and I can do no more.

Back to architects. My own fellow screwed me out of £450,000, he still lives in South Dublin and is presently on a skiing holiday in Austria. One of his sons who goes to a renowned private school here flies to London ever two weeks for lessons from one of London's best harpists. With no assertions to Mr Moran above who I feel is a very honourable man the architects who I met were arrogant, and the main scourge of the downfall of our economy with the banksters. On hindsight it is easy for people to find mistakes in others. At the time I was in my late twenties and yes I had a yearning for the highlife - the fast cars, the big bikes, now I am happy driving a mini-cooper around London. To be honest the architects are the one's that designed/ developed and who gave advice and surely they had a duty to be the watchdogs who should have warned us that the bubble was about to burst.

I have noted the questions that Sparks has asked Dave Moran and I am curious to hear the answers. There is no room for blame anymore. We must all pull together from the four corners of this country and get rid of the ghost estates for the betterment of society.

Developer (Nearly bankrupt but still have hope)

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Mar 05, 2013 15:08Report this post to the editors

Rational ecologist. You are correct, those dealers, bankers/hedge fund people in New York knew there was trouble down the road for countries like Ireland on the periphery of Europe.

The architect, the plasterer, the developer are wounded and are the casualties of the collapse but they forget too easy that they were excessively paid, rewarded, privileged during the boom time, and now life has dealt them the hand that is distasteful to them to summon them to challenge the downturn and create, produce, pay back their debts with integrity and rebuild this humbled country again. Too long have these people been facilitated to wallow in the misfortune of the negative equity, inability to pay back mortgages. It has stifled productivity and the Troika are the ones driving home this message.

In Spain and no doubt it is a Troika imperative are enforcing that people from overseas living in Spain must return details of the assets they hold in excess of approx £45,000. In Greece, the defence minister is going to jail for 8 years because he failed to disclose three accounts amounting to less than £100,000 while his wife awaits a decision whether she will be charged. NAMA Ireland is being challenged to be transparent to ensure a new direction which embraces the integrity we now deserve in Ireland. Rightly we should ask about the insider dealing (Sunday Independent officials investigated re sale of Lucan property) and seek an affirmation that this is no longer possible within the monolith that now holds the indebted properties in this country.

Rational ecologist. It was not just in America that the warnings signs were raised. Indymedia contributors were writing their own citizen journalism and wisdom guided them to write about a Tiger economy which could not possibly continue. Now it is over and it is over 5 years now and it is time to say to people we need vision, we need negotiation with the banks, people in debt with potential to work and repay need to be able to get debt equity swaps while others need to be able to either up-size or down size to pay off what they owe the bank. The write-downs are the very bottom of the barrel and we need to take this as a reality. The banks will have to deal with their indebted customers on a case by case basis but remember they will be briefed and they will have acted like private investigators to ensure that their clients who are in debt are being truthful. These are not rogue practices, they are a reality. Bank of Ireland partially state owned has turned in further losses of £2.1 billion so there obligation is to achieve the outcomes that keep Bank of Ireland in existence. This will mean further interest rate increases and ensuring that debt forgiveness is at the bottom of the agenda for recovery.

Water finds its own level but when is the question? Ireland has been sinking consistently and a lot of people never in fact saw any upside of the boom. The time is here to see if changes can be effected. There is a social crisis in existence. It is the property market that is best to tell the tell at the moment. Change must occur and expertise (at sensible cost, training, talent, skills) can be tapped. Habitat is an example. They find a house and they get the community to restore it (and this is a global initiative) and make it available to a family in need. The earlier postings talk about the crisis as of 1st February with the bedsits, so here is the opportunity to piggy back on the Habitat idea, apply for CPO's of vacant Georgian houses, or those that landlords refuse to upgrade and then start tackling our social housing lists that approach 100,000. The time is here to think Urban and promote true 'diversity in Unity'.

There is a crisis waiting to happen with a lot of these apartment blocks. Fire regulations, compliance and lack of enforcement ensures that the problems are not yet to the fore. Management committees gain too much power. Annual meetings may find some 10 out of 40 at the meeting yet making decisions to engage in costly upkeep of buildings resulting in high maintenance charges. Certain developments have charges in excess of £3,000, add now to this the property charges, the water and a period out of work and there is another kind of hardship. It is reported that one management company threatened owners who did not pay the fee to have their water and electricity cut off. The person who had not paid the fees had trouble with his windows and deducted the cost from the fee. We need people to buy the surplus quotient of apartments, so this problem needs to be addressed first so that this market can be kick-started.

Time to focus on those private equity groups that are hovering. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (one of the biggest private equity firms in the US) is scouring Spain for investment opportunities. They say property assets are being sold for "cents on the dollar" due to the economic crisis there. Well we need to say to these people we too have our fire sales and there is real value out there. Just look to the Allsop sale March 1st 2013.

Ireland is that small open economy. The saying goes: if the Dutch had conquered Ireland they would have fed the world...we know our assets, we have the people, we just need vision that creates momentum to lift ourselves out of the depression. Listening to Con Lucey, economist on TV3 V Browne show last night - maybe we should seriously re-think the current deals achieved and seek a write-down of the debt we owe as a country going forward now for nearly 35 years.

Comyn

author by David Moran - Architectpublication date Tue Mar 05, 2013 19:55author email info at davidmoran dot ieReport this post to the editors

Peter Sparks has asked some questions and I am happy to answer.
First, I have never worked on a project that has resulted in a ghost estate. I did however work on office developments prior to establishing my own practice. Some of these have remained largely empty since being completed, for as long as ten years. The greed I witnessed and the absence of care within the industry resulted in my resigning. This is not a reflection on any particular firm that I worked with but is a reflection of an industry which I sought to influence with more autonomy, however small that influence proved to be.
Setting up my own practice was a direct result of my saying no. I have said no a number of times. When asked to examine developments in flood plains, rural locations and in small towns where there was no supporting resources, by which I mean limited scope for employment, I advised my clients at the time, it appeared to me common that those then sought agreement elsewhere.
There is mention of architects making vast sums of money. Possibly as a result of my saying no, my income has never been particularly high.
The main stay of my own business was in the small private residential market, home improvements, energy conservation and in small developments. I did work on apartments as I consider them to be largely sustainable, provided they are located close to resources. To my knowledge and after examination, none of those that I worked on are empty.
'It's easy to preach after the fact.' True. The benefit of hindsight is great. Any perceived benefit of foresight is often ignored. It is not my intention to preach nor has it ever been, though I have at times considered it correct to voice my opinion in an effort to correct some ills. I did write to newspapers, I did purchase the two documents, the housing crisis and the accommodation crisis documents and I did express my concerns by writing to our government and discussing my concerns with politicians.

It is necessary now to say no. While evaluating possible developments I have commented on them not being viable, whereby my clients often moved on to other consultants. Projects not viable only become unsustainable if they are developed. This wasteful process now needs to be reversed.

It is only of late that a friend introduced me to indymedia. I would have partook earlier with this medium had I been then informed.

There are many people who have a lot to offer and can be instrumental in correcting this great ill that has befallen us. These are not defined by profession or trade but perhaps by honour and an absence of self interest. Rampant self interest or greed has caused this crisis.

We can work together or we can fall apart.

author by Curious. - Joiner and Craftsman.publication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 13:03Report this post to the editors

Reading the above posts for some weeks now apart from a few nobody seems to have the answers on
how to tackle the eye sores of abandoned ghost estates across this country, With thousands of construction workers on the Dole surely there lies a solution, Get these workers out on the estates and pay them a fair wage and simply start knocking down the empty derelict houses urgently,
Just a thought////
Curious.

author by Curious. - Joiner and Craftsman.publication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 13:03Report this post to the editors

Reading the above posts for some weeks now apart from a few nobody seems to have the answers on
how to tackle the eye sores of abandoned ghost estates across this country, With thousands of construction workers on the Dole surely there lies a solution, Get these workers out on the estates and pay them a fair wage and simply start knocking down the empty derelict houses urgently,
Just a thought////
Curious.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionspublication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 15:41Report this post to the editors

In an ideal world from the point of view of the Exchequer and the Revenue each person would have an identity number (something similar to the concept of NINO in the UK) and all would be revealed about the transactions of each individual in the Island of Ireland. Is this a dream? is it even possible? but what we now know is that this Government are most definitely going to attempt to make this significant change and place order in the society that was wrecked by greed especially in the property sector during the heady Celtic Tiger days. This is going to be a real test for people, their lawyers, their accountants, those who are tax exiles, those who own companies who own houses, those who are in debt, those who in probate, those in gangland, those in criminal undertakings...Watch this space and now because Monday is the day that the Revenue send out the letters and emails to all homeowners and the duty rests with the person to comply within a narrow time frame. This is going to be interesting, it will flush out a lot of rot that the foregoing postings have drawn attention to. Will it work? The Revenue, the CAB, I believe have a good track record so far.

Browsing through the Irish Independent today, and liking Charlie Weston's style of reporting, it made me think about Urban abandonments and derelictions. The article opens with the fact that 90%+ is the likelihood that home owners will pay this much decried by the Nation property tax. Could this be so and if so how? Apparently the Irish Tax Institute say that anyone who owns a house must file a property tax form with two pages of details to the Revenue Commissioners. If you fail to do so, the fine is up to £3,000. The time pressure is on for those who believe they are not eligible to pay tax, they have just 30 days to inform the Revenue that they are not liable.

The Tax Institute also appear to think that granny flats, home offices, and vacant homes, may be liable for tax. There might even be an issue if there is a shed attached to the property. However, farm and commercial buildings will be excluded. (We can conclude they will be detailed elsewhere). You may ask about those in mortgage arrears: Already they have lost out to arrears and loss of mortgage interest relief. This time, they are encouraged to register with a token amount of tax relief given as the gesture to enlist them to a property register linked to owners. It is important to have no dissenters from this massive enterprise of who owns property and who must contribute.

The form: It is two pages. It must be filled in by each property owner (no matter what debt applies), once the house is registered in your name, you must comply. They outline guidelines as to how to arrive at the value. They give it an identity number. Basically, you must declare: the value of your property/home, the tax due (based on your absolute integrity and their value indications) and they provide you with 6 methods of payments. If you opt for the manual route, the date is May 7th 2013 or online you get an extra amount of time and it is 28th May 2013.

£3,000 is the fine. But this shift towards property tax is going to be one of the most definitive procedures yet undertaken. There will be a database created so extensive that all properties will be registered to the people (companies) who own them. The irony is the onus is on the people to provide the information and the Revenue is the driver and in reality the enforcer. The Revenue extensive power in legislation as we already know.

Social housing begs a question. Each decade in the 20th century had local authority housing in high demand and much of Dublin's and other cities suburbs comprise social housing. Some of these houses have been sold to the tenants and it is fair to say, some were sold in the Tiger days at high values eg £600,000, now worth £300,000. These people will now have to pay property tax along with all the other taxes. Is this equitable?

Property tax places the onus on the person. The challenge, I believe, will be effective. Fear of a £3,000 fine and an inquisitive Revenue into your personal affairs is the incentive to be quiet and pay up.

Comyn

author by builderpublication date Fri Mar 08, 2013 00:20Report this post to the editors

firstly, knocking nearly completed housing when there are thousands of people waiting years on a housing list, and in receipt of rent supplement, is ridiculous.

The Amish get together as a community and build houses for each individual. If the renting unemployed were organised in groups to collectively finish houses, in return for a promise that they will be housed in one after a certain number are finished, with skilled people training unskilled ones on the job, perhaps 3 problems could be addressed with one initiative. The skills gap, the housing list, the rent allowance issue.

The state never had a better opportunity to house the disadvantaged at a minimal cost, given that they already own many of the said ghost estates through NAMA. If they really cared that is. However it's clear they'd rather let them rot or knock them than house the poor.

The second issue, of a huge property database being built up so ordinary householders can be screwed even better to pay bankster debts that aren't theirs. You think this is a GOOD idea???

Surely a site value tax would be better because that net would include the REAL wealth locked up in property ( other than the family home ) in Ireland as opposed to just the family homes. This register will let the gombeens off yet again while households are squeezed even more. And you are in favour of this Comyn?

What, are you a FG TD or a corporate lobbyist or something? This type of very specific and limited property tax is a total con. The real wealthy get off again with all their business sites, while struggling householders are left holding the bag for them yet again.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Mar 08, 2013 15:42Report this post to the editors

Builder

Comyn is neither FG nor FF just a person who seeks to get the ordinary people to stand up and express their opinions about what is happening in Ireland and now. The database is the target of the coalition Government via the Revenue when all submissions for property tax by property owners to be detailed by May 7th or 28th deadline. I agree it seems hard to believe that we talk of demolition of ghost estates when there are so many in need of a roof over the head and that of their families. There has to be a way and while I am writing let us not forget the "warehousing of our elderly"; the "warehousing" of our homeless in B&B hostels (stay out during the day in the cold), the lack of safe envioronments/families for children in need.

I enjoyed your real common sense contribution. I agree with the method of site value tax (as talked about in media by Constantin Gurdigiev and no doub many others).

Citizen journalism is about sharing views and getting reaction....COMYN

author by David Moran - Architectpublication date Fri Mar 08, 2013 17:03author email info at davidmoran dot ieReport this post to the editors

Today I spoke with a skilled tradesman whose friend had during the boom time resigned from his job due to the massive costs of commuting. This is clearly due to the absence of sustainability in the locations of many of the housing estates built during and even before the boom. While there may well be labour available by appointing those on the dole, the sustainability of these ghost estates can only be guaranteed with provision for job creation, public transport and other facilities in their vicinity.

To house the poor in housing estates that are not sustainable will create ghettos. Their isolation from areas with job opportunities will likely create a new problem. To simply demolish these estates while this is apparently needed is also likely to create other problems. In demolishing a part built housing estate the land is not likely to be returned to any useful value. These might then become only derelict brown field sites. The challenge is to find a solution and a sustainable and viable use for this land that has been spoilt. An example of the sustainable use of land can be found in Digges Lane Football ground off Aungier Street in Dublin, where a small vacant site has been changed to provide local public facilities. Similar facilities are absent from many communities throughout Ireland.

It is an admirable recommendation to appoint those in receipt of social welfare payments to carry out some of the required work. This could be done after careful examination on a site by site basis of what is most sustainable. To afford this dignity in a correct manner would be to require many of those so remunerated to use their skills for perhaps two days a week for which their payments would become salary, thereby freeing them to earn elsewhere for the remainder of the week. Currently those in receipt of the dole are required to be available for work six days a week. Being merely available is forcing many into making little contribution. Such a change might create a more productive society.

The community spirit of the Amish as mentioned does in our case require the cooperation of our authorities, NAMA and our government. The active lobbying of our leaders might be warranted.

author by Curious Hawk - Urban Abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sat Mar 09, 2013 15:32Report this post to the editors

First, I find this debate is getting very interesting indeed. The Builder makes the assumptions that people fall into either the Fine Gael/Labour or Fianna Fail camp. If you read Comyn's postings, this is far from obvious or the truth.

The ugly scenes of houses boarded up across Ireland is a total disgrace. Yes, our homeless need homes and they do not need to be "warehoused" in bed and breakfasts and hostels which leave them walking the city from 9 am to 5 pm looking for money by begging for their keep. Builder - are you suggesting that people should be moved to the like of Leitrim or the wilds of West Kerry if they are on the council social housing list or for that matter if they are the next contingent for eviction based on the arrears (based in many cases on negative equity misfortune) of our mainly State owned banks? People need roofs over their heads. Where there is work is essential, and on this I would agree with D Moran especially if we want to avoid creating ghettos. People need to be in sustainable locations, most likely Urban. It is suggested that the Revenue collecting the property tax plan to use sophisticated aerial maps that can assess and measure how close houses are to amenities. This is a deprivation index which can determine how rich/poor an area is. So this indicates there is an input of consideration when assessing the values of properties.

Connemara says that Dublin is dirty. I come from the west of Ireland. I suggest you check the camera lens and clean off the seagull shit because eyesores of large buildings are all over Clifden and beyond. I as my grandfather before me was born there and we know there are many ugly (even quite vulgar) mansions and holiday homes empty to remind us of the status of that wild Celtic Tiger.

We need plans, we need people back at work, we need craftmanship and skills opportunities to learn how to revive our existing stock of sub-standard housing. Bull-doze down the ugly pill box coloured properties in non sustainable locations. It is time to regain our natural beauty of our landscape again and of course we need to use the opportunity to ensure that those in need of social housing are provided for. We know what ghettos are and we need to ensure we don't create new ghettos. Bedsits and the new legislation is the just the beginning. Enforcement is the first step to watch out for.

Curious Hawk

author by builderpublication date Sat Mar 09, 2013 20:26Report this post to the editors

homeless people need a house. It matters little where your house is once you are inside it, which is where unemployed people spend a lot of their time because they cannot afford to go out much.

Not all that much infrastructure is required. internet access, a local shop, a GP, somewhere to meet other people for a chat, a bus route and maybe a community centre to do communal things or hold talks and meetings is really all that is needed. That's not a whole lot.

Even Leitrim is attractive if it means you own your own home and have more control over your life, instead of being at the mercy of some greedy landlord telling you how you should live your life in his property.

I'd move there in a heartbeat if it meant not having to rent anymore.

Online skills training and internet jobs can be created in Leitrim too.

let's not stupidly knock all these houses that cost so much to build, just to keep the price of property artificially high for rich property owners and banksters (who will be taking ownership of a LOT more property after the new government legislation to facilitate this )

author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Sat Mar 09, 2013 20:54Report this post to the editors

If those who need homes wait, these houses will be knocked down, rather than given away. I think Irish people need to have the courage shown by those in Zimbabwe, who simply took the land from the White landowners. Hell is all that the meek will ever get.

author by Robbie McGubbiepublication date Sat Mar 09, 2013 22:17Report this post to the editors

Look how it work out for me, job for life, massive pay (for me) 100% in the polls. Yes I have done so well since I stole the land and murdered the owners.

author by barbarosapublication date Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:16Report this post to the editors

''' I think Irish people need to have the courage shown by those in Zimbabwe, who simply took the land from the White landowners. Hell is all that the meek will ever get. ''

Courage,more like barbarism,they took land from white farmers,butchered them it was an out and out genocide and this is your suggestion?
Not a very good one at that.They werent that smart the africans who did this as they later starved.
But i do get your point irish people need to do something to get these houses back and give them to people in need ,there are plenty of homeless all over ireland.

author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Mon Mar 11, 2013 18:16Report this post to the editors

Homelessness is not just a product of a lack of housing stock; it is far more complex than that. There is mental health, addiction and many more factors at play. There is of course a total lack of commitment by the state to deal with the housing issue as this would affect the "market".
Homelessness is a complex area and needs a very smart solution. Of course, however, physical homes are part of the solution. Take a look at who becomes homeless and you begin to see that people formerly in the "care of the state" figure prominently. Our fostering/adoption system is a disaster. Many of these people have been failed Magdalene style.
Our current housing glut(in some areas) needs a creative response-that pretty much rules out anything coming from the Dáil.
Ah, but sure Christine Lagarde thinks we're great, with her lovely green scarf and the lovely brooch(a troika of celtic spirals)!!
Colonialism is back, offshore rules and we are disposable.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Mon Mar 11, 2013 20:44Report this post to the editors

Taking a turn off Josiah Tongogara Street onto Fifth Street to get to the National Botanic Gardens in Harare you pass a registration plate sized sign that states it being forbidden to drive this route after six in the evening. It passes by the State House and the guards have been given instructions to shoot on sight those breaking this rule. This was twenty years ago and by all accounts Zimbabwe has suffered ever increasing degradation since. There were reports at the time that a dentist had been shot dead driving this route in the early evening, he having not minded the time.

“It may be necessary to use methods other than constitutional ones.” Robert Mugabe.

To take is to have a disregard for rules and the true principals of justice. There are avenues that may be taken while adhering to the Constitution and the laws adopted to achieve reasonable aims. It is possible to lobby local authorities in seeking compulsory purchase orders for derelict properties in order to provide needed community buildings. NAMA has the power, enshrined in law to compulsorily purchase properties. NAMA also has the finance to so do, as recently highlighted with their press release noting there to be two billion Euros available. In order to adhere to our own constitution, it should be to protect the people and to afford the dignity that is the right of all citizens of this land. Dignity can only be maintained where homes are provided such that other opportunities are catered to also, jobs, health care, community facilities, in short and as noted, resources.

The rights of the people include the rights of all citizens regardless of origins and using the violent taking of lands in Zimbabwe as an example for Ireland ignores a terrible reality.

Based on reports, that dentist was a trustworthy and educated man.

“The only white man you can trust is a dead white man.” Robert Mugabe.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments & derelictionpublication date Wed Mar 13, 2013 16:12Report this post to the editors

Yes, I agree with the posters...the answer with hindsight was not the seizing with violence the white farmers land.

Back to Ireland, we seriously need to take account of what austerity can do to people, to property, to our landscape, our reserves, our seas.

Grafton Street is a shambles, only a few of the relics of old decency are managing to remain in business, paying no doubt ludicrous upward only mobile rents, while so many more have gone to the Wall. Bewleys is in the courts and its profits are sliced by an upward only rent scenario that dictates they pay £1.5 million rent a year. What is worse about this is that the law at Attorney General level endorses it. A gentleman has just past me by, a tall man, a Fine Gael Politician, the navy below the knee expensive Crombie coat, the suit - the silk, the scarf and the those expensive highly polished shoes - he looked so out of place on the Grafton Street of the now, he was far better suited to Bond Street, the City or for that matter Wall Street. What has happened and why? It is the year of the Gathering and we are asking our diaspora to return and if they do we have wiped out so much of their nostalgia that is part of their homecoming.

The property tax is the latest challenge. This afternoon, Mr Noonan speaks to a press gathering about what next to expect. I wonder if we as citizens of Ireland are humbled sufficiently to our creditor dictators the Troika. At last there are rumblings from our Taoiseach while visiting Prime Minister Cameron that Ireland may have been treated by the Troika as the 'runt' of the litter. We know what happens to the 'runt'. The runt is the vulnerable one and who is the least likely to survive. Unless somebody decides to assist him, he dies. Well, we need to start participating in our Civic matters in Ireland and now.

Listening to Prime Time last night, I am chilled to the marrow. A woman whose husband lost his job was unable to pay the arrears due on their home. The arrears amounted to £38,000. The woman did not mention the name of the lender (I ask why and can only assume that legal reasons pertain). The mortgage was for £169,000. The couple did all they could to retain their home, they complied with the restructuring put forward but for some reason the lenders decided that they would exercise their POWER in 2010. They evicted the family. They sold the house less than £25,000. Please tell me this is not the last century in Ireland and the sale of the encumbered estates and that we in Ireland have banks that have common decency. This family are now paying rent for another property - they could even be paying rent allowance to live in social housing. The debt of £150,000 still is to be paid by them. Imagine! Less than £25,000. We must avoid similar cases happening now especially as the Mandarins are rolling out the property tax, and the banks are being told they must meet targets and basically evict people who are non compliant. We need to stop and think and we need to watchful for people who are vulnerable and stressed and often unable to think straight in harrowing times of unemployment and being financially overstretched. Less than £25,000 begs the question who bought the house at such a steal and why did the lender sell it at such a substantial discount? The interesting point is that the neighbours banded together and tried to buy the house with the objective to rent it back to the family but this did not work - and we should ask why not? This is an option for people going forward and should be noted. Then it was said that the Council tried to buy the property but could not. They did not have the funds. Where is the common sense in policy? Let this be a lesson to those Mandarins in their Citadels (terminology used by Shane Ross) and let us avoid the pain and hardship and ensure policy is foresighted enough to ensure only in the most extreme of circumstances that people are evicted from their homes.

£150,000 is the amount that is outstanding to the family who are now minus their home and the lender sold their home for £25,000. This is basic maths that says this is real moral hazard but the lenders are the ones without morals here. All options must be investigated and equity is core and so is pure common sense.

author by O'Malley - Urban abandonments & derelictionpublication date Thu Mar 14, 2013 15:28Report this post to the editors

Surely the foregoing posting could not have happened in 2010 Ireland.

If so, let us learn. There must be enough mathematicians in this country who can draft an equation that ensures that people are left in their homes, where possible.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Sun Mar 17, 2013 17:03Report this post to the editors

'Welcome.' We'll call him Patrick says to a man dressed in green check trousers and a wide innocent smile.
'I'm Patrick (I forget his real name, or choose to for anonymity purposes), where are you from?'
'I'm Francis, I'm from America, I'm an Irish American and this is my first time Home.' Francis responds.

The conversation commands little of my interest as I'm quietly reading the newspaper, happy times indeed.

Then the conversation takes a turn, it becomes more animated and Francis begins expressing his expert opinion.

'Well, I'm an economist. I've read the newspapers and listened to the news here in Ireland over the past weeks and can tell that there's no change in attitude in the past six years. The country then was managed by developers, today the only difference is that the same principals are being managed by NAMA.' Patrick interrupts.
'Oh! NAMA is made up of the same developers and they've not learned from history. Nothing has changed, just a change of name, the same banks, the same developers, the same attitudes. Look recently!' Patrick, a wiry man with an over-smoked complexion pauses to gulp from his pint glass.
'Recently, NAMA have said there is needed more office space and they have billions to spend on it, in Dublin...., In empty Dublin.'
Francis leans forward, stretching his neck as if imitating a tortoise, with the same wide eyed incredulity, giggles slightly, gulps from his pint and adds.
'Huh! Wow! That's what they did in the Boom! They built in the hope of the space being filled, houses, offices, hotels. Hah! Now they're calling the troops, those long gone, the diaspora in the hope that the empty space will be filled. I'd love to stay, but I've got to go.' Francis stretches his head back to gulp the last half pint, belches and leaves to walk amongst the throngs of green hated people. He did smile a farewell to Patrick and paid for more pints before vanishing into the mist of hope.

I don't want to practice my option to leave. Happy St. Patricks Day.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Mar 19, 2013 15:41Report this post to the editors


by Comyn - Urban abandonments and dereliction Tue 19 Mar 2013 03:37:09 PM CET

Gale

Your overheard conversation sums it all up. What has changed in Government? Assume the mantle but don't change the ethos which in our case was cronyism bordering on outright corruption. Governance now dictates - earmark any human being who is already identifiable in the system, via the property tax, the latest data collection exercise done by placing the onus via self-assessment and through fear as the driver, Ireland will have citizens in polarities, those who are in the tax net and those who are completely under the radar. It is the property market that is now the instigator of creating the two tiers!

The foregoing postings show us the methods that will be used. Georgian houses in Waterford and Limerick will be brought into the loop if people decide to accept the tax breaks and conditions. The Georgian/Victorian Pre-63 properties are now legislated for and people in these houses like those 90 days in arrears are heading for the social housing list. Add to this the buy to lets, some 23,000 and another data collection source for the revenue who are unlikely to get much tolerance from the lenders, as Michael Noonan clearly states - this is a commercial transaction and if you are not gaining a return, then forfeiture of your property is near immediate, and the deposit you paid is the price you pay for your foolish investment, and you may even have debt going forward as it is highly improbable that you will receive debt forgiveness for a mortage. This Government does not have to use the tactics of Bertie Aherne's FF led government and those TAX AMNESTIES. This Government by interlinking with the Revenue Commissioners are far more intrusive and this is about power. The issue is that equity applies and yet that there is now an even greater escapism for a small coterie of tax exiles and what once used to be referred to as 'dead man', and others who escape the claws of the Revenue and the powers that they have been given recently through legislation.

Cyprus - late on a Saturday night of a long weekend. A dawn raid of a devious nature was effected by the Troika on an island country with less than a million in population. Cyrpus comprises Turkey (1970's) invaded to the North, the English former colonialists in the centre and Greek Cyprus to the South. The EU welcomed them in 2003 and now they are to have their knuckles rapped and why? The dawn raid sees funds in this little haven because Russia chooses to invest there. Could this cause a serious geographic-political crisis? Funds and banking became the designation for Russians who wanted their option to wild west banking. Yes, another the kind of wild west banking that Ireland was exposed to but what they have in common is that it was driven but hidden forces who dictate policies. It is about who is the Creditor (George Soros essay September 2012) nation of the EU and who dictates what the aberrant debtors do, while they flush out the cash, wealth to the powerful elites. This is the economic war of 21c Europe which we are witnessing and when you listen to the German politician state that this is their election year and it is not possible for the German's to take up the tab of those who were so reckless, and that the time has come to levy a tax on people who save money in banks. Cyprus states that the rest of us we and in particular 'Exemplary' Ireland need to beware. The banks are closed until Thursday, and Putin PM Russia, is much on the back-foot while the Troika negotiate the deal. The deal is punitive. If you have under £100,000, you pay 6.5% docked from your account by Thursday morning and if you are have more than £100,000 9.9% is deducted with immediate effect.

Could this happen to Ireland? The answer is why not? Ireland succumbed to sub-prime lending that emanted from the US, but also from a lack of regulation by our bankers (basically on the instruction of the ECB). The developers built and people bought who in retrospect should not have received loans. Has this happened in Cyprus? No, it appears that the financial sector in this country became rich because Russians liked to bank their funds in their financial sector and now the Troika hawks see a great advantage to collect nearly £6 billion and they have swooped as they did in Ireland at the time of the bailout. Three islands: Ireland, Iceland (seeking to join the EU) and now Cyprus). We have been plucked. Jonathan Swift said 'Give vision to the visionless'. We need to heed this now. There are polarities developing in Europe that their obvious.

What has this to do with urban abandonments and dereliction. Everything. An economy thrives when there is economic growth and an indicator of a return to growth is when you looking at where housing formation stands. Listening to Bloomberg about the US, they are now talking about bottoming out of the market and that retailers that supply the building industry are beginning to show trade and this indicates a shift. Ireland is vulnerable to the Troika's bidding.

Data collection is the core function of this property tax. From granny flat, to gate house, each will have a value and it is up to each owner to make the correct valuation. To query the valuation, you must first pay. When property is defined and people are defined as owners through self declaration or being just 'found out', we will still be paying back our debts, and the interest which is compound interest will be rising. Then like the home-owner in negative equity begging the banks for a restructuring deal and debt forgiveness, we will be awaiting those Hawks on a long weekend targeting those people who have saved money for their old age, for their children to go to college, people with disabilities or people who have received financial settlements, or by choice which is their right. We will not have the experience of deflationary Japan waiting for 20 years to change policy. Our deposits, like our pension funds will be raided and the fact is we are so on our knees now we just accept!

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Mar 19, 2013 20:13Report this post to the editors

“Look before you leap for as you sow, ye are like to reap.” Samuel Butler.

There are today perhaps too many trying desperately to reap a soiled harvest, through the taking of homes, of savings, of the livelihoods of those left weak by an ill perpetrated by the greedy. That the greedy having been in some cases the very weak remaining is neither consolation nor hope. The sowing of rotten seeds has resulted in the spread of weeds, choking and destroying made worse by taking the little remaining fertility from the soil and hoping the citizens of this dying land can live on what remains.

It is the weeds that should be removed. Make way for growth by planting reality and compassion by showing those in need that they need not want for their lives will be protected. Is it possible that in order for us to remain in homes we must stop excusing the actions of those blaming? As has been posted, many of those blaming it appears are not blameless, but worse, their actions now appear to be an echo of the past where greed ruled. NAMA claims that the IDA say that the investment heralded providing completed office development will be needed. With above fifty thousand square metres of empty office space, it is not needed now!

The sowing of positive seeds is needed now and not blind hope, the reality of emigration and lost homes can be replaced with growth. Not the rampant growth hoped for by developer inspired NAMA but a growth of humanity for Ireland is full of people who have many times demonstrated compassion and still do by providing help to those needy in far off lands. This compassion should be practised too at home.

“Don't judge each day by the harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stephenson.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed Mar 20, 2013 15:57Report this post to the editors

The Pink paper summed it up yesterday:

'This is Europe, not Zimbabwe
from Ms Monima O'Connor
Sir, this unprecedented grab on savers
is both alarming and ominous.
Such action would be expected
from Zimbabwe, not the European Union'

The UK recession late 1980's, early 1990's left many involved in the construction sector without jobs and seeking work in what were once the colonies. Zimbabwe at this time had the attention of the World Bank, the IMF and development was underway. Sisks, the Irish contractors were firmly entrenched in Zimbabwe most probably because many Irish missionaries travelled to such African countries and had successfully networked into hospitals and education. Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) is where one witnessed first hand money diminishing to near nothing overnight as inflation raged. In one month in local currency, the Irish punt salary equivalent was reduced by 50% and this continued and the country floundered - so that the once bread basket of Southern Africa was virtually economically, morally, socially destroyed. Greed, cronyism, tribalism, corruption and now with the benefit of hindsight probably a market in blood diamonds destroyed the governance of a potential leading light in the African continent.

Doom and gloom, and 6 years of it in Ireland and now our Creditor masters threaten their 'exemplary' students. They take the Island of Cyrpus to show us what creditor power is about. Cyprus was invaded by the Turks in the 1970's with many people losing their homes, their properties to the Turks. This included both Greeks and English. The immediate deduction of a deposit tax is irking a wound barely healed. Ireland should feel threatened. Gradually, we are re-building a level of confidence and people (because they are mainly afraid to spend) are building up savings in their bank accounts (approx £155 billion presently on deposit). Is it any wonder the alarm that last Saturday's move in Cyprus has on our people, our investors, our treasury accounts. This is a swoop factor that threatens the very emblem of trust that underwrites savings with banks in our Nation state.

The Cypriots, less than 1 million in population have risen up and said No. Do we back them? We are an island nation with Britain a one time occupier like them. Maybe it is time to scrutinise the EU bureacracy that appears to be shy of audit reviews.

Take the example: Aylesbury Road. House price £12 million. Same house now £3 million and owned by NAMA. £9 million - can it be repaid, where is it, it is not in a deposit account, does it even have a tangible value. The same applies to a country. Surely, there must be a write-down negotiated. Is this not common sense? Some may argue that you can follow the money to a tax haven but how practical is the reality especially 6 years into this European economic war.

Write-downs must be negotiated now.

Comyn

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Wed Mar 20, 2013 20:36Report this post to the editors



J. Grant, 43 Kevin Street Upper, Dublin 8. Just around the corner from Bride Street was a small traditional local shop. It had a centre door with opening display windows either side, most of the interior appeared to be counter top. There was a door leading to the rear at the back right corner of the shop concealing the treasures that might have been hidden there. Everything was displayed, jars of sweets, the colours of small toys and groceries in the wooden interior of a lost world. Old Dublin! In the 1970s, it became derelict, remaining hidden behind hoarding for a number of years. This was not the result of being abandoned. It was the direct result of it being compulsorily purchased by Dublin Corporation, apparently for road widening. 'Live and love' emblazoned on the site, this photograph was taken today.

This is not the story of urban abandonment but is the story of derelict locations. After many years of tending the shop, Lena Grant spent her remaining years living in the area, she was a vibrant and very active woman, always talkative. She had been removed from her shop due to a management policy of road widening that has scarred Dublin. That the site has remained derelict for over thirty years is a crime.

It is however possible that the current generation of Dublin city planners have imagination demonstrated by the provision of a playing pitch in Digges Lane off Aungier Street only a moments walk from the derelict location of J. Grants shop.

This is a facility worthy of praise and a use for derelict sites that provides amenities for residents. Dublin is a living city.

It appears that dereliction is the result of bad planning, greed and a focus where human beings are of little importance. To make space for cars abandonment has been forced. The greed of making space for development has also forced abandonment. The scale and character of this beautiful city has been damaged
Some of the history has been recorded, some of that lost is remembered and there are as above some attempts to maintain this place as a place to 'live and love'.

Related Link: http://books.google.ie/books?id=y7ivOGXkOYEC&pg=PA40&lp...false
author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Mar 21, 2013 15:58Report this post to the editors

2013 is the year of 'The Gathering' and what a link to show transition from the local shops and their specialties to the shopping centres placed throughout Ireland. If we look to the trends in the US, these 'malls' as they are called in the US are becoming unfashionable as people seek more sustaineable home and work environments. It makes you realise the damage that has been done to O'Connell Street, and Grafton Street and the disappointment to our tourists in particular our diaspora who are encouraged to visit. What we have is the remnants of once splendidly designed architectural buildings bedecked now by gaudy shop-fronts. All we can say to our diaspora, is look upwards if you visit historic areas and in particular O'Connell Street, Grafton Street and nearby streets. We only need to watch the tourists who visit and the photos they take. So many are captivated by Baggot Street Hospital (Royal City of Dublin hospital), yet its potential is stymied and this is the Dublin we are creating for our tourists. We need to realise that we must invest in neighbourhoods, in communities to save these properties from the ravages of time. If it takes identifying premises be they old shops, houses or pubs and notifying the Dublin City Council to place them in line for compulsory purchase orders, we ought to do so. Too many speculators own properties (Raglan Road, Mount Street, Merrion Square, Elgin Road) for decades waiting for capital appreciation and it is time for people to say enough. Greed is their driver and they missed the gravy train!

I agree there are too many properties stripped of their history and this link is a test to our commitment as a people to salvage what is left and with good grace. Therein rests our culture which has been snatched for two decades by a Celtic Tiger who leaves its contributions, some of which we can be very proud. Blending is the way forward. The infra-structure of our country has most definitely been enhanced over the last few decades but it now needs commitment to ensure progress and why not now when we have the opportunity to employ people to train others and put them to work and gaining skills and crafts in an industry that needs to be urgently revived before it is destroyed.

Todays Independent two pubs slash their prices. It is a culture lost. The new courts created the new place to be in town and the Legal Eagle is stranded at a knockdown price down from £525,000 to £400,000. What does this say about Ireland and culture?

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Thu Mar 21, 2013 18:30Report this post to the editors

These should have been included with my last post. The Last Post, a lonely echoing B flat bugle tune heralding an end.

Recreation facility in Digges Lane off Aungier Street.  Photographed 20th March 2013.
Recreation facility in Digges Lane off Aungier Street. Photographed 20th March 2013.

Live and Love,  Photographed 20th March 2013.
Live and Love, Photographed 20th March 2013.

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sat Mar 23, 2013 15:59Report this post to the editors

'Live and Love' and Digges Lane photos are uplifting.

These days however it is hard to be uplifted or to have vision as the Government penetrate all levels of consciousness about this Local Property Tax and the implications of having the Revenue as its organiser and implementation officer. Fear abounds. Cartography was a traditional but imperfect method of collecting data about property but today with the benefit of Google and the appointment of a Revenue whose performance during the Celtic Tiger was quite exceptional in searching out those who avoided/evaded tax, and which is now further bated to catch those tax dodgers with the endorsement of this coalition Government which is challenged to be exemplary. The troika are the masters and we must pave the way for all who are errant debtor countries.

There are harsh realities ahead of 1.8 million house owners (who knows the real figure?). Last year it was said that some 45,000 households would be exempt from property tax because they were deemed to be ghost estates but desperation for funding by Government now says, one year later, that estates have been brought up to acceptance standards and it is now only 5,000 households who will not be subject to the property tax. Prime Time aired the views and showed examples of estates and isolation and dereliction associated with them.

Eviction conjures up the landlords, the Famine, and Ireland being oppressed but the truth is decade after decade and week after week people unknown to us are evicted. People are evicted by landlords from their flats in Georgian houses, people are evicted for bad behavior from local authority housing, people have been evicted in the past for failing to pay their mortgages but the difference this time is that the banks did not do the correct due diligence and lent money to people without taking account of what markets are really about, about what recessions do, the potential of unemployment and now we have genuine distressed people with mortgages that they can never repay. Legislation was in place to keep banks from evicting people resulting in less evictions in Ireland than say Spain or the UK but this now is at an end. In the months ahead the reality is banks must meet targets and what we will witness is people losing their homes. What we need to know is what provisions will be made for these people? They will be added to the social housing list ie 100,000+ and the reality is there is no provision to provide the houses, albeit many exist but are unoccupied. Some may be able to trade down but this is a minimal quotient.

What we need now to know who can be classified as 'strategic defaulters'?

The time is night and we will be sorting the wood from the chaff. It is worth taking a look at the diversity of views and giving due consideration to why the 'Guidelines' have been stated in relation to people who wish to seek personal insolvency in Ireland as distinct from the UK.

Colm McCarthy Economist
'Just as the State has shown indulgence towards the banks, they have in turn been showing great forbearance to defaulting customers. More worryingly, it appears that some people who have gone into arrears have been choosing to do so, in the sense that they do n ot lack the financial capacity to make repayments on schedule. Some arrears can be termed 'distressed arrears' (or 'delinquent mortgages')...'

What it comes down to is a honesty which is a word that needs revival. The Revenue is about fear and capacity to enforce. Thread carefully before deciding not to pay the property tax.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed Mar 27, 2013 15:56Report this post to the editors

David McWilliams writes in today's Irish Independent about the upbeat reporting about housing values at present. He draws our attention to that divide of country versus city, the urban versus the sub-urban which is basically becoming a more unsustainable option for people. He references the Kensington/Knightsbridge scenario where funds are drawn as catastrophe's like Cyprus arise and the wealth seek options for their 'cash'. However, this time, I think too many have been burned in Ireland, in too many ways, for investors to seek us out as a location to move to. The problems are our own as the Troika too well know.

The Troika are driving the Central Bank - Mr Patrick Honahan narrates their instructions and the news in town is that those errant bankers are now to kick ass and make people comply with their mortgages either by restructuring or taking advantage of the newly available legislation - the PIP, in other words - seek the assistance of the Personal Insolvency Practitioners. The guidelines are clear. The one of contention being the sexist attitude that if a woman's salary does not cover the cost of childcare, then she must return to the home and do what De Valera believed in ---- homework/be a mother. Leo Varadkar is in the news today and women are angry with his chauvinism but there have to be guidelines and this is only a suggestion. However, Mr Varadkar should look to former Taoiseach Garreth Fitzgerald's view of women and work in the home - if I recall, his view that their contribution should have an economic value apportioned to it.

It is always interesting to take a look at what is happening in property in another country, and as Germany is our major creditor and director of policy under the guise of the Troika in Ireland, let's look at an election issue that is causing major concern in Germany. The issue is people being 'squeezed out'. Rocketing rents are causing social and economic division. Das Spiegel (1st February 2013)reports 'the expanding costs and dwindling supply of urban housing are slowly pushing the Germans of average means out of the cities. As September's national election approaches, politicians are jockeying to find viable solutions to a problem they helped to create'.

To go back to David McWilliam's article it is about migration of people who have wealth in order to protect it so they invest their money, often in property, in countries with cities like Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf or Berlin, which is particularly attractive to the Italians at present. It might interest people that it is not only Irish people who are emigrating but if I am correct there are some 56,000 people migrating to Ireland and one German man reported that he has chosen to return to Ireland to work with one of our MNC's because he can now afford to buy a property - one of the main reasons he left Ireland in 2007 was that house property was too expensive. The MNC's, the English language, the young educated population, the small open economy forms part of our balance sheet and who knows we could be on the road back...

The term in Germany is "Rent Shock". Rents are rising steadily in Ireland and will rise more as evictions are pre-empted by targets placed on lenders to restructure debt and re-jig their balance sheets. It is worth watching the German approach to this crisis which they have as they head for their elections in September 2013

Comyn

author by Forster - Urban abandonments & derelictionpublication date Sat Mar 30, 2013 16:46Report this post to the editors

Mid-April they tell us that the "Guidelines" will issue as to the income brackets and expenditure cut-offs will be made available. Meantime the rumour mill churns out all kinds of scare tactics including those that say No to Sky TV for the miscreants who borrowed without using their common sense (no mention about the bankers who falsely sold them the loans - not like the US, where banks are being challenged to take responsibilty). The childcare allowance is causing much controversy but I suppose Leo Varadkar's defence arguments merits consideration - the guidelines will equally apply to house husbands. What should be included with these guidelines is that these distressed borrowers or (delinquent borrowers as some people prefer to say) should be given every opportunity to gain just and equitable employment.

We all know people who are unemployed and unemployed now for years who will be hammered by the PIP route out of insolvency. Too many of these are in the professions and trades related to the construction industry - surely, these architects, quantity surveyors, engineers, plumbers, electricians et al should be targeted by NAMA and its special purpose vehicles post the liquidation of Irish Banking Reconciliation and harnassed at fair compensation back into the employment market while other people who have been overpaid for the last number of years working under these distressed banks move into the unemployment market. In terms of the market and supply and demand this is about attaining equality within an industry and arriving at a fair wage structure.

Families - 2 children £23,500 pa is the suggested prison cell put forward. Yes, allowed the child benefit but not childcare, costs or mortgage costs. What does this actually mean? What does this say about motivation and gainful employment? We seriously need to identify the abilities of those in financial distress, remove the element of stress, anxiety and distress and encourage them back to productivity; it is short of a savage attack on the capabilities of people to not use Social Protection to its full capacity as an engine of employment potential, working with these PIP's (practicitioners). The media appears shy to discuss this potential from within the chaos of the housing crising.

What does the foregoing have to do with Urban Abandonments and dereliction - a lot. Our properties are the countries assets and legislation relating to the Justice Dunne judgment no longer will impede the banks from evicting people who cannot meet their financial commitments relating to their homes or the tax break buy-to-let commitments. The Insolvency Legislation on a case by case basis will be the last ditch provision. Meantime, within the next 6 months and going forward there will be a flood of properties into the market. This will cause massive social hardship for families and people who were conned (if we allow honesty its opinion) by the ideal to let each own their own property and for others who were equally short changed into thinking, manage your own buy-to-let or property purchase, gain the income and asset value. The truth is the Lenders backed by Government policy and the lack of regulation at Central Bank and not forgetting the ECB (prejudiced by Germany and low interest preference) peddled advice that nurtured their own vested interests because they too had failed to predict market forces.

BlackRock did the Stress Tests in our banks. Their Chief Executive on a US programme spoke about the peaks and troughs of markets and focused on the property market rise and fall which now spans 6 years. The interesting about property is that demand for houses governs the market. Ireland now falls into this category so maybe those like Allsop Space a recently established auctioneers are identify a market, that it is time for people to monitor. We need to ask questions about how many houses the Personal Insolvency legislation will add to those seeking property? Will they provide a route to social housing if eviction is the only route, will this mean these families will be placed ahead of those 100,000 on the social housing list who have been waiting for years? Then we have the people living in those Pre-63 Georgian/Victorian houses throughout the country who now face the housing list or the rental accommodation lists because their landlords have not complied with the new legislation requirements for sanitary arrangements for each unit. Ireland brought in the Section 23 property deals because hidden therein was the motive to tackle the social housing issue. From the 1930's through to 1980's, Ireland engaged in extensive provision of social housing via the corporations and city councils. The tax breaks put a breaker on this. We need to give this recognition as we hold to account those 23,000+ buy-to-let properties who are now crippled in debt and face insolvency.

What sets me thinking is my local urban village I see a man who worked in the construction game sitting out begging for money. Daily he appears to get thinner and he sits in this cold weather patiently putting in the hours before he can go to his hostel. He tells me this morning he made the call and he has his space in Camden hostel for the next three nights.....too many may face this and we need to think hard before we evict people on the orders of the Troika. Urban abandonments and derelictions ultimately relates to people, our people. Let's cut the waste but protect people who are vulnerable in this current society and therein lies the gain.

Forster

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Apr 04, 2013 17:20Report this post to the editors

But this time, it is not amnesty, the Government are saying to the people via their connections with the Revenue and the powers that coerce answers, you must evaluate each property you own and you are obligated (with certain very few exceptions) and must commit to pay property tax for six months this year and thereafter each year based on the value of each of those properties as at May 2013.

This is the opportunity for the ordinary plain people of Ireland to assess their moral compass and engage going forward.

But what about those poor people in the quagmire of debt and mayhem.

Today the media warn us that we need to get up to speed with making our banks meet the same targets as their counterparts in other countries. This means harsh times for those who are presently in debt. What provisions are made for these people if the PIP says - eviction? Will PIP assess if you have parental home and tell you and your children to go home to your parents - as happens now in Greece.

In Ireland, the overall number of repossessions is very low. 0.3% is the total of repossessions in 2012 when compared with rates of 3-5% in the UK and the US but the significance for us now is that at the same time as we are adjusting our moral compass to pay the property tax through self assessment valuation we are faced with Troika demands to 'strengthen the efficiency of the repossession regime'.

It appears there will be a massive transfer of ownership in property but to who?

From the foregoing postings, there will be a massive demand for social housing, rental properties, and a complete alternative market - is this German plan? Home ownership becomes once more a dream for the minority. Those who in the last decade caught their dream now have it smothered by a faulty economic system that went awry.

author by Forster - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Apr 05, 2013 15:58Report this post to the editors

Transition in home ownership is what we are about to experience, if we agree with Chestnut's posting.

May 1 2013 is the deadline for all people in Ireland to make a declaration that they own properties. It is another form of the amnesty idea that encouraged people in the Bertie Aherne FF reign to go compliant to paying taxes. It is what is known as a data mining expedition facilitated by the power of the computer. The analytics of the data is incomplete as computer scientists seek programmes to engage in this end product that will yield huge dividends from surveillance, to education, to marketing. The key point is the requirement by way of self assessment stating the values of properties owned will exist in the hands of the Revenue and other designated bodies.

FG are ahead of the posse now. Ireland is to be the first in Europe to engage in this mission of effective property tax by all who own houses on this Island. It will include those who own houses but have been forced to emigrate, it will exclude those who have pyrite but their details are already obvious and monitored. It will hunt down the chancers before the Troika kickstart the Government, the Central Bank, the Banks to haul into those 'mortgage delinquents'. Timing is excellent, is it not? Imagine, you sell your first home in 2004 and you move up one notch. You make gains on the 2004 sale and then invested it in the a slightly larger family home. However, this becomes pure negative equity and the reality is you have lost the gain you made from the 2004 sale. You place your deposit 'in cash ie profit from sale', you buy your £600,000 property and pay the stamp duty (approx £70,000) and today, you sit overwhelmed and dosed in denial, shame, fear, horror at a situation you could never have envisioned. Your property amounts to £250,000 or if it is sold off by the banks who really knows (there is the example in an earlier posting where a family home was sold off by the lenders for less than £25,000).

Descent downward spiral:-

You are first and foremost in negative equity, you are in arrears because you cannot make the payments to the lender because more than likely you are unemployed and now unemployable, the mortage interest relief benefit has stopped and for a family this can mean an additional £4,000 loss, you may have been lucky and the lenders have said pay interest only - but hold on you are still talking about debt on a negative equity value. They talk about compound interest but this is compound debt, misery and denial all wrapped up in one major crisis for a family and more families in Ireland. Nobody is talking about the social costs, the costs to long-term health. Depression, suicide are rampant in other countries where the policy to evict has already come into play. Ireland needs to wake up and think hard and fast about the package it is going to provide for the people who are about to be evicted. Perhaps a little common sense would be for the Department of Social Protection to link with housing (and other relevant bodies/departments) and see how to create employment for people in these unfortunate circumstances. 14% are unemployed but then you have to add that 6% who are under-employed. This problem is real and enterprise is about being creative and we surely in our unemployed have massive resources to tap.

FG guided by the Troika are no fools. Why? Yes, the property tax is supported as a fair tax by many socialists in Europe but then they are not taking the view from the crisis in Ireland which is about negative equity, unemployment, under employment, emigration. Yes, the Troika can say barge ahead and ring in all the outliers who own property and who have never made declarations. They know timing is essential and you do this while the property is registered in the names of those near morally 'destitute' caused by a delay in what justice should be about. They have been hanging on in hope of debt foregiveness. Now the crisis is upon us, but it is interesting to note that the property tax registration pre-dates it, so the registration of all property will be completed.

Apartments living is something that became fashionable in the housing boom but as we can witness from today's Irish Times, Minister Hogan has introduced legislation to rectify the problem; at last, we appear to recognise that 'professionals can be held liable for poor-quality buildings....Assigned certifiers will inspect the building work at key stages during construction'. The LPT needs to be questioned here because albeit law is not retrospective, this is a non regulated, bed of disaster yet to be unfurled. Every apartment owner will have to register, yet if Priory Hall is an example of what can happen, maybe apartment owners need to say we are in effect leaseholders not owners of property and we should be exempt.

Francesca provided me with their view about the Local Property Charge and apartment owners who pay the massive fees (eg £3,500 average in Dublin 4 as stated before).

'I have been trying to source the relevant parts of the Local Property Tax legislation' and cites the following problems with apartment living'....

'The common areas of the property are managed by a management company (NB there is also the committee appointed by the owners at the AGM). The terms of the Lease under which the property is held are numerous and place onerous restrictions on what I may or may not do with the property eg

I may not erect a "For Sale Sign"......I may not hang clothes or leave a bicycle on the balcony....I cannot park a car in our gated grounds of the apartment complex unless I am the owner of the car....I may not allow a visitor, whilst visiting me, to park their car in the grounds of the apartment complex....I am restricted in the use of the common areas....'

Property tax is a data mining exercise, you declare and the information is registered and then all the problems related to properties particularly apartments become subject to the legislation 'Building Control Amendment Regulations 2013.

Worth thinking about. There is one good point about the Regulations though, it will create employment for architects and engineers ...........

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sat Apr 06, 2013 16:41Report this post to the editors

Forster

You write about people who own apartments and what lies ahead when mortgages are foreclosed, management fees are not paid, services withdrawn but I would suggest you share a thought for those who live in local authority estates like O'Devaney Gardens who were promised so much and yet live in the midst of dereliction on tap as people leave while others remain. These people pay rent as do so many more. There is one significant advantage of the local property tax for people ie those who can afford to own property or get a mortgage for same, and that is the promise from the Coalition that Local Councils will get 80% of the take and this will mean they will have the funds to again be proactive with Public Private Partnerships. We are led to believe that the plans exist, we know that similar plans in Ballymun and Fatima mansions are a success so if the property tax for Dublin is given to the relevant councils, then social housing will benefit.

Transition of property. Who owns what, in what name? Is the property in negative equity, if so what %, will the personal insolvency practitioner make on an assessment and will they apply the questionable breach of civil liberties guidelines (will know details next week). Take an area like Dublin 8, Harrington Street and raise the question about who lives in each house, are they in flats, do they comply with the latest legislation and who will get the £5,000 fine for non compliance (sanitary facilities for each flat etc)? Will the owners of these properties fill in the LPT forms? If they live abroad, who have they nominated in Ireland to take responsibility to ensure revenue returns are made?

According to Colin Gleeson's article in the Irish Times today, there are plenty of inquiries as people 'wrestle with self-assessment'.

'1,193,154 letters have been issued, including those through the online system, covering 1,351,289 different properties'......and 64,294 calls have been made to the Revenue designated helpline.

Forster raises the issue of apartment blocks and leases. Surely if maintenance charges and risks due to mortgage arrears within complexes is a reality, the owners of the apartments deserve to be exempt from a tax. Summons are already being served on people who cannot pay the management charges and this leads to complications for others when properties have to be sold. What happens if insolvency occurs ie the cost of running the complex exceeds the amount due by each owner (for the lease).

Self-assessment: The Times reports that the European Commission was 'unhappy with the self-assessment' nature of the tax - their concerns being an under-valuation factor. What about the quagmire of the property bubble and the casualties it has created. They are the people who must submit the LPT form on May 7th (or online by May 28th). It is the State via the Revenue getting blood from a stone while the paperwork is done in advance and properties move in transition from beleaguered debtors to who? Is there a plan? Apartments are they destined to become REIT's options or owned by private equity groups who specialise in rental properties? What does this mean in relation to attaining their value?

If this is so, it makes it very hard to determine value of property on a self-assessment basis because what the future holds is so very uncertain.

author by Brian Flannery - Justicepublication date Wed Apr 10, 2013 16:13Report this post to the editors

Reading the newspapers over the last few days I notice chunks of Dublin being sold off to foreign investors. 420 apartments on the site of the former Clancy Barrack's overlooking the Liffey at Island Bridge, Dublin 8 is up for sale with a guide price of £70 million. The level of debt during the Tiger years regarding this site is in the region of £230 million. This is an astonishing sale given the fact that the valuation has dropped in the region of 70%. Nobody knows yet exactly who is behind the purchase but the bidders on today's paper range from the UK to the US to German funds.

The problem I see emerging now is that prime sites will be bought in Dublin Limerick Cork but we still will have the Ghost Estates that are left behind. In the middle of all this Bank of Scotland are emerging as the big bully boys among the other bully banks. Recently, and regularly, they have reduced the value of peoples' properties by 70% when the for sale sign goes up and they have hired heavy handed bailiffs to put padlocks on the gates of Irish homes assisted by bailiffs, some wearing hoods, to hide their faces. Pre election 2011, Gilmore and Rabbitte declared that Irish homes would be protected at every level under a Labour government. We are back to the soup kitchens on the quays on a daily basis and now we are back to the evictions - the only thing that Gilmore is not sponsoring is the Horse and the Red Coats.

Brian Flannery

author by fredpublication date Wed Apr 10, 2013 23:59Report this post to the editors

Brian is correct.

Fiat money is loaned to big developers.
developers default
the hard assets they tried to buy are sold off for a song to "insiders"

The banks can't create funny money and buy (steal?) our hard assets directly. So they create funny money out of thin air and loan that funny money for big developments that they probably know will go into default. They get a big bonus on the original loan. Then when it goes into default, the hard assets can be taken by the banksters and sold for peanuts to their friends / co-conspirators.

That is how key areas of Ireland and hard assets are being stolen from us right now. And it's costing them nothing because the money is just made up / conjured out of thin air when someone applies for a loan. Banks are allowed to do that. And boy did they do that during the bubble.

How to secure a country's hard assets in return for made up / fiat currency / printed paper 101

No need for tanks when you have banks!

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Apr 11, 2013 16:33Report this post to the editors

Fred - you provide the perfect synopsis to what needs to be aired about the present day transition of property ownership in Ireland and who will own what in the future? Who will determine the markets? The Banks are panicky particularly Royal Bank of Scotland and action, no matter what the social, human, economic cost is to people made vulnerable to debt in the crisis that capitulated Ireland Inc to its current status of Junk.

What do we the people of Ireland think about the new kind of ownership of apartment blocks? As stated before, there are indications that the market is beginning to determine supply and demand. This timing is interesting because it is the same time as the LPT self assessment project of cartography is being launched by legislation with the Revenue as the enforcer, Ireland is to lead the way in this methodology of self assessment ahead of other countries. Failure to make a return results in a £5,000 fine and if you think the concept further, it could mean a prosecution for tax evasion.

Apartments - excessive maintenance charges, committees, management companies who allow petty powers inflict abuse on people who bought their leasehold properties need regulation and possibly legislation. Why are apartment owners who pay such inordinate service charges expected to pay property tax? How do they assess the values? Common areas include balconies and carparks and often bizarre rules can determine solicitors' letters to stop using carpark or worse having cars clamped because your vehicle is commercial or your bird house attracts birds. These rules are applied with gusto by clicks. In one situation, a woman whose young husband was dying asked for a ramp at the main doorway and was refused in an elitist apartment block in leafy Dublin 4. As said before, this local property tax is a data mining exercise aimed at getting the people in fear of the Revenue connection to identify the properties they "own" (lease= a big question mark), to apply the valuation bands provided by the revenue or DAFT.ie or even to be brave and assess the market themselves and with their neighbours making them take the risk to state the VALUE and hope the powers that be are honourable to their 2010 criteria assessment ie if at a later date the Revenue state that their valuation was false (and the implications of evasion that would apply).

The Hawks are circling and they are not the Irish. As already stated our developers with their vision in the Celtic Tiger economy are mainly on their knees having been bankrupted and their assets taken over by NAMA. Now is the time to tap the markets, it's spring and a good time to sell so that Estate Agents and Auctioneers are enthusiastic and pushing forward the sale of many excessively devalued properties, some as much as 70%. What are the implications of these transfers of properties?

Lets take an example: Listen out for the news of how the following sale goes. Who buys the development?

The narrative: Clancy Quay Properties - Island Bridge, Dublin 8. This was a most ambitious development led by David Kennedy (Jersey-based) developer that had reached an advanced state of development in 2008 before the property market collapsed. This company was financed by UK Lloyds-owned Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and Danske Bank subsidiary National Irish Bank. The 13.5 acres site of the 19th century army barracks cost the developer £25.4 million, and according to the auditor in 2008, it had a 'carrying value' of £190 million. Interestingly, the current level of debt to the two banks has not been disclosed but the estimate is supposed to be £230 million. (This is a warning sign to be associated with the non transparency factor in NAMA and the information we need to know.). The Receivers Grant Thornton have continued the work on this site and effected the current transformation 'to a new residential enclave with a pedestrian friendly layout for the newly arrived tenants'. They have shops and a gym ready to let. The question is how many or what consortium will buy?

Last weeks Sunday Business Post property section is worth reading. Michele McGarry, a director with Colliers International states that 'while many investors might be looking in the Irish market, finding the right deal could prove to be difficult. There is huge appetite internationally, but what investors want is an "uninterupted block". What does this mean for apartment ownership in Ireland now, what about the self-assessed values to be made by May 8/28? Is it equitable to ask existing apartment owners to pay a property tax when this 'uninterupted block' is stalking our markets to cash in on profits. This is the real transition in ownership. Michele McGarry goes on to state that Ireland has few of these blocks and that these investors are not keen in engaging with the present system of management companies, service charges etc. She goes on to say, 'Most of our residential blocks weren't designed for the investment market but rather for individual sales, which mean an investor can sell off individual units going for foreward. It is perceived there is a value in the market'. For further insight, two properties have already become part of this transition (Sanford Lodge in Rathgar and the Gasworks in Dublin 2). Clancy Quay merits attention because it will dictate how people choose to live in future either as tenants or aiming to compete and buy individual units. The question again is who pays the property tax: will it be a negotiated rate for the consortium buyer based per unit and how will the value be arrived at?

In the 1980's, the apartment market was thriving but then problems arose with the Multi-Storey legislation having to be introduced and values dropped significantly. What happens to those of us who value our property now and the market falls further. Will the Government sanction the repayment based on the reduced amount? This LPT is fixed based on 2010 criteria - we pay 6 months this year and the value remains the same for the next 3 years. What about supply and demand and the impact of the new consortium purchasers and the value of the apartment market?

One final point: Certain hotels provide accommodation for long-term 'tenants' - how are they taxed to represent their landlord status or if it is the case that the apartment owner within the hotel complex has bought their unit?

Comyn

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sat Apr 13, 2013 15:29Report this post to the editors

The transition in ownership in property in present day Ireland is worth consideration. We have yet to hear about the recent sale of Clancy Barracks and what corporate buyers, if any, have bought same. The idea is 'uninterrupted blocks' so this suggests ownership by a company as distinct from individual apartment owners in a complex.

I note from a letter to Sinead Ryan in a recent newspaper something that may be of interest to readers on Indymedia. The question is about where the Council is liable for a proportion of a person's property tax? The person bought an apartment under the affordable homes scheme. They paid the 25% discount (this was a Government initiative to help people on the social housing list to get onto the property ladder). The occupier of the property goes onto say they are 'stumped' because 'under the scheme rules, they are not allowed to rent it out; it is a north facing unit and the lift has been out of order for the past year; so it can't have the same value as my neighours'.

The answer from Barry Flanagan of www.taxback.com provides an interesting answer.
The Revenue defines the 'liable owner' as "Owners of Irish residential property....(and) Local authorities or social housing oransiations that own and provide social housing".

So therefore...if you bought a house under the affordable homes scheme you are the beneficial owner and it is irrelevant that the mortgage is with the local authority. Your affordable home, mortgage with local authority, possibly in negative equity means you pay property tax and the value date is May 1st 2013, apparently the "heavily discounted acquistion cost is not relevant".

The question here is if you are in social housing in apartment block, do you pay maintenance and if so how much? The question remains should you be liable to the local property tax? Are people aware of their obligation to pay the LPT - I would suggest that those who availed of affordable housing must be concerned about this obligation, especially if inspite of the discount they are still in negative equity or for that matter those who are part of mixed developments.

What we need to know is that:

Current value is about the size of the property; it may be that your property is smaller than your neighbours and this counts in arriving at a valuation. However issues regarding lifts out of work, cameras being installed by the management committee without the sanction of each owner, certain windows being cleaned and others not yet billed in the annual accounts, committees sending out expensive solicitors letters to reprimand other tenants for perceived breach of the 'Lease', non provision of forensic audits on accounts for transparency etc, are all subject to debate and the absence of an authority or regulatory body causes this to be a source of extreme hardship in a lot of cases especially if the value of the property involves high maintenance costs and high property value based on location say D4.

Imagine, the only solution the non provision of a possibility to rent out the affordable apartment, as raised, is that you have the alternative of rent-a-room ie providing you have an extra bedroom and earn up to £10,000 tax free annually .... and this may alleviate some of the costs.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments & derelictionspublication date Mon Apr 15, 2013 16:22Report this post to the editors

The massive data mining exercise is well underway now. The people marched on Saturday and the plight of many was highlighted, in particular the story of a man who left school at 14, worked his years in England, probably in the building industry, returned to Ireland and 7 years ago bought his house, paid his stamp duty and is in negative equity. He is bitter and rightly so about the LPT this man now has to pay at the age of 73. What he did not say, and we don't know is: Was he one of the many people in Ireland who were encouraged to buy out their local authority homes/flats which resulted in the depletion of our housing stock - the social housing that is under provided for.

There is an old saying - when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Well, Ireland who now hosts the EU presidency is parading its students and so far the Troika are convinced that we are quite exemplary. However, students don't remain student's forever and when circumstances fail to improve and perceived social injustice impacts particularly on the vulnerable in society, there comes a time for the people to say Enough. Let it not get to the stage in Ireland as in America where 'moochers' and wasters are descriptions that describe the entitlement receiving members of our society.

Back to the data mining exercise related to who owns property in Ireland? The detail to the Local Property Tax form that applies is quite astonishing as seen from the foregoing posts. The rank and file of this country will have to stand to account and make self assessments about the value of the property they own and the Revenue is the driver. What is disturbing is that those quite blatantly pay for accountants to either 'Evade or Avoid' tax, will escape the eagle eye of the Revenue or for that matter the CAB.

Who next have been targeted? We see from the foregoing post that the people who bought under 'affordable housing' must pay the property tax; those who own apartments in apartment complexes and the chaos involved in some complexes like Priory Hall, appear to have to pay; now add the following:

'Emigrants face income hit for not paying property tax' Irish Independent (Michael Brennan). Being an emigrant in the last recession, this cuts to the bone and surely is penal.

What it means is that Revenue have power to deduct rental payments that Irish emigrants receive, if they choose or have been forced to rent out their former homes, if they fail to pay the tax? Do you know people who have been forced to emigrate? We all do. Is this fair? Is this intrusive? or is it just data mining so that when real analysis via computer comes into being that everyone will be monitored by Revenue ie except for those privileged enough to be in groups like Bilderberg. Exiles own many properties in this country and how will these houses be registered. The threat to recent genuine emigrants is that attachment orders will be placed on their rental payments or for that matter if they continue to hold bank accounts in Ireland. What have the diaspora to say about this type of regime?

Apparently as many as 8,000 people have declared themselves as foreign-based landlords who have received rental income in 2011. For people who consider themselves emigrants and think they do not have to pay property tax because they have received no letter from the Revenue, not so, the obligation rests with the owner and self-assessment applies to the owner too. The emigrant is obligated to get either an agent or a relative to pay the LPT on their Irish home on their behalf. The Revenue has further powers, it can seek taxation information from other tax authorities (but it does not have power to collect tax yet). 'It is seeking powers under tax agreements to get foreign tax collection agencies in the EU to gather in the property tax from Irish emigrants....however it said cross-border collection of outstanding taxes would be a "final option"'.

One more point, if you sell your property, a charge can be placed on the sale - so this is not a way out either.

Is there a positive in this when one thinks of the title urban abandonments and dereliction. Possibly so. It means that if a fair proportion of the takings are returned to local authorities then standards will be maintained in services, maintenance and keeping our Island of Ireland competitive.

To the 46,500 estimated to have emigrated between April 2011 and April 2012, be aware that you have obligations to the old sod still ie if you own or have a mortgage on your home/house. Do you know that if you rent out your family home, you have to pay the same tax on your rental income as Irish landlords and that you are supposed to notify the Revenue that you are forfeiting your mortgage interest tax relief....why because the condition is you must live in your home.

Emigrants...not like the negative equity days in the UK when you put your keys through the letter box and gone forever....Ireland learned valuable lessons, it seems but for the Bilderbergers, we surely have yet to learn.

Comyn

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed Apr 17, 2013 15:43Report this post to the editors

Why?

Because Cinderella is working in reverse in Ireland, she was the Queen of the Ball and now she is cinders in a desert of destruction, mayhem, and chaos. Legislation is flowing through the Dail and data collection is the priority without much regard for the social impact of economic desolation and crisis for so many Irish citizens. Ireland is a unique open economy country which has a population of 4.5 m and nearly 500,000 of these are out of work. Iceland are establishing trade links with China while Cyprus (English run until 1960) has the benevolent hand of the Russians.

Property ownership; habitual residence, tenancy are the defining feature of being a citizen within a society. Socialists is Europe, it is said are pro-property tax and yes, in different times, it is perfectly acceptable to raise such a tax. Ireland needs the money at house-hold level to encourage people to trade, to be enterprising, to priortise buying Irish at a local level. We are stripping our towns, villages, country and urban villages of their soul. Why now, not at a later stage?

But these times relating to property ownership are exceptional. We know social housing and construction of same has been negligible for the last few decades and that alternatives were introduced such as public private partnerships, affordable housing, housing association provisions. But what we forget is that there is a whole quotient of people in Ireland who were enticed onto the property ladder - it was their statement that social mobility was working and instead of the state providing a local authority house, parents were encouraging children, giving them finance, to be the change in the family and to be the first property owner in their family history. So many of these people are the casualties of negative equity now. These are the people who have paid a deposit, often provided by their parents annuity sum on retirement, or other sources, and they have forfeited this amount plus so much more. We need to address this LPT and surely another property tax (by another name from that of the household charge) is penal. This does not mean it cannot be introduced at another time, it is about now. It is about waiting for the banks to act to force owners to sell their properties at the dicktat of the Troika, Central Bank, Banks, PIP's. We already are baffled and muzzled by the Personal Insolvency legislation and guidelines being clarified to a level that it can be understood and activated upon.

Ireland Inc stands alone as the exemplary student on the periphery.

Who else now must pay the tax? If they pay it what category do they fall into? What about 23,000 buy-to-lets in arrears? What about the span of years when there are peaks and troughs and now these people 6 years on are being forced by the banks to sell at any price. Let's be real. Housing is about slumps and if you look to the US and the funds like BlackRock the housing is beginning to take off in the US again, the reality is that times passes and markets change and children become adults and demand is demand. There are people who have been forced to sell out in the last few years at a 70% discount of what they paid - okay the timing for them was unfortunate but what about those who will be forced to sell now ie before making the declaration on the LPT at a self-assessed valuation. A little more time for them could see them gain a return on their properties. After all, rents are going up, social housing demand is increasing, people will become insolvent and will need replacements homes. Surely, after the deluge is a fairer time to seek local property tax.

Pensions: They say the private sector are majorly exposed. This is not the case for the privileged in society - the bleeting public sector employees, those who sought the permanent, pensionable job, with all the extras. Their pension pots are well provided for. The people however in the private sector are the vulnerable ones. Private pensions by their very nature have huge costs attached to them and people have in the past sought the altnerative of buying properties with tax benefits like section 23 as an alternative. Some have bought several properties and these are in effect their pensions. Why don't we ask about why we should pay LPT on this alternative? This is punitive to the private sector and is self defeating for our economy in the long-terms, as these properties are in fact pension pots.

Indymedia and the flats in Ringsend...before the collapse (article in archives). Did the local authorities manage to sell these properties at the inflated prices; if so, how many people are in negative equity and don't realise that they too must declare the value of their property. Imagine the valuation on same given the area is Dublin 4 and what a high % point of income this tax will represent. Yet, people are apathetic to the implications of the property tax and the impact it will have on our local economies be they urban villages or rural villages.

The Revenue Commissioners (The Driver with the legal authority to implement) have said that they have received 130,802 returns in response to the 1.2 million letters sent to homeowners in recent weeks. The Revenue state that all who own houses must now, under their own sense of obligation and conscience, come out of the woodwork and make their declarations. These differ greatly from the FF amnesties which concerned anonymity (I wonder which will yield the highest financial intake).

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Apr 19, 2013 15:52Report this post to the editors

Nearly 500,000 people are out of work; yet the local property tax implementation May 8th & 28th (online submissions) are receiving scant attention in the media. Talking to people in the local urban village, the word Revenue is the effective enforcer as distinct from the exercise of what is morally just and fair in what will determine who pays and who does not? It is time for people to start listening to 'what is not said' to hear and to identify just how intrusive this tax proves to be, particularly now when Ireland Inc is still in such economic turmoil.

The lack of community is causing us to be disparate and there is no alignment of people to make representation to Government to postpone for several years this property tax which is penal on house owners. Behind closed doors, is another kind of story in the Ireland of today. You have the family who are in mortgage arrears and other debts knowing that PIP (the Personal Insolvency Practitioner - let's call him/her "The Fixer") is their only option but yet it is not a definitive guarantee of relief/release, because the banks still have the power of veto. What if both people are out of work? Do people realise that if these overly indebted people subject to the 'PIP process' are to have any opportunities of getting work in the private sector, they must pay this LPT otherwise they are hampered from getting work, the reason being, they will need a tax clearance certificate to obtain work and will not qualify for same if the don't submit their self assessed valuation of their, most probable, heavily mortgaged, negative equity property. Is this common sense? Is it equitable? This involves ordinary people for example a taxi driver, an architect, people working on contract.

The Irish Independent today reports that there is a need to stimulate rental supply. The demand for rental property is rising, the trend in ownership is changing. The census 2011 showed that the figure renting property rose 47% ffrom 323,000 to 475,000. The census also reports that '32% of Dublin residents are now in rental accommodation'. What this says in effect: is that social housing supply was provided in a different way than previously. 'The private sector, with a combination of the construction industry and private investors, over the last 30 years modernised our national stock of rental accommodation and provided a steady supply of good quality accommodation in key employment areas at relatively modest rents'. We need to take stock because many of the people who created this market are the people who are in negative equity and who are liable to pay the LPT, surely they have given enough and need to be encouraged rather than be forced to pay this LPT on their homes or for that matter their investment choices.

Does anyone ask the question why Ireland differs from other countries eg the UK where it is the users/beneficiaries pay for their local services? If we want people to be accountable at a local level, and work within communities, surely once you live in a property, it makes sense you pay the bills not some owner/speculator/indebted person. Residential property owners have been targeted unjustly it seems, and there is no debate about the matter.

Rents are rising. Social housing/Public Private Partnerships are adrift without policy direction. Yet more debt is to be heaped upon an already over-burdened group of people known as the residential sector. What will happen is that as the bank drive home their obligation to meeting targets set by the Troika/Central bank, the property market will be enmeshed in uncertainty with valuations possibly reducing making the LPT valuations much lower than the self-assessed commitment submitted by people as at due day for 6 months 2014; 2015; 2016. If this happens, there appears to be no provision.

Again it is worth considering this comment from David Cantwell's in todays Irish Independent: "The latest official onslaught on the residential sector, combined with the downturn in new construction and the mortgage debt problems of numerous private investors, is leading to a stifling of supply and consequent rise in residential rents'.

REITS (Real Estate Investment Trusts) is the new game in town. Who owns the block of apartments? Investors are looking out for 'blocked' apartment complexes. Will they pay the assessed LPT (which will be below the average market value because it is a partly blocked booking) for each apartment or will time dictate a switch to tenants taking responsibility for paying local charges.

The new charge for 'tech' in the home is reported to be £180. Nobody is deemed to be able to escape because all the databases will reveal names. The question is about equity at this present time when a quotient of people are particularly vulnerable to rash lending policies by our ECB, Banks and lending sources and of course their own share of responsibility.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Fri Apr 19, 2013 20:46Report this post to the editors

'Boots in my pillow' as a possible future for those evicted from their homes. There are houses in Blessington Street where the doors have been replaced with boarding, hiding what were once homes behind new wood dereliction. These taken by the banks from the borrowers for economic reasons, to boost the books this month with scant regard for tomorrow. Falling down now, the tenants thrown out, like Simon whose rent failed, his allowance gone and he now on the street to walk through the dereliction not allowed to regain a home.

5000 people in Ireland are homeless. How many derelict buildings are there? Enough to house those dispossessed or those homeless? The vast increase in those renting heralds a truth that Ireland is now more belonging to those outside than ever in our recent history. What was once the ownership of our own land and our own homes has been cast to the foreign speculators. Is it this that for the last 100 years we have fought? The punishment meted to the landlords is of no effect, due to the reality that rents will rise probably to provide a profit even on this additional investment. The costs will be passed on to those dispossessed and lucky enough for the time being to afford somewhere to live. The rise in rents will bring more suffering on the poor and at some time soon a revolt whether quiet or not will bring new rules. We can only hope that these new orders do not bring more urban abandonment or more evictions.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:22Report this post to the editors

'Boots in my pillow' as a possible future for those evicted from their homes. There are houses in Blessington Street where the doors have been replaced with boarding, hiding what were once homes behind new wood dereliction. These taken by the banks from the borrowers for economic reasons, to boost the books this month with scant regard for tomorrow. Falling down now, the tenants thrown out, like Simon whose rent failed, his allowance gone and he now on the street to walk through the dereliction not allowed to regain a home.

5000 people in Ireland are homeless. How many derelict buildings are there? Enough to house those dispossessed or those homeless? The vast increase in those renting heralds a truth that Ireland is now more belonging to those outside than ever in our recent history. What was once the ownership of our own land and our own homes has been cast to the foreign speculators. Is it this that for the last 100 years we have fought? The punishment meted to the landlords is of no effect, due to the reality that rents will rise probably to provide a profit even on this additional investment. The costs will be passed on to those dispossessed and lucky enough for the time being to afford somewhere to live. The rise in rents will bring more suffering on the poor and at some time soon a revolt whether quiet or not will bring new rules. We can only hope that these new orders do not bring more urban abandonment or more evictions.

author by Chestnut - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Apr 23, 2013 16:36Report this post to the editors

Could it be so; the Gurus of finance ie George Soros and Krugman's message that austerity is not the pathway to economic growth. This may explain why the Hawks are sizing up the property portfolios with potential. Sunday papers tell us that Gordon Brothers, Private Equity group, who bought Clerys at a substantial discount are presently evaluating Arnotts. Strategists are employed by Nama, the Banks and the are constantly scouting for changes in world markets. We need to ask the question is the timing now and why? Not unlike what happened to Patrick Gallagher (Developer) in the 1980's when he had that great vision for St Stephen's Green; the Phoenix Park racecourse and so many other developments, the repayment scheduling and timing did not suit the banks so those powers that be did their dawn raid and put his business into receivership with penal consequences for the property market at that time and in particular the creditors and the sub-contractors. As one entity business fails they there are the professions, the bankers, the new risk-takers who snatch up the benefits. This is what business is all about but we must be aware of any potential abuse of power and we must take account of the discussion concerning the lack of transparency, the Chinese walls that apply to NAMA because at all times Ireland Inc is the priority and the people of Ireland also.

This is why the news about Nama ready to seize Crosbie's stake in 02 conjures up markets that do have memories. 'NAMA have only now appointed the receivers to companies and assets controlled by Harry Crosbie - The Point Village, Grand Canal theatre (which has bookings until 2016 and quite clearly enhances Ireland in this year of the Gathering). Crosbie, not unlike Patrick Gallagher had the vision, and over the decades created what is now snatched, at a time when property is most likely to have arrived at the stage that it is part of the crest of a wave, of success, and NAMA in its non transparent configuration sees the opportunity and takes control. It is reported in the media that they have their eagle eyes on his holding in O2 and aim to take his shares in this also. Crosbie or so estimates say owes approximately £450 million to banks based on both commercial and personal loans. Like the sound business man he has proved to be for decades, he projected a few years ago that he would in time (approximately 4 years) pay-off his debts. Rumours at the time of the Patrick Gallagher collapse said it was opportunistic reasons and bankers that saw his demise prematurely. Should we ask about NAMA's decision to appoint, last Friday, receivers Grant Thornton to oversee Mr Crosbie's assets. Is this a fair decision by NAMA to put Crosbie's business interests into receivership? Maybe a few more months would see him out the other side!

Great reports this week in the Sunday Business Post. Ireland is an active market for world investors in real estate (hence the legislation recently introduced for REITS) and bank assets. Add to this NAMA. Stability in Ireland and in Europe, they say is creating a 'frontier market, and the prospectors are out in force, looking to strike gold'. The Californian property company - Kennedy Wilson have taken over more than £2.5 billion in choice Irish assets (part of their £9 billion global buying spree). Bill McMorrow, Chairman and Chief Executive, reports that Ireland is still 'on his map of territory to explore'. The focus is not Europe but Britain and Ireland.

Is there hope for us in Ireland? can we say goodbye to Urban Abandonments and dereliction or will our prize possessions be the targets at knockdown prices? What is important is that awareness prevails.

McMorrow seems confident "If you think about what has happened in the US, we went into a depression, great recession, whatever you want to call it, in late 2007 and from a real estate perspective we really didn't come out of it for five years". He acknowledges that in Ireland we hit depression/recession a little later so maybe now is the time, as the correction according to estimates started in 2009. So this could be a promising time for investors according to Kennedy Wilson. We can dovetail on their experience and be wise about what we are prepared to sell. It is interesting to note given earlier postings; apartment ownership in Ireland and the local property tax question, that Kennedy Wilson aim to acquire as many as 5,000 apartment units in Ireland alone.

To conclude therefore is the quote from McMorrow, Kennedy Wilson, 'we have plans for a long period of consolidation where the hard assets pay for themselves over time. This comes after the liquidation phase, where loan books are disposed of. It's a mode he developed in Japan in the 1990's, when the world's second largest economy (at the time) had an almighty property crash following a massive asset-price bubble in the 1980's.....It is the same business plan here in (Ireland). We plan to be here for as lon as you'll have us as a gueset. We plan to be here for the next 20, 30, 40 years".

Ireland Is the time is here to look at our positives.

author by Gale Vogel - Birds Eye Viewpublication date Tue Apr 23, 2013 22:44Report this post to the editors

Nice quote! Perhaps with the invasion of prospectors we the natives will in time be confined to reservations. Will then the homeless be silenced while land and property rots to make way for the gated confines of foreign luxuries?

author by Comyn - Urban Abandonments and Derelictionpublication date Thu Apr 25, 2013 16:49Report this post to the editors

Regulation and legislation is the easy part, action is not so easy.

Two nights this week on TV we had access to the appalling living conditions some people are expected to live in our country. The areas were not highlighted last night but they exist in Dublin and they are occupied by many groups of Romany people and the conditions are a scandal and are a reflection of what we in Ireland fought so hard to remove in the 1960's particularly. It is not even a century and we are prepared to tolerate this sub-human, standard of housing as a source of rental income for a landlord class of people, who have no qualms about exploiting the vulnerable. We know that recent legislation aims at putting an end to this exploitation of the property market and that each bedsit/flat now must have sanitary provisions provided within. The problem is who will enforce this legislation; what are the provisions for people paying below par £800 approx for one room apartment, when they are asked to find alternative accommodation to enable the Landlord to be complaint. The Local Property Tax is aimed at rounding up these Landlord owners and it will be most interesting to see how they value the properties they are presently letting out. Will they breach the conditions? Will they pay the £5,000 fine if they choose to ignore the legislation introduced in February of this year. Many of these slum properties are under the auspices of An Taisce and the Georgian Society, yet they only become so at the time of a proposed demolition. What hypocrisy?

Not unlike Spain we have not had adequate social housing provision for three decades now and the creation of a new coterie of landlords who were encouraged with Section 23 type tax breaks and who provide yet another basis for chaos in our provision of housing. There is a new generation created; those who cannot afford to take the cut back in the rental allowance and the amount paid to the landlord for what is often a new house/apartment and who are forced to move home to live with their parents/parent. Many of these are the people who have children and who are already on the housing list for over 5 years. In 2008, the housing list was 56,000 but by 2011 the number on the waiting list has virtually doubled to 98,000. They say, the biggest landlord of all, with a rent roll now in its billions, Nama is in a position to allocate 4,000 houses but this becomes incidental to the potential demand, in absence of social housing provision. The fluidity that this has caused means that tenants are in a constant state of flux with properties being let and contracts not fulfilled because the people can't make the rental payments ie the difference between what they owe (often only on a single parent allowance/dole/disabilities payments).

Add to this the fact that many of the new landlord cache are the 'buy-to-lets' and 23,000 of these are now facing eviction through non payment of their loans, we are looking at greater uncertainty in this housing market. This scenario is yet to happen and vulnerable groups particularly those who will become homeless, those who will end up in hostels, those who will end up in B&B's - the people who have no access to a 'home' to return to. All the time our housing stock is deteriorating yet the unemployed are rising. Personal Insolvency Practitioners - 'the Fixers' are yet to be allocated. The Hawks are flying in and as reported earlier Kennedy Wilson is looking at buying 5,000 apartments and we can assume that these will be in the fashionable locations in Dublin. This will remove more housing stock for the ever increasing social housing sector in Ireland. Is Ireland alone in Europe with its many people destined to be removed from the dream of what was once known as 'home ownership'.

Ireland: thankfully are behind other European countries in terms of evictions. The news is that this is to change as the Troika push our Central Bank to get their books in order and realistically to start writing down debt. The Internationalist is an interest publication and this month discusses how the Spanish are reacting to the Troika impositions on their government. It is interesting to note that their social housing model was driven in a similar way to our own with tax incentives and to shift landlord provision from the State to private landlords. Homelessness is Spain's property Bubble, outcome. There is public despair, anger and consolidation into movements seeking housing justice. Ireland must learn now from what is happening in Spain, before our Banks start making decisions to evict those they deem insolvent. We do not want people to be evicted if there are not suitable alternative housing provisions for them and most importantly their families.

In Spain, there are 500 eviction orders each day and these are delivered to households. Since 2007 and there have been 420,000 foreclosures and 220,000 evictions. These are vicious and inhuman impositions especially when you consider that the level of unemployment is now greater than 25% and the country is consumed with massive political scandals. The situation is now worsening because after two years out of work, the unemployment insurance payouts stop and in turn the evictions will rise far higher. In Ireland we focus on our own narrative and drive for housing. We at least up until the 1980's had a solid provision for social housing where in Spain it differed: There 'the institiutional drive to increase home ownership dates back to the first minister of housing under the Franco dictatorship, Jose Luis, Arrese, who stated in 1957 'We want a country of homeowners, not proletarians'. It was the State's way of avoiding social housing and forcing citizens to comply with a Government imposed sense of being both moral and disciplined citizens.

Ireland you are not alone in the drive for home ownership but you are now a casualty of a crisis about to happen with the banks demanding their loans repaid. Spain too managed to persuade its people with a swipe of the hand to be owners, buying a home became the social norm and as many as 80% of homes in Spain are owner occupied. Near the highest in Europe. These are the people who now refer to themselves as follows 'We used to be the Middle Class' and who have established the PAH the Platform for Mortgage Affected People. Ireland we need to learn from the experience of others and we need to be informed before the decisions to evict are imposed unjustly on our people.

Austerity is not working; yet we know economic growth is essential. There must be a way to create employment; to avoid eviction, to add to the social housing pool of property and to make NAMA more transparent

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Apr 30, 2013 16:06Report this post to the editors

First and foremost we need to be aware that the Revenue are linked at the hip with this Local Property Tax, so it is advisable to adhere rigidly to the demand, otherwise your file with Revenue will be marked for review and you may be subject to the scrutiny of same.

To those concerned about what to do and who have not received notice from the Revenue, the Sunday Business Post answers most questions and is worth buying. There are a few points worth noting in the context of urging people to make a LPT return within the context of the importance of Ireland Inc (Troika ruled) taking stock of its urban spaces and the desire to stop dereliction in this harsh economic down-turn in our economy.

Letters or ROS emails in respect of 1.66 million properties have issued from the Revenue and as many as 300,000 people have already made their LPT returns. As written in the Sunday Business Post April 28th 2013.

"Key steps to comply are: YOU assess the valuation band, YOU pick your payment option and YOU file the LPT return". Clear instructions with the emphasis plainly on "YOU".

Points to understand. The LPT is a self assessment of the valuation of your property which will be accepted by the Revenue provided it is "reasonable". It is important to note that the valuation you make on May 1st 2013 will be the value that applies up until and including 2016. "This value will hold regardless of improvements, extensions or repairs to your property, or any general increase in property prices during this period". Exemptions and deferrals are explained on www.revenue.ie.

Some will have received "the Letter/Email" but for those who have not, you continue to be liable for the tax and the onus is on you to file your return. Again go to www.revenue.ie and go to the "I have not received a Property pin" tab; or go direct to file online by phoning 1890 200 255. The procedure is really simplified and the message is go digital now especially to those in the greying population because this is your future too.

Something that is easy to overlook concerns those who are already on ROS (Revenue Online Serivce) to file your annual tax returns. If this is the case, then your LPT notication has been sent to your "IN" box and you will not receive a letter. Check it out because this is no excuse.

What does "self-assessment" really mean? YOU must decide the value of your property, it is not the Revenue who make this valuation. The revenue is not expected to know the details of your house but they do make recommendations as to who you can contact to help you assess the value. These include:-
(revenue.ie; local Citizens Information centres; property websites; actual sale prices of properties on the priceregister.ie, local newspapers, and estate agents). If you know an apartment, for example near you has sold for say £200,000 in the last 2 years, check it out on priceregister.ie, the sale price should be recorded. These sources help the owner of the property(s) to make a valid self assessment of the value. But, if your property has distinct features eg a balcony; an extension; attic conversion; OR is in 'a significantly poor state of repair, then you must factor these in when arriving at the self assessed valuation.

The crucible is 'that once you assess the value of your property, your valuation will be accepted. That's the way self-assessment works for other taxes and LPT is no different'. Please note: You are not to attach any documents to your self assessment form. The Revenue will make contact with you if there is need to do so. You don't include correspondence when you claim medical expenses so the same applies for LPT. It is like the times when the motto of the Stockbroker was 'My word is my bond'. Those who have property must adopt the motto, make the valuation with honour and submit. You pay the assessment amount. The 'estimate' amount will only arise when you fail to make the assessment and the Revenue intervene.

Two options to pay: Paper (May 7th) or electronically (May 28th). You select your own payment option. It is important to note that if you have more than one property, then you have no alternative but to go digital and now so May 28th is the day to register the valuations on all your properties and it is electronically. Payment methods (presumably) by now you will have access to.

Compliance: There are no real options apart from limited criteria that apply to deferral. The Revenue "Estimate" will be pursued 'using the usual range of Revenue powers and mandatory deduction at source from salaries. A surcharge will apply. For those in mortgage arrears and who are considering not making the LPT payment, think hard, because you may not receive the tax clearance certificate you need to continue in employment eg a person with a taxi for instance. 'The impact of our compliance programme will be begin to be felt in JULY when deduction at source begins. Also at this time a risk-based compliance programme relating to valuations will be in place.

And one more point, for those who have not paid the household charge arrears SNAP. They have you.

For all property owners and so many categories as mentioned on this Urban Abandonments and derelictions site, tomorrow is the day for valuation. We have apartment owners who question whether they should pay because they are effectively leaseholders and pay excessive management fees, we have people displaced from Priory Hall because of non compliance by the builders, we have many owners of pre-63 units in Georgian/Victorian houses who may be completely outside the tax net but who are now forced to be compliant with regulations; we have those in Buy-to-lets and facing the Banks termination clauses; we have those in negative equity and in mortgage arrears who are self-employed but need the tax cert; then we have the new landlords like Kennedy Wilson and others who are buying up blocks of apartments; presumably these then become commercial enterprises so a tax of a different nature applies. The undertaking by Government and Revenue is of mammoth proportions to make people in Ireland tax compliant via digital going forward.

If as suggested in earlier postings that this is in effect a data mining process, it could be that payment date of July provides an option for people in genuine financial hardship to be allowed more reasonable grounds for deferred payment eg on sale of property.

Spare a thought for all who own property tomorrow and give recognition to those who are in the lucky position that they can and are willing to pay this property tax but also spare a thought for those who are that new generation suffocated by negative equity and mortgage arrears outcome of the post Celtic Tiger.

For those still in limbo, these exemptions may apply!

Residential properties owned by charities and public bodies
Nursing homes
Mobile homes or vessels
Properties fully subject to commercial rates
Diplomatic properties

A deferral is not a waiver, tax is payable eventually.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri May 03, 2013 16:12Report this post to the editors

Last day to post in that LPT self assessed value of your property. If you have more than one property, you go digital so there are another three weeks to make your submission.

Having tried the link suggested by the Revenue for a valuation, it failed to give me any data, I decided to use the property valuation on Daft.ie - it works and presumably it is a credible source of reference.

author by beleagured taxpayerpublication date Fri May 03, 2013 20:52Report this post to the editors

Comyn, are you working on comission for FG or something?

We should be rejecting the premise of having to pay this obscene "family home tax" in order to help repay gambling bankster debts we were never involved in incurring.

Not encouraging people to bend over yet again and take another one for the 1%

If we all refuse to comply with this "tax" in a mass civil disobedience action, then the government will not be able to implement it.

Posts giving people instructions on how to pay it are the devils work.

Why exactly are you doing this when you know full well it is not a justified tax?

author by Sharon. - Individual.publication date Fri May 03, 2013 21:32Report this post to the editors

Hi BT !

Well said - I haven't paid this and have no intention of doing so : if they eventually attempt to deduct it from my wages then I'll fight them on that issue too , as best I can.
See 'Irish solution to an Irish problem' at the 'Related Link' , below, for my reason for not paying it.
Thanks,
Sharon.

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.ie/2013/03/20th-march-1....html
author by Comyn - Concerned citizenpublication date Sat May 04, 2013 15:40Report this post to the editors

No not Fine Gael but I admire the courage of you Sharon to state that you will not pay the LPT.

Yesterday was deadline day. The implications and involvement of the Revenue surely has caused many people to be submissive and comply. Who wants the Revenue Commissioners investigating or for that matter people acting as 'snitches' reporting on people who eventually will be forced by law, possibly on the grounds of tax evasion. The initial fine is £5,000 or prison. If the charge becomes tax evasion - who knows the power of the State?

The silence about this tax is deafening; yet taxi drivers are telling us that if they don't pay they won't get a tax clearance certificate; architects are saying they can't gain employment so they need to have tax clearance certificates for occasional work so they must pay; the elderly are vulnerable too because their pension will have the tax stopped at source and then if the Revenue exercise their powers they may make enquiries as to any other sources of income/pension an older person is in receipt of - again this is fear driven outcome of more potential income for the Exchequer. If you are drawing social welfare and still own a property, again the State has the power through the legislation to ensure if not now eventually on the sale of your property to make the deductions. Now the person is given the opportunity to place self assessment value on their property for 2.5 years but to make no return means then the Revenue will impose what they consider to be the value, that is after the Courts have dealt with you.

For those who are yet to decide, it appears from today's newspapers that there is an extended deadline for those who want to pay the LPT by post. You now have until Tuesday (but the envelopes have to have the postmark May 7th).

To those who have more than one property - the net is drawing you in. You must sign on via www.revenue.ie and by clicking on "I have not received a property PIN" tab or can file online over the phone by ringing 1890 200 255.

Politics is not telling me to pay the tax on the house in my name; it is the Revenue Commissioners and they have powers that most people are afraid of and if not they need to be of vast wealth or 'Absolute Power capacity' to engage with our civil court system or for that matter the CAB. Again I say the silence about the LPT is deafening and fear of the unknown is rounding up the owners of property is a most systematic way. Who stays out is worth watching out for?

author by beleagured taxpayerpublication date Sat May 04, 2013 17:32Report this post to the editors

it's NOT A PROPERTY TAX!!!!

Lots of the property of the 1% is being completely ignored for tax purposes.

A site valuation tax would be far better in this respect.

but what we actually got was a FAMILY HOME TAX which disproportionately attacks the poor.

call it by it's proper name at least!

You are just scaremongering to frighten people into paying this tax. Who are you working for Comyn?

author by Western Skies - Equalitypublication date Sun May 05, 2013 16:38Report this post to the editors

I feel as angry and frustrated as you Beleagured. I wholly agree that it should be a site value tax and so do many more people. Thje point I think Comyn is making is Tax is Tax and if you read the postings he is totally against the role of the Revenue in this penal chaos. Let's get back to the main issue for a little space.

Urban abandonment is growing. The small towns are ghost towns and the empty estates remain unfinished and are both an eyesore and a source of danger in particular to children and young teenagers. People can make changes. Siptu and the rest of the cosy cartels should take a stand and support the hard pressed taxpayers bulldoze down the ghost estates, bringing the land back to its origin.

Change only comes when the GRASSROOTS WAKE UP!

Western Skies

author by Galway Mist - Pissed off societypublication date Thu May 09, 2013 13:22Report this post to the editors

Yes, the last poster is correct, we have been distracted away from the immediate effects of the recession and the creation of a new urban abandonment dimension. The deadline for those who own one 'FAMILY HOME' only by now have submitted their self assessment valuation of the property and will have nominated the method of payment for funds to be deducated July 2013. Meanwhile the Revenue are employing people and based in Ennis, Co Clare the new recruits will search through the data bases and the plan is all will be revealed. Who knows how effective this LPT will be but what we do know is that daily more businesses are closing down.

For sale signs are up, the bidding is on. The media report that it is the Americans, the Germans, the Russians who are in the market place buying up the pick of the crop of Namatised casualties. The question we need to ask is will Ireland benefit from this inflow of funds or will the surplus be wasted on our over indulged, overpaid politicians, and public sector. It would be nice to receive the funds from the international investors when Ireland has tackled the waste in public sector.

With all the empty houses, the tragedy of Ennis haunts me. How is it that a human being could die in a public toilet and yet we have over 200,000 empty dwellings on this Island - this is a sad reflection on the present level of morals that we all subscribe to. l also want to say that we will have so many more empty buildings throughout Ireland with the news that Xtravision is closing its door with near immediate effect. This will bring extra stress on people who are not pub goers but enjoy a little comfort in watching a home movie in the safety of their home.

Urban abandonment sadly is alive and well and yet our pampered TD's hop around Kildare Street as if the country is fucking booming. Well I want to ask the Irish people - when do they show up on Kildare Street in their thousands and tell the pampered elites in the Dail buildings about the pain and the suffering that is inflicted on the shoulders of the Irish people. Responsible: Kenny, Gilmore and the rest of the Clowns and particularly we would expect Labour to have made a greater input. Don't forget it is the year of the Lock-Out and how true it is because every day of this year staff are losing their jobs and are being literally locked out.

Galway Mist

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sun May 12, 2013 17:44Report this post to the editors

Enter the legislation in February 2013 with ambition to upgrade the standards of what were once known as bedsits but the question is what provision is made for the people who have lived for decades in what we know so well to be 'Flatland Dublin' and what provisions have the Government, the housing agencies, the Dublin City Council and other authorities made for these people who must leave their 'homes' while the owner's of the properties take on to re-structure the houses to provide bathroom facilities for each flat, as now required by the new legislation.

Realistically that pre-1963 house on say Waterloo Road needs now needs to relocate the many tenants, sometimes as many as 10, and then either sell or bring the property to the required standard, which means in effect converting it to apartments which will provide for less people. Add to this the time scale to carry out such sophisticated (Georgian Society compliance and the Green environment provisions) and costly renovations involved especially at a time when the banks are so shy to lend money that is unsecured with additional assets. Chatting to an out of work actor, who used to frequent Xtravision to use the pay as you go computers, emphasised to me that there are real genuine people who are faced with major trauma living all over our city. These people are the ones who take the hit of the legislation on the cheek, and its hard. These are the people who are looking for homes often with no job, struggling to get rent allowance as it stands, knowing that the area which was home for them is now too costly for them to continue to live in. The supply side of the properties that suit their cash flow, with the much reduced rent allowances says they must move and move far away. These people are near the lowest rung of the ladder and are so close to being the next tier of people looking to the homeless shelters and that industry of hostels and B&B's. Looking at the state of houses in Harrington Street in Dublin 8 today, the tardy curtains draped over the windows begs the question, do we really know how some people exist in Dublin today. If the LPT is to improve standards, maybe we have a duty to pay. The key point is that we need to know that the LPT tax is allocated to a distribution network that get's best value and provision for the people in need of housing and this includes the newly soon to be evicted old 'Flatland Dublin' people.

Look out also for the new term: The banks are now appointing "Rent Receivers to landlords in arrears". Again this targets the rental market and those people who were encouraged by Government tax incentives to become landlords with particular focus on social housing provision and rent allowance. These BTL's are next on the rack. Now we face the situation where the lenders 'are effectively taking control of thousands of investment properties by appointing rent receivers - a process that saves banks having to apply to the courts to repossess properties'. 2,000 properties are targeted presently for rent receivers (add to this the 30,000 BTL's 90 days in arrears). Rent receivers is a way of the bank gaining control over the rent paid to the landlord without having to take possession proceedings in the courts. 'The receiver is authorised to collect the rental income from the tenant on behalf of the bank and ACT AS THE LETTING AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT AGENT.

Watch this space. Will people now look to the tax incentive in excess of £10,000 tax free to rent a room from a home owner/taxpayer as an alternative? There may be an excessive amount of under utilised or vacant property but who is going to ensure people are provided with housing for their needs.

Charlie Weston, Irish Independent refers to Michael Dowling Independent Mortgage advisers Federation and his comment as follows: "The banks have decided that, if a landlord is not paying, then they are not going to indulge them any further".

The end is nigh for those BTL's who are in arrears and were taking the rent and instead of paying off the debt, investing or spending the money elsewhere.

Comyn

author by Swift - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Mon May 13, 2013 16:18Report this post to the editors

It is the Government that is the main player. They now determine what the urban community is about, that office space that is now delinquent and lying idle while the businesses which established themselves based on the customers are now thrown to the wind and are going to the wall financially. People need to become cogniscent of their towns, villages, cities and sub-divide them into the communities that make people interested from within. Take the example of Baggot Street Upper Village.

The Royal City of Dublin hospital established in the 19th century was a major employer at one time but now stands basically stripped and uncared for. The potential is massive. What it really needs is a person in private enterprise to see its potential and then for them to enter into a public private partnership with the State and make it a hub again. I would suggest the like of Boots (Pharmaceutical) or for that matter, a local called Mr Denis O'Brien, and ask them to team up with those assigned to the proposed project to make the portion of the hospital on Haddington Road a primary care centre. There is an urgent need to enter a more creative realm of medicine to help people with mental health problems, drug addiction, ageing, even ABI's and early dementias and restore this hospital into a museum attributed to medicine in a way that provides an alternative healthcare facility for the more vulnerable members of society, especially those affected by ill-health. We need to look at the history here and the centenary of the Rising now just over two years away.

Baggot Street Upper Village has recently lost the offices of IBM, many of the staff at FAS, staff at Baggot Street Community hospital as well as many residents especially those who have lived for decades in the pre-1963 Georgian bedsits which must comply with the new legislation - our businesses in this historic location are suffering and change must be fostered now. Who is prepared to intervene? This is a proto-type that can be nurtured and inspire similar communities throughout Ireland. We need to look at what we have, the history, the advantages, and remove a lot of the pessisism and fear.

Brian Hayes, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works in his article in the Independent on 9th May 2013 about the OPW undertaking major rationalisation of its 'large and diverse portfolio of properties across the country in order to reduce Government spending on office accommodation. This is indeed much needed in the battle against waste and surplus to requirement. However, while optimising space to help staff deliver services, there is a need to be creative to make available the vacant space that will in time become an eyesore. These buildings left vacant are not a source of rates to the local community, they are a cost that increases over time. The time is now to be pro-active and not allow urban decay to embed itself.

Create urban villages. Get people focused and neighbourly. Let the day workers interact with the residents (it is time to return to the culture of the pubs) and lets tackle this ever deepening recession from the grassroots up. If we do this, we can put pressure on the Troika to 'write down' a portion of the debt. The truth is that It is denial and dissociation that has set in and people aren't grasping that 'write down of debt' becomes a necessity at times.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed May 15, 2013 16:37Report this post to the editors

6 years on and at last Jan O'Sullivan (Minister related to Housing) and her department recognise that certain estates are a hazard to society and they are to be bull-dozed. Let this be an opportunity to remove people from the unemployment register and create a learning curve for them about construction to destruction. This is the pathway for them to enter into the much needed renovation market, recent legislation has created aimed at eradicating the bed-sit flat without bathroom and other housing projects like Priory Hall that will have to comply with legislation also. It's time for the FAS renamed Solus! to get into scrub up mode and prepare people for the economic cycles that housing demand creates. They need to research how ANCO used to work, forget the £1 bn it takes to run their Office, stop the junkets and get to creating work for people. Unemployment among the young people has lasting effects on their mental health; so we really need to get focused and now on how to create markets that create work for people.

At last the separation of powers kicks into play and the rental sector becomes disentangled from harsh realities of upward only rent reviews. Towns, villages, urban villages, like Baggot Street Upper Village have witnessed casualty after casualty being pushed out of business leaving vacant spaces with to let and for sale signs with little or no hope for occupation for possibly years. This destroys the character of the urban space and ultimately smothers the soul of the people who occupy such spaces which are in real terms communities.

Dunnes like Campbell catering, such long-timer contributors and employers in our country, have challenged the landlords through the court system and well done. Now it is time for the small businesses, the hairdressers, the shops, the pubs, in our urban villages to grasp the nettle and put pressure on landlords, particularly those who are decades in ownership, to cut the rents and in line with the decision of Civil Court Judge Jacqueline Linnane. It is time for the business owners to take heart and make a stand against unfair, inequitable, unjust rent agreements that are stifling their profitability and forcing them towards bankruptcy. Austerity can be assuaged by a reduction in rents and this will create spending locally and all that it is needed is spending and more humane interaction. Each of us has a duty to the community we live in to ensure that employment is a key component and facilitated by all.

No doubt the banks will be disappointed by the Court award precedent to cut certain rents by 50% because this is their business. But frankly the Banks have been adopting bullying tactics in relation to customers. They pay insufficient interest to the people who keep deposits, they charge for accounts, for transactions and they have removed the friendly face from the local banks. They are playing the roll over staff policy to stop the interconnectedness that our communities need, especially now.

The time is now as the Courts tackle the Justice issue and for people to alert themselves and to start asking landlords to cut rents to a sufficient level that businesses can continue to operate, create spending and in turn at grassroots create the much needed economic growth that Ireland needs. Many of the properties are Namatised and NAMA is one of the biggest landlords in this country now and they are earning enough at the cost of those at grassroots trying to create economic activity.

Take heed of what B&Q (DIY) giant, Pamela Scott in Grafton Street, Campbells and Bewley's have successfully achieved through the courts system. Judge Jacqueline Linnane 'yesterday ordered a 35% reduction in the rent paid to Layden Properties in George's Street Limited for 10,500 sq ft of retail space in the company's store and head office in George's Street in Central Dublin'. For the small business person this is the beginning and it is now time to let the dice roll and start asking for fair rents. It is also worth noting that ancillary office space and storage areas...was also reduced by 50% ie £15 to £7.50 per square foot and £10 to £5 respectively.

Judge Linnane went on to say and this is worth grasping that:-

"The economy is in recession, there is a high rate of unemployment and there has been a fall in retail sales and a decline in concsumer spending".....Now listen to what the Judge says .... it is the Judge in this case that knows the basic economics!

It is worth taking a visual appraisal of what the experts for Dunnes Stores valued at £225,600 as the rent per year BUT the Landlord's experts claimed it should be £717,000 per annum. It is time to say NO .... it is time for FAIR RENTS.

Urban abandonments and derelictions need to be challenged

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sat May 18, 2013 16:00Report this post to the editors

'It is worth taking a visual appraisal of what the experts for Dunnes Stores valued at £225,600 as the rent per year BUT the Landlord's experts claimed it should be £717,000 per annum. It is time to say NO .... it is time for FAIR RENTS'

....but Comyn this is about the people who can afford to resort to the courts (for civil related matters), what about the small business person to be found throughout this country who are stand alone's and struggling day to day with a question whether their business will survive another week of this damning economic depression. People remain apathetic in Ireland - Why? Segregation used to apply to religion in this country - you were either catholic or protestant but now we have a new kind of segregation and that is individualism and this is the rock on which small businesses will perish.

We have to return to community/neighbourhood involvement. Hard times can only be overcome by people forming into collectives and communities. Baggot Street Upper Village is often referred to in these postings so just let's take its character and add to it the invididuals who must be struggling to remain in business. We need to take account that a variety of rents apply to such businesses but by standing alone there is no real impetus that can be placed on Government or by the courts as in the Dunnes Stores successful case for the ordinary punter trying to make a living. Who cares about them? We know at gut level that the rents that apply to these small businesses are grossly unfair and we now that they pay penal rates also. We are facilitating an Exchequer to attempt to get blood from a stone. We need urgent common sense.

Next time you visit your local village; engage with a little curiousity. If as has happened in Baggot Street Upper Village, buildings have been vacated like the FAS Office, Baggot Street Community Hospital, the Golden Pages, and then reduced staff in say the banks, and other businesses, it is time to ask if these people are being punished by the rent they have to pay, the rates they have to pay, the water rates, the insurance. The fixed costs of each business compares to what income is to the home. These people need to make cut-backs but they can't because power in entities, be they landlords or Government via commercial rates are fixed until they can no longer make ends meet.

FAIR RENTS - FAIR RATES ensures Fixity of Tenure and creation of local market spaces which in turn leads to community and it is collectivism not individualism that will help Ireland return to economic growth.
Today Lansdowne invites the French and there is a taste of what it business used to be like it. Let's take the reminder and work to sustain our communities.

author by Jonathan - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Mon May 20, 2013 13:07Report this post to the editors

I am surprised that there is not much media coverage in relation to Johnny Ronan's recent court cases in Dublin. Rohan who presently owes NAMA in the region of £2.6 Billion is still showing the arrogance of the Celtic Tiger approach to people who pay and owe him rents. He won't re-negotiate, no quarter given - he just wants the idiotic law to stay as it is ie upward only.

Small businesses are being squeezed; people are losing their jobs while Black Beard Ronan squires around the Continents. Walking in Rathmines this morning, and talking to an elderly couple, the woman said, we lost half of our pension through the corruption of the banks - the only little bit of enjoyment we had was renting a movie and now it is closed down due to the overly excessive rents - Xtravision - I sadly had to tell her the same has happened in Baggot Street Upper Village and Sandymount. We all know that Fine Gael are a right wing party but Labour should hold their heads in shame.

Jonathan

author by Comyn - Urban Abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sat May 25, 2013 15:48Report this post to the editors

But what about buildings that are both architecturally splendid, in prime locations, close by to the National concert hall that are now home to asylum seekers, men, women, children who have become teenagers and older. They are positioned like an oasis but in a desert because they housed here and forgotten about. The Irish Times article written by Patrick Freyne titled 'Refugees endure mind-numbing tedium, insecurity and over-crowding' needs to be read and merits the attention of Indymedia Ireland's Urban abandonments and dereliction to record how a 'forgotten people' can be housed on our shores with many questions unanswered.

Hatch Street private nursing home 1958 was often accompanied by a notice in the Irish Times to say a child was born to a family. Shamefully now it is another kind of home to young asylum children and from the article many of them live in an environment of fear - fear to go to the bathroom at night thereby necessitating a 'pot' for their needs. For the people of Ireland, we need to be asking questions now about these 'behind the walls' architectural significant buildings, in prime locations?. Who owns them? What rent do our Government agencies pay to the owners/landlords each year? Is it upward only rental that applies? Does the Government authority pay way above the odds for the provision of this accommodation for asylum seeker families with the attitude of who cares about refurbishment, just keep them quiet and hidden? The Irish Times article shows pictures of near squalid conditions behind the walls. Is this acceptable at a time that our religious orders are being made stand accountable and transparent for the shameful practices of the Magdalen Laundries and other such horror stories relating to poor peoples' lives?

Hatch Street is neither abandoned or derelict but the lives of the asylum seekers housed here is both about abandonment and dereliction but in this case it is the dereliction of duty by the State. Destitution and forgotten about at a time that our employment rate soars and people faced with eviction from their homes due to the economic crisis, does not mean that we should forget the people who seek asylum in Ireland. Africa Day is near. These people are asked to live in one of the most elitist areas in Dublin in a property that from the outside is outstanding on £19.10 per week (£9.60 for children) - they are not allowed either to work or study. They are subject to be moved or even be deported at short notice. These people come from the Congo (war at its worst prevails eg Kony), Cameroon, Afghanistan. People share rooms. Many are educated.

The structure on the outside far from what resembles within. Money is the strong determinant of keeping vulnerable people like asylum seekers hidden away. The money is the rent paid most probably at the height of the Celtic Tiger to often absentee landlords, moving upwards only, with no obligations to improve the conditions in which people live.

If this applies to asylum seekers, it also applies to the homeless. Beware of the creation of industries that pay landlords at the expense of those made vulnerable by a society without a moral compass.

Comyn

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Mon May 27, 2013 15:56Report this post to the editors

We need a little cross fertilisation on this site. Well done Lainey Quinn, a 23 year old Dubliner who has written a gem about our City's derelict landmarks in news@metroherald.ie.

Apathy creeps up slowly and suddenly a building fades into the landscape and becomes derelict. How do we stop the process, in particular, where the buildings represent the soul of our society and deserve saving? This can include the boarding up of houses in Moyross in Limerick to the neglect of the former landmark Baggot Street Community hospital once known as the (Royal City of Dublin) hospital. Too easy it is to blame the recession and allow this potential dereliction take over.

Lainey Quinn started off just taking photos, as so many tourists do when they visit Ireland, and she began to value the historical nuances and as often is the case, their historical architectural attributes of the City's many historical but derelict landmarks.

Shame on us this year of the Gathering 2013. How many emigrants took the boats from Dun Laoghaire decades ago, who now will once more visit. Well done to Lainey's photo in Monday's Metro Herald (May 27th 2013) because we now know what they will see and shame on us, (especially at a time when endeavour should create markets), is a shameful grafitti dischevelled Dun Laoghaire baths .... these baths were built over 170 years ago. They offered then what people would want now if it was properly marketed to them, the sea, with fresh water, a choice of hot or cold water, sulphur and seaweed baths. They say Dun Laoghaire and Rathdown Co Council are trying to re-develop this remnant of historical times but excuses prevail and opportunities of retaining infra-structure with potential to create employment, tourism promotion, facilities for Dublin in its entirety, are snarled up in the red tape of pure bureaucracy and non decision. Where is the momentum? The opportunity exists because the labour is cheap and abundant so time to upskill in a positive way using state funds overpaid entities like the Office of Public works and the other relevant semi-state over pampered bodies.

2016 and the anniversary of the Rising is imminent. The photo of the wheels to Bolands Mill which was built in the 1830's and which operated as a commercial mill for over 100 years, forms a significant part of the history that changed Ireland into a Republic. It is now that these near derelict locations written into our history can be preserved and used to promote peace instead of war, as they stand as monuments to the origins of our Republic. Lainey's photo of the Been and Gun: the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park, was built in 1735 and it combines the history of colonial Ireland and potential Republic Ireland. Why, because it was used as a store of the Irish Army's guns during the 1916 Rising. What an opportunity to upskill young people who are on the dole queues or in St. Patrick's Insitution for young offenders.

Richmond Mental Asylum or Grangegorman which was opened in 1814 is the source of another kind of history that we need a reminder of. It is about the lunacy act, mental health and vulnerable people then and now. We need to be reminded because we need to remain learned about mental health and why the stigma applies. The photo taken by Lainey of the grate impinges sharply about hardship and abandonment of people who were different. The unkempt pile of blankets in the rooms is a record of what happened to people, all over Europe, as well as Ireland in these asylums. The teddy bear covered in moss from Grangegorman is poignant and should find its way to a museum. Baggot Street Hospital is in need of a make-over, maybe we could have a proper medical museum which would aim to de-stigmatise mental health. Soon Grangegorman will be subsumed into a new identity and creation with third level education being the major provider.

Lainey's article is worth reading. The photos should be added to this posting but how is up to someone else!. Awareness will create motivation and the time is now to be creative.

author by Comyn - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Thu May 30, 2013 16:43Report this post to the editors

The media indicates that the property tax drive under the auspices of the Revenue Commissioners is most successful with 8 out of 10 householders making a return. If so, it is now time for real work to be done and to find those who have more the mentality of the avoidance/evasion rogue and seek always to move under the radar. This group of course includes the numerous exiles who choose not to pay tax in Ireland (the Bilderbergers) but who gladly use the infrastructure of the home country without the sense of due diligence necessary to be a citizen. It is these people, we hope that the Revenue will tackle first for not paying their 'property tax' because there is one thing we know about these exiles, they own or have systems in place to organise, their property portfolio in their home country, Ireland, so often their place of birth. The Revenue consistently proves itself to be from the time of the banking scandals in the 1980's, to the activities of the CAB, to the successful amnesties during the Fianna Fail period to be a sleek, targeted, hound-dog in search of a bone, slimline version of equivalent public sector departments, that works. Let's see what happens now. Ireland's balance sheet has a positive entry but now we need to know that the money is spent and not wasted, particularly in the bureaucracy that stifles our economy.

To those of us who have paid our property tax, our priority should be to ensure that the 85% promised is designated to the local councils. We need to get smart and into urban and rural revival and for this we need a designation of an adequate percentage of what we paid by the due date May 28th followed by the brief extension to 8 pm 29th May 2013. The fear factor worked but now that the contracts to pay as of July 1st are in place. Now we can accept that we comply with the commitments and agreement to property tax by other socialist parties throughout Europe. We have witnessed the efficiency of the Revenue driven impetus to collect this property tax, it is now imperative that what has been diligently collected is not wasted in the bureaucracy of other government departments who are quite blatantly inefficient.

Yes, what comes to mind is the article in today's Irish Independent by Conor Kane. Quite appropriately, as legislation rushes through the Dail, President Michael D. Higgins, a man who is about 'diversity in unity' through his vast life experience ad involvement in politics especially Labour, has said in a speech to the residents of St. Columba's Hospital in Kilkenny that 'managerial jargon is in his sights as he toys with the idea of introducing a "Bureaucrat of the Year" award...he went further and referenced what we encounter endlessly today in the public sector particularly through a "managerial non-speak" and he states the need to return to what is "real" in life. Again, let us defer to the wisdom of our learned President and add that the problem is the dichotomy between those who have and those who have not, be it wealth, power, money, position, and those who are citizens who give in other ways, which he quite aptly summed up as "We began to speak impersonally to each other". President Higgins follows on to say and here is the challenge to our society in need of zest and motivation to recover: "I was thinking of having an award for Bureaucrat of the Year, something like the Tidy Towns competition where you could start locally and build up".

Tidy Towns worked. Why because people worked together in their towns, villages and now we need to include urban villages (communities, neighbourhoods). The psychology is tapped and the outcomes can be witnessed by all, in recession and in Tiger days, so why not use that Revenue model of 'mean machine' workability without bureaucracy and create opportunities for the young generation and in particular the many people in the age 41 to 51 deeply embedded in this negative equity crisis and create action and answers that can seen

'Gobbledygook' is what has happened Reportedly the President's word concerning bureaucracy. But in our effort to curb wasteful expenditure we need to tackle this: How can it be reported that in 2012 that remittances to Nigeria (one of the wealthiest countries in the world due to Oil/Shell) amounted to £500 million (Half Billion). ECB has obligations to those within the EC to protect them. Ireland's Central bank can no longer use capital controls or interest rates without ECB sanction but Ireland being so vulnerable now should have power at Central Bank to impose capital controls to remittances to African countries. Is this naive or common sense? Western Union and others - are they regulated by the Central Bank?

Comyn

500 million ...nigerian

author by Blake - Urban Abandonmentspublication date Fri May 31, 2013 16:32Report this post to the editors

Toxic Assets Agency told we don't want what you have to offer?
by Blake - Urban Abandonments and dereliction Fri 31 May 2013 04:30:24 PM CEST
Remittances from America and UK in the 1930's time of near economic devastation in the newly formed Republic of Ireland gave Ireland the opportunity to be a competitor in world markets and ultimately enabled it to join the EEC in 1973. The remittances Comyn refers to of £500 million by Nigerians in 2012 is a similar process. In most cases, we can presume that the "Bilderbergers" and Shell oil company magnets are the wealth owners and the remittances that emanate from Ireland create enterprise for those who live in absolute poverty in Nigeria and in so many African countries. Sadly, the timing for the sending of such remittances and those we are not informed about is disturbing because we are experiencing poverty of different parameters, but poverty all the same.

NAMA is our State toxic assets agency and we have plenty of property for sale. Recently NAMA has been successful with its holding of distressed property stock in the UK and gains have been made. They are less successful in Ireland. We know that more people than ever exist on the social housing list, we know that the banks will be foreclosing soon on delinquent borrowers, we know that the sanitary standards of most pre-63 Georgian/Victorian houses in bedsits no longer comply with legislation, so it is not unreal to assume that the housing stock in NAMA is needed not in the future but yesterday. What has happened? Its those awful words again 'managerial and bureaucracy' that President Michael D. Higgins used in his recent speech in Kilkenny.

Apparently as many as 2,000 properties offered by the State's toxic assets agency are not suitable and have been turned down! They say NAMA 'is dragging its feet' to hand over houses for social housing. However, Brendan McDonagh, Chief Executive in NAMA refutes this and claims that as many as 4,200 homes were offered to local authorities and homeless charities and half of these were rejected. 2008 was the time of the financial crisis; by 2010 NAMA was in place and the blatant need of property for people without access to homes is rising rapidly so why is it that NAMA and the local authorities/charities are prancing around, basically leaving properties vacant while there are people in real need.

Surely the local authorities and charities need the stock, full stop. The excuse is they are looking mainly for one bedroom apartments but Focus Ireland and other co-operatives are ahead of the posse and have taken up this stock and well done to them. Mr McDonagh, Chief Executive, at the launch of NAMA's annual report recently said that 'properties they had offered had been frequently turned down because authorities said they were unsuitable and in the wrong areas - "We can bring a horse to water, we can make the units available and say this is what we have, but the local authorities and the approved housing bodies have to decide what they want'. McDonagh added that NAMA were not in the position to commit money to finish off certain developments and there is an urgent need for local authorities or housing bodies to sign the necessary agreements to lease them. This delay is unforgiveable. Finishing off estates, apartment complexes should be well completed by now and people living in homes provided by the State. Waste not should be want not and bureaucracy is not acceptable. NAMA will be the winner here and you may ask why because the private equity bidders are circling and they are purchasing blocks of apartments and it will be their decision who to let apartments to.

Don't forget the lost generation of people who worked in the civil service or worked in the large department stores who came to Dublin and lived in flats in Rathmines, Ranelagh, Phibsboro, Ballybough. Take a look at these shabby houses that have been homes for many for decades now and ask who is going to help them live out their retirement? These people are not yet on the social housing list and probably know little about same but they exist often getting housing allowance for sub-standard unregulated shameful accommodation and live a meagre existence on disability or pensions. These people following the legislation in February 2013 to upgrade sanitary provisions for bedsits/rooms will be without homes and it is these people who become one step away from homelessness.

We need housing stock assessed and occupied because ghost estates, empty apartment blocks will ultimately have to be destroyed or will be bought at knock down prices by private equity companies from abroad with an eye for investment returns ie asset value and income.

For people interested in the history of Ireland over the decade 1913 to 2013 should look at www.rte.ie/centuryireland. Slums, infanticide, poverty.... let us not lose what we have gathered.

Blake

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Jun 04, 2013 15:54Report this post to the editors

Fascinating. We can witness the indelible hand of history through photographs taken, words written and we can step back in time to assess just what becoming a Republic is all about and most importantly the period of time we need to research the peaks and troughs that dictate progress. I think we can conclude progress was made but then maybe not and it is time to take a look back, to assess.

The slums then, we wish never to experience again but are we confident enough to ensure that this cannot happen? We need to enquire, we need to question, we need to listen, we need to investigate to ensure progress is a priority on the agenda especially after the boom to bust crisis of an over ambitious banking sector, cowboy developer class mingled in with a certain albeit small % of a eulogised political elite class who so far have escaped the DPP en route to prison for their blatant white collar criminal practices. The point is what have learned and how do we move forward? Time will sort out those privileged elite entrepreneurs who escaped to the UK/US for their one year bankruptcy option. If they fail to be truthful, this is the sword on which they will perish so just wait and see, if they learned anything.

1913 and Dublin Housing Question, Sanitary and Insanitary written by Charles Dawson, Esq makes interesting reading (check the above website). Conditions for people in Dublin a garrison city were among the worst in Europe. Those Georgian houses of the elites proved poor alternatives in rooms allocated to families often 10 or more people. However then as now, social reformers respond to appalling circumstances. 1913 was no different. What is interesting at a time when our city councils seem to be floundering is that among the greatest of the pioneers and reformers in Dublin in 1913 was Dublin Corporation. It is in this period that it erected several of blocks of dwellings for the working class people providing suitable, sanitary accommodation for thousands. They employed care-takers for obvious reasons and this in turn raised the standard of cleanliness and ensured protection of the properties. The truth is this is the proto-type of what we have in Dublin today, but where Dublin City Council managed to renovate some, there are more in neglect and and which need attention. The worst situation being in St Teresa's Gardens where only a few people wait in hope of refurbishment by the City Council. It was at this time that the Corporation commenced the scheme for the payment of rates and encouraged owners of premises valued at and under £8 to maintain their property. They reduced the rates by 25% off the municipal rates in all cases where these premises were certified by the Public Health Department to be in sanitary condition.

The Corporation did more. It granted almost free sites and enabled Arisans' Dwellings companies to be established and this was a major move forward to assist the very poor. At that time, an establishment of an Association for the Very Poor was started by Sir Charles Cameron; the Civil Service society, the Merchant Warehouse Society, the Derby and Everton Building Societ, the Working's Mens Building Society, the Alexandra College Society, the Trinity College College Social Service Society; add to this the Guinness family, the Earl of Meath and so many more philantropists.

Social need and reformers in another century ie Ireland 2013 need to look to the equivalents of the above benefactors and philantropists who provided proper sanitary accommodation for people who were poor who were in need. The message surely is to the Apples', the Intels', the Microsofts' is to say - you have the infrastructure of a near founder member of the EU, an educated workforce, and English speaking, so now is the time for them to acknowledge the favourable tax breaks we enticed them with and be fair. It is Robin Hood time. If your corporate rate tax is 12% and you manage to overall pay 2%, the time is here to review history and give back a little to Ireland. It is called Corporate Social Responsibility.

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Jun 07, 2013 16:23Report this post to the editors

Philantropists, social engineers, private equity groups, groups like Cluid, Habitat, SVP, are todays business and charity entities who in times of economic recession are there to chase opportunities and make investments.

The name this time is Kennedy Wilson, the location is Parnell Square, the objective is a new £55 million cultural quarter. The development will operate through a charitable trust or foundation which is to be put in place by Kennedy Wilson. The details can be found in Dublin City Council report.

Readers of Urban abandonments - here is your chance to interact with Dublin City Council; it has advertised for 'expressions of interest from companies capable of devising plans for a new city library and civic plaza at the location'. We need this urban regeneration especially in the tardy environs of a once quite historic Sackville Street, later named O'Connell Street. The opportunity is now for the people of this part of Dublin to become involved in the potential to make us proud of the main thoroughfare of our capital City, Dublin. Gordon Brothers have bought Clery's that renowned Department story with its own narrative of events and we await their plans albeit being a private equity firm, they could sell it on to another. The GPO awaits a decision, likewise the Abbey Theatre is seeking an alternative setting. We seem to still be awaiting a decision on the house in Moore Street so intimately connected with the 1916 Rising (check out Indymedia). We need to ask what is the theme that underlies the re-generation of this area of our City. The Spire is mordernity but what can we do to regenerate and revive this exceptionally wide street, it is time now to plan, raise funds, create and most importantly imbibe a cultural sense of awareness.

The Duke of Leinster in the 1800's said words to the effect wherever I go fashion will follow so there is a challenge for Merrion Square, Fitzwilliam Square, Dartmouth Square, Ranelagh, the Canal and so on. All are about creating a nucleus for people to gather so let's hope investors will be provided with tax incentives to revive those Georgian homes, so often in outmoded offices, or worse bedsits that create our City. The City is a living breathing space and a far better alternative for the social and cultural needs of people to that ribbon development that has destroyed a lot of our countryside.

Amazing to read a sign over a shop in Dublin 8 - Dolphin's barn adverstising facilities for sending money to Nigeria. An earlier poster reported that £500 m was sent by remittances to Nigeria in 2012. We don't need this money leaving our shores especially now. We need people investing in our economy and creating work. The area is marked by houses that are inhabitable or should be and we need to stop this before the dereliction starts. This is cultural and historical.

Kennedy Wilson involvement and the need for a design team is a positive move forward. Facilitation of the consultancy programme is quite a novel idea. They are called 'conversation cafe events'. Two have already taken place but only 35 people attended. Two more are to be carried out on June 12 at the Dublin City Library and archive, Pearse Street, and on June 14 at the Teachers' Club in Parnell Square. They also plan a mini-street festival on June 14th in the north city centre to highlight the project.

The IFSC started out as an idea in the minds of two people; they created a market; it worked for a period; people got greedy but the key point is Dublin as City and Ireland as a country made a significant leap of faith and progress to the next stage.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sun Jun 16, 2013 15:53Report this post to the editors

"Conversation cafe events" were held June 12th and 14th at two locations to discuss the development and regeneration that is planned for Parnell Square and it is important to get feedback from these events so that people can become involved in the urban regeneration that is required to move Ireland to the next stage in its evolution. This area requires immediate attention for the social component that involves people who still live in houses that are non compliant with the recent legislation that will force landlords to remove tenants so that they can upgrade the properties to comply with sanitary provisions and other requirements. Many landlords will react by asking their tenants to leave and sell the properties. If you look at the property sections of the newspapers, already you see houses in Fitizwilliam Square, Parnell Square, Merrion Square, Mountjoy Square, Phibsboro, South Circular Road, Harrington Street, that once were homes to many people now for sale. We know the property is out-dated and sub-standard but the human side of us must ask the question what will happen to the people who have lived in these houses often for decades.

Who voices these peoples' plight? Imagine living in a room, a bedsit, for the last twenty years and without warning your landlord contacts you to say that the lease (which effectively means little, if it even exists) is to be terminated and that he/she is giving you several weeks to locate a new home. There is no obligation on the part of the landlord to find you alternative accommodation and invariably where rent allowance is paid, your chance of finding alternative accommodation in a market where the price of rents is rising, leaves you very close to being homeless if a family member cannot provide support. This makes it scary times for some, often most vulnerable people.

What can we do? We need to be aware and we need to urge politicians to ensure that this vulnerable group of people have a service directly provided for them, so that they are transferred to suitable properties within the environs they live and that they do not fall into the category of homeless. The question we should ask ourselves now, is why the legislation which gave the landlords 4 years to upgrade the properties, did not go a stage further and make provision for the people who would need alternative accommodation, making them a priority on the social housing list? These people have lived in communities and now will basically be evicted from their homes. How do they find a new home especially if they have paid low rents to compensate for poor standard accommodation? Hopefully, these "Conversation Cafe Events" will ensure that newly developed cultural centres will make provision for the social housing need. People are essential components of these environments and it would be shameful to displace to 'foreign territories'.

Practically, one would expect that tax breaks would have been put in place to encourage these landlords of old non compliant properties to commit to retention of these houses as flats/apartments to keep communities diverse. In other major cities, these properties have been renovated, efficiently, successfully and are sold on the open market making it possible to retain a density of population in the urban spaces instead of sending people to the suburbs.

Having met some of these people recently who have been asked to vacate their homes, the level of fear is what shocks you. Rent allowance is now out of synch with market rents and as the legislation is enfored, more and more people will be added to the housing list ie if they are not made homeless.

author by O'Malley - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sat Jun 22, 2013 15:57Report this post to the editors

A homeless man sits patiently outside Tesco with a tattered old paper cup. He is one of the lucky people who has secured his bed for the night at a hostel in Camden Hall, which is soon to be closed, no doubt for obvious reasons. He was away for a couple of months; he is one of the casualties of the construction collapse. He had visited his son who has just completed his leaving.

Turn on the European news. Across Europe and particularly the periphery couuntries which include Ireland and they say as many as one in two people under the age 25 have no work or potential to get a job in the immediate future. In another generation, these people would already be working, have started their own families and would have mortgages on their homes. Now we have crisis, a self created economic war that is the result of recklessness. We have the parents in their sixties who have gone guarantor for their children, we have those in second relationships who got mortgages because of naivety and over supply of cheap money and now we have a young generation awaiting inheritance or simply living at home.

The Greeks have already suffered the full onslaught of the Banks and foreclosures, as have the Spanish and the Italians. Ireland: it is now we will experience the onslaught. People who for the passed five years have been living out the horrors of indebtedness and fear can hide no longer. The Banks have secured the right to change the Central Bank code of conduct on 'mortgage arrears'. This code or rule book is now to be radically changed, and people need to alert themselves to the horrors that lie ahead for their fellow human beings. Next Thursday, 27th June 2013 is the day for change. The lobbying by the banks has paid off, for them and let us add yet again! According to Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor, the Irish Independent - 'the most controversial change is the dropping of the 12 month moratorium on respossessions of homes if borrowers are in arrears but are co-operating with their lender'. Instead of 12 months, it will be two months before the banks can act:

Action: cogniscence essential now for those in mortgage debt. Homeowners in arrears and who have received an offer by the bank but who decide to turn it down.... will now only be given two months protection before the Banks can act and issue legal proceedings. The end date now becomes far closer and the outcome of eviction for more real. Lobbying is a powerful mechanism and the view of Brendan Burgess askaboutmoeny.com is worth evaluation. He may be right when he says "Some people will use the 12 month moratorium to bury their head in the sand and not face up to their responsibilities".... these responsibilities form part of that 'moral hazard' argument.

The time now is for banks to assess their clients 'statement of means'; to eek out those 'delinquent borrowers' who have no chance of making their repayments and evict them; to search for those emigrants who may now fall within the group highlighted by Central Bank Governor Patrick Honan who said 'that an examination of arrears cases has indicated that large numbers could make payments - if they get a deal from their bank or shift payments payments away from other, less essential bills".

Yes, it is the Personal Insolvency Legislation time now and not unlike a divorce, the statement of means will determine so much. Watch out for those strategic defaulters is the new motto of the bankers. The courts will back them up, if like a good divorce and a statement of means reveals deceit.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonmentspublication date Sat Jun 29, 2013 16:36Report this post to the editors

Eviction is the word. The Code of Conduct has been altered. The banks are forced to act now. The Personal Insolvency bill is about to be released and things are changing in Ireland. The Banks are tasked now to seek out the difference between the 'Mortgage Delinquents and the Strategic Defaulters' and the implication here is surveillance and private investigators. On the Vincent Browne TV3 show the other night a man from Maynooth University referred to the US and the forensic studies that reveal that as many as 35-40% are strategic defaulters. Others on the panel said No. What we do know is that there is an endgame in sight and there will ultimately be those hopeless cases who got trapped into mortgages when in another decade they would have been on the social housing list. The banks will have to take responsibility here. These people must receive write-downs in debt and it should be sooner rather than later, because these people have suffered enough.

Social housing is in chaos. The truth is that public private partnerships, affordable housing ousted the traditional modus operandi of the State which built houses annually to provide for people in need. Now we know that this list for social housing is in excess of 100,000 and people are struggling either living in the rental sector on rent allowance in a rising rent market limited adequate property supply or living with their parents which if we follow the patterns in Greece, Italy and Spain, will become the norm here in Ireland.

The 'Mortgage Delinguents' need to escape the chains that bind them. The Banks need to give them debt forgiveness and if possible some compensation that will make the housing authorities do a deal that transfers the ownership of the house to them without the family having to transfer into the rental sector.

Vision and Dublin: 5 years on from the Celtic Tiger and NAMA has wisely sold its near profitable properties particularly those in the UK first and foremost. Now it is time to take a look at the home front. Take a look at those apartments on Merrion Road, part of the McNamara dream and ask what happens now. Then take a look at Dublin 8 and ask what are the plans here? Then there is the Gasworks - change is already in place here. It is worth taking a look at the rental costs in excess of £2,000 per month. Apartment blocks will no longer be invidual units owned by people but the block owned by a company ie Ireland's new breed of Landlord with motives similar to Famine times.

26th June 2013, Bill Nowlan wrote a most informative article in the Irish Times. He writes about the changes that are happening in Ireland and now. The properties are built, vacant, and marketable. The private equity groups are circling and they are buying and they are changing how property ownership will be determined in the future. These people are looking for the asset vaulation appreciation and the rent roll that moves upwards.

According to Nowlan "The new way of property has arrived which is short leases, multi-tenanting, active management, uneven valuations and ongoing refurbishment'.

We need to sell our stock but we also need to be aware that some of this stock should be part of provision for the social housing need and that we don't necessarily want the private equity moguls taking over our social housing provision.

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Jul 04, 2013 16:48Report this post to the editors

What about these people who will be the real dispossessed?

We all know that people have had to live in sub-standard conditions but can anyone explain to me how legislation was introduced in February 2013 - the aim being to rid the city of sub-standard accommodation without any provision for the thousands of vulnerable people who would be evicted in the name of progress. The most basic requirement is to provide alternative accommodation for these people and no provision is made.

The objectives of ridding Ireland of sub-human accommodation cannot be faulted but the lack of provison for people who lived, some for decades in these bedsits, is scandalous. The arm of the law puts pressures on the landlords and invariably they are taking the opportunity to sell on rather than temporarily re-homing their tenants in B&B's and upgrading their properties to comply with the standards required by the new legislation.

Who do these people turn to? For a start they are supposed to be computer literate. Each government body directs them to another body eg Threshold, PRTB, or to NABCO, Cluid, Hail, Vincent De Paul or the present mire of Section 23 buy-to-let inexperienced landlords. The first port of call is the politician and then off you go on the rounds in the hope that some other private sector landlord will accept the rent allowance. These people need a dedicated cohort within the public sector who can ensure that they are not made homeless or left in the Bed & Breakfast, hostel.

Urban abandonments and dereliction should bring to mind the plight of these people especially now. Today Allsop have been stopped dead in their tracks from auctioning off properties of people who are in financial distress. Many of the properties for sale have sitting tenants and their circumstances are pitiful and shameful.

Ireland is now at the stage of tackling problems relating to property but in its wake is massive hardship. The Banks are now empowered to evict; the social housing sector sold out to many tenants who bought out their homes depleting the stock for people in need; many who would have been eligible for social housing were caught out by the Celtic Tiger dream of owning their own property and are now the 'mortgage delinquents' who if they qualify for social housing now should have debt forgiveness granted to them; and then add those who have lived as tenants of that shadow economy property market ie pre 63 who are now being flushed out by legislation that says landlords must refurbish "flats" into modern apartments and family homes. From now on, 'the aim now for the rental property sector of 'shadow' origins is to include a register of all houses in multi-occupancy use, with each one being regularly inspected to protect against "unauthorized conversions".

Minister Shatter. Pre 63 properties. Many are receiving eviction notices. Please allocate a dedicated service to ensure they are not made homeless or placed in the Industry of hostels like those provided by Victory Evangelical Church

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Jul 09, 2013 16:14Report this post to the editors

Don't be afraid to ask for help.

A person living in a bedsit for 12 years or 27 years can be served with eviction notices and thrown into a totally stressed, distressed situation. They say a problem shared is a problem halved and in these turbulent times people need to be aware that hardship is thrown upon the most vulnerable in our society. We need to keep informed and we need to communicate to ensure these people are not added to the homeless list and left to live in B&B's and hostels for the remainder of their lives. Their only crime being that they received rent allowance and passed it on with an additional payment to a landlord of a pre-63 non compliant property of bedsits to current legislation dated February 2013. We only need to look to the chaos in London where the homeless are now being removed and sent to other counties, basically against their will and without regard to their rights. It is the industry of bed and breakfast and hostels that has created a dependent culture and the excessive costs of same have resulted in this drastic action of displacement of people. Ireland needs to be alert now to the number of people who will be looking to rent properties/homes and to note that rents are rising in Ireland and most likely will continue to do so, based on the increased demand.

Look out for the most vulnerable people because these are the silent potentially dispossessed.

Again we need to ask the question why no provision was made for these people when the legislation was drafted over 4 years ago. Surely it is common sense that if a landlord/owner of a Pre-63 house or other non compliant rental properties has failed to comply with improving the standard of the property as required by law in the last four years, they by moral and legal right should be asked to make a significant contribution based on the years the person has lived in these houses to ensure they get a replacement home be it on the social housing list or in the private sector?

Urban abandonment and dereliction is within the control of the ordinary people of Ireland.
The Troika steps up the threats to the Central Bank who in turn tells the banks .... evict. The strategic defaulters may be okay but the others face the social housing list or the increasing rental market or straight forward trading down. The banks need to watch their brief because Blackstone, Cerberus and other private equity hawks are the new moguls of institutional investment in property who are coming to town and buying up properties and recreating what was once home ownership dedication to rental property and the new landlord species or REITS.

author by O'Malley - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Jul 18, 2013 16:01Report this post to the editors

Jesse Jackson.

News is that the system can work sometimes for some people but communication is essential. However, if a person who has lived for 12 years in a bedsit gets a Dublin City Council flat, surely the owner of the property evicting him should make a contribution for his loyalty as a tenant and even more so if he is in receipt of rent allowance. Many of these properties have as many as 10-12 people living in bedsits. The owners had 4 years notice to bring them up to an acceptable standard to comply with the law.

What we need to know now is that there is a revised code of conduct on mortgage arrears and it is about speeding up the process of effecting repossessions. The new code, as of July 1st 2013, determines how the lenders can deal with people behind with their mortgages. The banks have been given greater powers to investigate borrowers and in particular those who can be categorised as mortgage delinquents and worse again those who can be called 'Strategic Defaulters'. Lenders now have a reduced to three months grace period and clarifications now apply to the definition of unco-operative borrowers. These unco-operative borrowers will now receive a letter prior to the lender classifying them as unco-operative. This will accelerate the arrears resolution process. This begs the question about Supply and Demand and if property prices will fall or rise.

For people who are vulnerable - the housing law has been tightened further. We can expect a new code of conduct to regulate housing for over 27,000 vulnerable people and elderly people. This sector has been unregulated and therefore subject to abuse up to now. Housing bodies will have to render details of all who sign up, including the rent they are collecting and how much is outstanding. An interesting point is that these bodies must state how many of their properties are empty and they have to outline how much they are spending on repairs and management.

Hopefully for people in the private sector living in apartment blocks and who are forced to pay unacceptable fees in excess of £3,000 annually, some form of regulation will be applied also.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and dereliction publication date Fri Jul 19, 2013 16:36Report this post to the editors

Ghost estates destroy in particular our rural countryside emphasising how easy it is for properties to become derelict and become hazardous to people both physically, socially and most importantly impacting on their mental health. Where are all the promises to act "now" demolish the buildings and infrastructure and revert to agricultural land or play amenities. These developments provide opportunities to retrain some of the unemployed on these failed building sites and let people move forward.

Priory Hall is an absolute disgrace. Fault can be determined by the courts over time but the fact that the apartment complex requires certain standards of compliance to legislation is not sufficient excuse to leave people who are owners and many more on rent allowance in jeopardy and hardship year after year. Mellon the contractor is reported in the past to have gathered a contingent of people to go to Africa to build houses in the township for the locals. It is said that each volunteer raised up to 4,000 euros and gave of their time. Reports are happy homes for people without hope who saw a destiny of wrought iron townships being replaced with suitable homes.

Why not a similar initiative for Priory Hall and add to this the apartment block that went on fire last week which probably has displaced residents. If only an organiser could be appointed and again this could be used as a training project for people who are presently unemployed. Maybe our Mr Tax Exiles could be enterprising and create a fund for these poor vulnerable owners and renters of what once were their dream properties. Action is required urgently and especially as the plight of a young man, a father, who has chosen to die by suicide is reported in yesterday's newspaper. The blame does not rest with Priory Hall and the shannigans of the builders, the architects, the Dublin City Council but we can rest assured the fiasco had some impact. This man leaves a partner (without access to their home, be it a mortgage, or by rent allowance) and two small children age 8 and 2. The hidden stress culminates in a massive human cost when suicide becomes the only way out for a person.

The human cost is destroying the dream of home ownership and many people are suffering while others who are older and who have their homes bought pre-Celtic Tiger or who have their mortgages paid off. Today in the Irish Indepedent there is a letter by a person who can be contacted via the Editor. This is pressure. It begs the question is she one of the new coterie of people with mortgages in arrears who face eviction? When you read the letter it is hard to envisage what it must be like to live on the margins just because the banks went into overdrive and marketed and sold properties recklessly. In the UK banking misconduct is being introduced into legislation.

The person writes asking for 'Clarity'
The question: 'How much can a banking institution charge a person paying a mortgage?'

2007 Peak period. The person pays £342,000 (note stamp duty would paid on this amount) and that house is presently worth £140,000. Serious negative equity but the State has its stamp duty and the LPT also. The mortgage as a proportion of income was 56% 2.5 yrs ago - making it difficult enough to sustain but now it is 81% of income.

The person asks and so many more must now ask WHY?
Charges added on by Budgets aimed at fixing the massive budget deficit of £1 billion per month because of the wild west banking and reckless misconduct of bankers, developers, solicitors ( does anyone ever ask about Michael Lynn and all the people he represented - news is he is in Brazil so no extradition warrant can apply) and all those politicians who compromised themselves in changing agricultural land to housing designation making those farmers on the outskirts of Dublin and other cities very wealthy people. What our country received was a hideous urban sprawl with tragedies behind too many doorways.

The writer of the letter states that the charges referred to are: USC, pension-related deductions and consecutive rises in the mortgage rates to date. This person is down 600 euros per month based on the pay cuts and mortgage increases. Those hidden charges now need to be outed. We know the banks are crucifying those with deposits with charges and inadequate interest on deposits but we don't hear about the charges that apply to the 'delinquent borrowers'. We need to know because when you are in financial difficulties an apathy often descends and you are there to be preyed upon by the lenders.

The person then asks if 'a banking institution cannot simply keep increasing a mortgage interest rate to the point where previously a fully paid mortgage becomes unsustainable'.

Sadly they can. Interest rates are on the rise in the US and we rely on the ECB to hold rates at their current level. However, if you are in arrears, you need to be aware of all the hidden charges that apply. For example, now if you fail to pay your mortgage in a given month, and you have no overdraft and you go into the red, does this mean you pay charges now in place (£25 in certain banks). Add to this all the other what ifs!

Repossessions are on the way. Watch out for names of Private Equity groups called Blackstone and the changing face of property ownership to rental. Google them and you will find out that the banks need to watch out as Blackstone now the largest holder of properties in the US will determine markets going forward. They have arrived in Ireland and they are buying at massive discounts. Treat this as a need to know and ask if our Banks are really doing their homework to protect home ownership in Ireland.

Comyn

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Sun Jul 21, 2013 15:51Report this post to the editors

Fear abounds and silence destroys. Baggot Street Upper Village should be observed and sponsored as a proto-type for people to grasp just how tough it is on the margins of trying to make small to medium businesses tick over enough to survive. The landlords ie the owners of the properties that are leased to small businesses are being too greedy. The upward only clause is their credo and irrespective of the realities of the downturn in business, they just continue to charge too much.

Xtra-Vision had been a hub for over a decade in Baggot Street. All kinds of people had their own little ecosystem with the shop; for lots of us it was the 8 computers that engaged us with the internet and what it offers. The rumours are the rent was too high; some say the space cost as much as 140,000 euros and negotiation was not forth coming to reduce the rent when Xtra-vision went into examinership. Now it is vacant and advertised and the new tenant no doubt will be able to negotiate down the rent substantially, while the property stands vacant for months, if not years going forward. Meanwhile people have lost jobs, a neighbourhood has lost a business that contributed, and now there is the vacant premises to remind us all of that dreaded fear that goes with vulnerability and deep recession.

Then there is the FAS office, up to recently a venue for people to convene to seek employment. One would have thought that as the head office that Solus would retain the location and embed a culture of cross-fertilisation to expose people to employment opportunities and make a hub for employment initiative and job creation. Instead, the nucleus is but a payer to NAMA of rent and the question is does it pay rates to the local authority? Baggot Street Upper Village demands high rates and water rates from the small businesses yet it is suggested that semi-state buildings and HSE don't have to pay rates. If this is so, where is the initiative to re-invigorate the bedraggled once Royal City of Dublin hospital, an architectural gem from another century, into a thriving centre of motivation and employment. Instead, like the FAS office, not even the windows are cleaned these days.

If Baggot Street Upper village embedded with the environs of businesses like Sky, Bank of Ireland head office ( now in Burlington Road) the Mespil hotel, IBEC just over the bridge, HRB, the government offices, cannot create a 'silicon valley' hub of initiative, then what hope has the rest of Ireland?

Diageo are said to be the landlords of Searsons - what have these corporates to say about neighbourhood incentives? What about Tescos? Tescos have non disclosure of accounts benefits being resident in Ireland; yet in the North of Ireland they contribute a voluntary local tax to their community. Why not in Baggot Street? It's called the 'Tesco Tax'. With honour they should make payments to their local communities.

If it is Diageo who own Searsons - what are you doing for Baggot Street Upper Village - the Baggotonia of our great poets and artists. Take a look at the advantages we have and embrace the necessary corporate social responsibility that ensures the survival the community so that when Ireland embraces the 2013 Gathering tourism drive, the visitors will embrace the culture and their objective will be to return to Ireland. 2016 (entenary of the 1916 Rising) is mighty significant in geo politics and it is less than three years away.

More news from the street is that Eaton Manufacturing have taken over the offices of IBM on Pembroke Road. It already is advertising jobs so this is good news. However, we hope they have a good sense for community as Google have in Dublin 2. Do you know that for over the age of 55's Google provide one hour per week classes. This is what we need. We need communication. We need to know that landlords and especially not NAMA are charing fair rents for the fixity of tenure they expect.

The coffee shops in our little Village space are on their knees. Cutbacks of those little luxuries once served are now stripped to the bare bones yet these landlords are demanding exhorbitant rents. Rumour has it that the Bagel is gone and so is Roddy. Here every day for years, his staff loyal, his customers too but his franchise failed to negotiate on his behalf to get the rent down. It is said that the rent for the small space he had was 50,000 euros pa. It can't work as a business plan. Who owns these properties? Why can't the Department of Justice intervene and create equity in these harrowing times for small businesses. What if the Landlord is ultimately NAMA and they are imposing these unjust, inequitable rents on businesses.

Baggot Street Upper Village should, if the advantages were taken seriously' should embrace the words smart and sustainable urban areas as is the focus in the US and other countries.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonmentspublication date Fri Jul 26, 2013 16:46Report this post to the editors

A moral bankruptcy festered and the time for change is now.

Over four years ago, those rogue landlords were warned that the housing conditions that they expected their tenants to live in, had to be made compliant with the current legislation which came into effect in February 2013. 5 years now deep in recession, the construction industry decimated and there are a certain cache of owner/landlords who invested in properties with the objective of earning rental income and who let out these properties in as many units as possible to maximise their earnings This breed of landlord (if the research and property tax payments for the LPT/Revenue Commissioners yields the data) will, in many cases, have avoided making tax returns for these dwellings. Add to this the probability of a lack of common decency or respect for the standards in which their tenants live. Many of these landlords were attracted to the old Georgian/Victorian properties to be found in Phibsboro, Rathmines, Ranelagh, Mountjoy Square often referred to as bedsit land.

How swiftly the rogue landlords chose to forget the slum dwellings of the 1960's and 1970's that created the social housing drive by Dublin Corporation and Dublin Co Council and the harsh living conditions ordinary Irish people were subjected too. Now we have new slums. We can't blame the recent legislation because it is now 4 years ago that the warnings issued but the problem is the failure to enforce and now is the opportunity to ensure our rental property market is fit for purpose for the people who need accommodation. We can create jobs in the construction industry now based on the assumption that architects have ideas as to how best to convert our housing stock to suitable accommodation, compliant with the new legislation.

An earlier posting highlights the plight of a person who lived in one of these bedsits and the eviction notice because the owners decided to sell the property - the landlord died. This 'threatened' tenant represents many more who face eviction and in the absence of suitable homes and landlords who will not accept rent allowance, these people are threatened with becoming part of the homeless industry ie bedsits and hostels; especially with the social housing list now in excess of 100,000.

A house, a flat, a bedsit, shared floor space - we are talking about peoples' homes. The owner of the property has obligations but too many times exploitation and greed determines the difference between the owner and the tenant. The new legislation if enforced has the capacity to generate employment in Ireland if only the Government can see the opportunity.

Sam Griffin in the Irish Independent quite rightly brings to our attention today about the conditions a house owned by an ex-Garda who had been 'convicted of flouting fire safety rules'. The intense fire destroyed the house and homes of the people who lived there. Residents had to jump from windows to safety. The house which would once been a family home is now a home to an estimated 14 people - the property divided into flats. This could have been a massive tragedy with the loss of 14 lives, if not more.

"undermine public confidence" in the Gardai - 'In December 2011, the High Court rejected the former Gardai's challenge aimed at overturning his government sanctioned dismissal from the force'

Moral ethics and integrity is determined by the Courts of Justice in this former Garda's case and we need more of same

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Aug 01, 2013 16:29Report this post to the editors

Baggotonia: What can be done to make it thrive again?

Background: quoted from previous posting.
'The coffee shops in our little Village space are on their knees. Cutbacks of those little luxuries once served are now stripped to the bare bones yet the landlords/owners are demanding exhorbitant rents. Rumour has it that the Bagel is gone and so is Roddy. (Now re-opened, repainted and new management). Here every day for years, his staff loyal, his customers too but his franchise failed to negotiate on his behalf to get the rent down. It is said that the rent for the small space he had was 50,000 euros pa. It can't work as a business plan. Who owns these properties? Why can't the Department of Justice intervene and create equity in these harrowing times for small businesses. What if the Landlord is ultimately NAMA and they are imposing these unjust, inequitable rents on businesses?'

How do we generate small business entreprenueurship?:

Jonathan Swift in the 16th century spoke of 'giving vision to the visionless'.

Baggotonia is stifled because the foreboding Royal City of Dublin Hospital, a place of eminent medical renown stands bedraggled, unpainted, windows dirty, with the minimal services that primary health care manages to provide. A cost benefit analysis should be done immediately because this is a blatant waste of public resources and potential to drive this economy forward in the area of Baggotonia. Why? This area may no longer be known as home to as many billionaires as during the Celtic Tiger days but a lot of the old wealth survives and the houses for sale are still in the millions and are selling.

Vision:- We need some. Eaton Manufacturing have bought into the IBM offices on Pembroke Road, Dublin 4, so we await them eagerly to once again have people spending on the 'street', in the restaurants, the coffee houses, the pubs, the shops. Yesterday, another new business enters where Xtra-vision (it is said their rent was 140,000 euros per year) was forced to exit. Nobody could possibly have guessed the service to be marketed: the banks at one time used to provide the services holding property deeds, jewellery, files but now Sentinel Vaults have spotted the opportunity and are tapping the market in the key area of Dublin 4. Now people store digital data in these boxes. Welcome to St Martin's House - which is reported to have been bought by German company.

Royal City of Dublin hospital. The news is that one of the eight primary care centres is to be placed at the Haddington Road side of the hospital. What are the plans for the hospital? A medical museum was suggested; but nobody has the necessary commitment to make things happen and without impetus Baggotonia is submerged by economic doom and gloom. Now they say there are 440,000+ unemployed so there is a reduction. Can we sustain this? We need to bolster locations with potential resources and create markets. We have Google in Dublin 2 with its head office for Europe in Ireland. We have the financial services in the IFSC; we have the universities - why can we not create something like what happned on Billionaires Row in San Francisco in Baggotonia.

Bloomberg Businessweek Technology sector - we in Ireland can learn so much by piggy-backing on the capacity and experience of others. The private equity firms like Blackstone, Kennedy Wilson are already honed in but we need to regain our self-belief and dignity and we need to enter back into the markets. There are people who hold considerable wealth in Ireland and we need to inspire them with ideas that they forget hoarding their money in Switzerland and such tax havens or in cash in our near state owned banks for near no return and engage them with the potential of our young people and risk-takers.

Let's engage with the narrative around the Start-ups on San Francisco's Billionaire's Row. Three years ago, something extraordinary happened on Billionaires Row. Somebody decided to put a Mansion up for rent. The property was worth $8 million and the potential client was probably a financier or executive. Change happened. The house was leased to 8 entrepreneurs aged in their 30's. The mansion 'was morphed into a hive of start-up activity'. Imagine the potential for the Royal City of Dublin hospital, especially if there was an impetus for corporate social responsibility linked to people mental health and neurological conditions who if provided with the necessary resources could be rehabilitated back into the community.

These "incubator houses" have become a Silicon Valley trend. Take the example of the Rainbow Mansion in Cupertino, 'which has its own website and 5,000 square feet of space to house employees from Apple and Google, as well as start-up junkies'. The outcome from this is that graduates from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology 'have set up rival start-up communes' in San Francisco. Do we have anything similar to the "Dead Houses" network ie owned by the Dead, in Ireland? If interested, check out: Meetup.com "It would be a plus to find someone into the start-up scene and who likes to hack on side projects". Job creation should be a thriving industry yet FAS in transition to Solus is no longer in Baggotonia and failed dismally to engage in vision and creation of space utilisation so it is mind boggling to imagine that in D'Olier street they will become a haven of job creation and inspiration. Check out the postings on JobBridge FAS and the grassroots experiences of the people who will grow this economy.

The power of the people must be recognised. Look at Georgian Dublin and the empty offices. Properties are being sold now (4 storey over basement) for a little as £500,000. IBEC have their offices, the Trade Unions like Siptu have Liberty Hall, Google property is owned by NAMA (Ronan & Barrett). What we now need urgently is for people who are potential entrepreneurs to have access to locations that will support their start-ups. We have these locations, we just need to tap the talent of those multi-nationals who avail of our favourable tax rates. All these locations have Tescos stores. The North of Ireland have shamed Tescos into an element of corporate social responsibility known as the TESCO TAX. We need this paid in our local communities too. They are struggling and the adornment of flower baskets just hides the pain.

These Georgian houses create such a potential in Ireland. The renovation in line with the environment, the generation of employment in the construction industry and then the potential to be an entrepreneurial centre for start-ups ..... Take the example of Buckley aged 31 who co-founded DODOcase in 2010. 'He used one part of the house to assemble the case, which looks like a bound book, and another for shipping. The company sold about $4 million worth in its first year, President Obama owns one - and now employs more than 20 people at a factory in San Francisco'

The idea is worth consideration. These mansions ensure the location and the entrepreneurs pay less per month to live in the Mansion than in a one bed apartment. They are in Billionaires Row in San Francisco immersed in the resources of wealth without the costs.

Apparently vacancies are unheard of! There are plenty of 'entrepreneurs, robotics enthusiasts, and venture capitalists, who want to move in. Baggotonia has access to the resources, let the people share the vision and utilise the vacant spaces with vigour and drive.

author by Charles.publication date Thu Aug 01, 2013 20:26Report this post to the editors

I once had the pleasure of both living and working in Dublin 4. A short walk to work past thriving centres of enterprise, entertainment and humanity was always a pleasure. It disturbs me to think of this oasis going dry! On a recent visit I passed through areas in Dublin where dereliction has taken hold like the roots of weeds choking the very life blood of what were centres of excellence. 'Centres of excellence' as a term has been adopted or established to refer to education and enterprise, but to me the excellence was the banter of adjoining business owners and their loyal customers. The excellence was human. The loss too is human. Baggot Street thrived, there lived in large houses people who knew the names of the local publicans and shop owners, the locals. The anonymity of large corporations, their changing employees in high street shops is a symptom of our corporate economy where profit is priority above people. When people are surplus to requirement or at best an inconvenient reality needed for making profit their constant and regurgitated replacement leads to the killing of community.

The reinstatement of community is required in order to address many of the ills in our society or societies. Some of the dereliction is due to greed where building and housing estates have been built not with people in mind but only profit. Flood plains filled with impervious surfaces by impervious minds for profit only. Some though is due not the building but to the removal of humanity from that already built, again in the interest of those greedy for profit. The rents highlighted by Comyn being maintained at unrealistic rates forcing the removal of people, their livelihoods and often their dignity. Close parts of the road for a street party, for the people and by the people to offer a temporary relief from the shit we see every day but more to offer a glimpse of an alternative that does not need the buildings but needs the people. The building are only an incidental necessity, the humanity is vital.

It's hot outside and time to write off. Not in the sense of devaluing as is the case with written off Ireland but merely to cease writing this evening. There is orange juice and fresh water in the market square as the evening masses gather as if to celebrate the fading sun, or the faded sun. Lanterns illuminate a space coloured by canopies that by day is lifeless and empty. It is surrounded by flat roofed buildings in evening filled. Banter, barter, laughter, familiarity and friendship glows brighter than the largest flame. Emptiness and despair can be erased by the mere presence of people familiar.

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed Aug 14, 2013 16:18Report this post to the editors

What is the life of a building? But more important, if re-developed, what is the potential to consolidate the 'smart city' sustainable ethos of residential/commercial mix in central city locations? What if the potential is to triple the floor space and the location provides sustainable possibilities for people to live and work locally. At last, according to the John Mulligan's piece in today's Irish Independent, there may be some momentum returning to the markets.

The Receiver, Paul McCann of Glasbay, the company once owned by developer Bernard McNamara, is thinking and acting. A planning application is in place and the Receiver has been asked to provide more information to Dublin City Council. The proposal is to extend this existing 5 storey 8,500 sqm office block by replacing it with an office block with 23,000 sqm floor space. Word on the street says while there is over supply in the commercial property chain, there is an absence of high-profile properties, particularly in the core business district of Dublin 4 and 2. The Developer visionaries of Celtic Tiger days had dreams for these locations where PV Doyle hotelier once saw opportunities and created his hotel empire, Irish style.

The Burlington Hotel now looks jaded but the question how long for? Blackstone (private equity are presently honed in on property), are the most recent investors and the hope is they will invest the necessary funding to return this hotel to its former status, if not far beyond. Blackstone are reported to own the Waldorf Astoria chain of hotels so if the business market in this area is regenerated, this would suggest that this Receiver, is acting with vision and the eye is to get maximum return on investment. Local businesses in Upper Baggot Street would benefit considerably if the re-development brought the right type of business to what has the potential to be a hub of activity. Burlington Road is a mixed area with old houses, commercial buildings built by Bernard McNamara's companies now occupied by Sky and Bank of Ireland, blocks of apartments, and the mews houses that back on to Waterloo Road. The challenge is to retain the mix where people live and work instead of commute.

What will the Dublin City Council do? The planning authority are reported to have concerns that the proposed development 'may be visually' overbearing; the scale relative to other properties raises questions also. There are opponents including the former Fine Gael education Minister Gemma Hussey and her husband and other residents; they fear the intrusion into their living space. They balk at the profit gain sought by the receiver. They claim: "This massive increase shows that the receiver is more interested in maximising potential revenue values on behalf of their financial institution client and to a much lesser extent in complying with (the) Dublin City Development plan". This is a valid argument but it is subjective and opposition is always needed; the objective is to create a thriving business/living hub, in this case.

Dublin City Council, a lorry with a hoist and people placed on a roof of a derelict house on Pembroke Road raises expectations. A Georgian house unoccupied for years and nothing but waste of financial and purposeful value - a moral wrong is getting the attention needed - we hope. These Georgian properties need attention. Tax breaks and re-design into apartments on each floor is a start. Piggy-back time. In Manhattan the old style houses on several floors are being bought. Sustainable smart cities are the way forward. Waste is out of fashion, preserve, reserve, upcycle, recycle and most importantly maintain communities where there is diversity.

author by Comyn - Urban Abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Aug 16, 2013 16:36Report this post to the editors

Ok, it is in the US but let's regard the financial crisis as a global, that private equity groups are lurking in the markets, and that piggy-backing can often work and if it does work in the US courts, then maybe some genuine mortgage defaulters can emerge from being underwater.

It's the Pink Paper: The article is written by April Dembosky and Stephen Foley.

The man buys a house for $280,500 now worth $137,000 in sunny California. The horrors don't end here, you must then factor in the loan, the added interest to the principle, and then add the deferred property tax bills that he incurred when he got sick with colon cancer (which if the truth is acknowledged is due to the stress caused by going into debt to become a home-owner). We know every day that there is someone in our own country going through a similar hell hole and is a victim of an under regulated banking bonanza. The Troika govern. The Central Bank complies. They now finally 5 years on are telling the state owned banks to engage with the 'mortgage delinquents' and where possible do a deal or with near immediate effect - Eviction.

To anyone in the mire, check out this court case:

"The city government is fighting to finance Mr Wilson and his neighbours. His address is included on a list of more than 600 properties it wants to take over with the help of Mortgage Resolution Partners (MRP), an investor group advised by Evercore Partners which plans to arrange funding for cities that want to compulsorily purchase loans, and Westwood Capital".

It is a controversial scheme but worth looking at: The aim is to wrest the housing loans away from the big banks like JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and some 30 other banks by relying on a "novel" ' interpretation of 'Eminent Domain' law ----- an idea spearheaded by Mortgage Resolution Partners. This case started last year and is being watched eagerly..... it is a test case.

The history of 'Eminent Domain' is where Municipalities seize private properties when the land is needed for a public project and by paying a fair price to the owners. What it means for Richmond and in several other US cities (and potentially in Ireland)is that where mass evictions and foreclosures are imminent, that 'officials plan to use the law to seize the underwater mortgages from banks and replace them with new, cheaper loans based on the current home values to relieve the debt burden on citizens'.

The writing in Ireland is now on the wall. The banks are kicked into gear by the Troika and the Central bank so it is imperative we know the options and if this sort of deal could be organised then the moral hazard option would be replaced by people having their loans reduced to reflect the negative equity present value of their property with a write down of debt organised by those who orchestrated the crisis.

Watch this space. Those in mortgage arrears and negotiating with the banks, bear this in mind. Negotiation is underway. The get out clause is the Personal Insolvency but as yet it is not firmly in place. So prepare your case wisely.

Comyn

author by Forster - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Wed Sep 11, 2013 16:34Report this post to the editors

Homelessness is getting worse than ever according to Fr McVerry and truthfully it is the case because the urban villages of our cities, as winter approaches, are sought after locations for people to beg in the hope of having the money for a hostel, at worst for the night, or at best the e50 needed for the week.

Francis of Assisi is worth a thought these days. He lived life, he loved animals and he worked with the poor (mind, body and spirit). News from Rome today according to the Irish Times and excerpt from Reuters, is a message that we need to hear especially in Ireland which has so many under-occupied churches, seminaries, convents. Pope Francis said that 'empty church buildings should house refugees' and we can be bold enough to assume that this includes all people who are vulnerable to eviction and to homelessness. I recall many years ago hearing that in Japan this policy was carried out by the Catholic Church so why not in Ireland and now? The quays of Dublin City Centre and for that matter in Thomas Street, Dublin 8 have too many closed up churches and the only message this gives is abuse of power and waste of opportunities for people in need. We need greater awareness and if we consider what was recently said by Pope Francis about food and the waste of food - it is about "stealing from the poor'. These churches could provide accommodation but more importantly industry, art, teaching, support, education, intergenerational interaction. It should be about a new beginning.

Pope Francis further states (and this should apply to other religions like the Pentecostal Church and the Hade family under investigation reference the DPP) that "Empty convents and monasteries should not be turned into hotels by the church to earn money....{the buildings} are not ours, they are the flesh of Christ, which is what the refugees are". Pope Francis spoke to a private audience in the Jesuit Astalli Centre for refugees". Pope Francis went on to say that 'looking after the poor should not be only the work of "specialists" but engaged in by all members of the church. He then identified that a large source of the problems encountered by people today is in the fear they have for the word "Solidarity" especially those in the developed world. Its not about being a member of the Catholic Church; it is about the code of conduct that enables society to work an optimum that tries to foster a system of equality.

Waste not want not is basic to the code. Brother Kevin feeds daily the ever increasing numbers of people who are in need of food but there is more that can be done. Enterprise is about creation and resources exist in people that need to be tapped. With so many people now unemployed and vast amounts of vacant buildings like Churches, convents, seminaries which need to be re-invigorated with that spirit of creativity, there is a blatant need for revival. Silicon Valley is a location where geeks gathered and created the digital revolution with vast sums of money. Who is to say that spaces that are vacant and bereft of a sense of life and living cannot be revitalised.

Ireland needs a little honesty about the housing lists for those who need social housing. Since the Independence of this Republic when one third of people in the city of Dublin lived in tenements multi-family tenanted units that were once houses to the gentry, great progress and lots of building of homes was carried out. This building virtually stopped during the Celtic Tiger period and people who would normally have received housing from the State were enveigled by the banks and the State into the rush to be a home owner. Ultimately it is not too extreme to blame partially for the negative equity crisis we are now immersed in. There must be an equation that states that from 2000-2012 x houses would have been built for social housing needs and they were not constructed so now we will do a deal with NAMA thru agencies like NABCO and other housing associations to provide people with accommodation.

Now there is a thought to stop urban abandonment and dereliction in its tracks. Time to cut out the bureaucratic nonsense with Priory Hall in particular. To watch a mother of two children talk about the suicide of her husband and for what. Banks sending out letters warning them to re-structure a debt and telling them they owed e17,000 to service the debt for a home they were basically evicted from two years prior. This is a nonsense.

author by talking drumpublication date Thu Sep 12, 2013 07:43Report this post to the editors

You may be interested to know that in Sligo for several years asylum seekers have been accommodated in a former convent of the Sisters of Mercy. Before that, for too long, they were accommodated in a privately run guest house facing a busy road about 40 minutes walk from the town.

Some 15 years ago, when FAS was funding work projects everywhere, an old Church of Ireland building in the countryside of Leitrim was rehabilitated and turned into a community skills training centre.

Other things that have happened to derelict buildings include the sale to artists and other people of old national schools, which have then been rehabilitated (at personal expense) and reused as homes and painting studios. I've heard of an old 19th century workhouse that an artist and his wife acquired. They turned it lovingly into a home and workshop.

In Co. Roscommon an old empty convent was used for workshops and conferences by, among other groups, an organization that collects and refurbishes tools and machinery that can be shipped to co-op enterprises in Africa.

There are many possibilities for recycling and refurbishing old churches, convents, national schools and such like. It requires enterprising individuals and groups at local level to seize the social opportunities. Incidentally, many old town primary school buildings have been turned into local libraries or creches. (The latter possibility has been constrained by safety regulations and public liability insurance costs.)

author by talking drumpublication date Thu Sep 12, 2013 07:43Report this post to the editors

You may be interested to know that in Sligo for several years asylum seekers have been accommodated in a former convent of the Sisters of Mercy. Before that, for too long, they were accommodated in a privately run guest house facing a busy road about 40 minutes walk from the town.

Some 15 years ago, when FAS was funding work projects everywhere, an old Church of Ireland building in the countryside of Leitrim was rehabilitated and turned into a community skills training centre.

Other things that have happened to derelict buildings include the sale to artists and other people of old national schools, which have then been rehabilitated (at personal expense) and reused as homes and painting studios. I've heard of an old 19th century workhouse that an artist and his wife acquired. They turned it lovingly into a home and workshop.

In Co. Roscommon an old empty convent was used for workshops and conferences by, among other groups, an organization that collects and refurbishes tools and machinery that can be shipped to co-op enterprises in Africa.

There are many possibilities for recycling and refurbishing old churches, convents, national schools and such like. It requires enterprising individuals and groups at local level to seize the social opportunities. Incidentally, many old town primary school buildings have been turned into local libraries or creches. (The latter possibility has been constrained by safety regulations and public liability insurance costs.)

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Sep 27, 2013 16:04Report this post to the editors

Yes, Talking Drum, there are initiatives and there is ingenuity but sometimes we need to interact with others to remind us. When I read your posting I started to think a little and then a few churches came to mind. Dunshaughlin Church was converted to a library and the Church on Tara Hill became a visitors centre and by all accounts both are successful in providing feedback to local communities and business too.

RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architecture) awards were last night and included two entries of the 6 from Ireland. The winner is worth googling. It was the reconstruction of a ruined castle built 1,000 years ago but re-morphed by the winning architects as a modern house within the ruins of the castle which will be rented out so that people can have holidays there. It is already pre-booked until 2015.

Urban abandonment and dereliction is what we in Ireland, have experienced in previous recessions, and what we want to stop happening again. Dublin is on the OECD map of world cities but it is no 77 out of 78 so we must use whatever means we have to promote our city. Dublin was the second city of the British Empire and much architecture reflects this. However, poverty in the early 19th century and the decision to close down the Irish parliament in the 1800's resulted in the lavish mansions, demesnes, country estates and Georgian Squares being vacated as the encumbered estates did what NAMA is presently doing. NAMA, similar to the Encumbered Estates and the Land Commission in the 1920's like before has become the holder of massively discounted in value properties. The tragedy which we don't want to revisit is that one third of Dublin's population lived in one room flats (precursor of today's private equity driven purchasers of multi-family units) at the time of the 1913 Lock-out and before World War 1.

Open House happens this weekend. It is a 3 day event and its about checking out some of Dublin's gems. Without charge, people are able to visit over '100 homes, offices, places of worship and pleasure palaces. The Recession bites deep but don't lose the initiative to use your time constructively to experience places that exist today and that have survived crises in the past. Open House was first organised by the Irish Architecture Foundation in 2005. The theme for 2013 (the Gathering 2013 year) is "from the obvious to the over looked". To explore are the following so pass this on:

Aras An Uachtarain
Farmleigh
Casino at Marino
or
what about - the Shanganagh Bray Main Drainage scheme
Kiosk at Leeson Street Bridge or for that Donnybrook Garage.

Google up Open House and interact.

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Fri Sep 27, 2013 16:04Report this post to the editors

Yes, Talking Drum, there are initiatives and there is ingenuity but sometimes we need to interact with others to remind us. When I read your posting I started to think a little and then a few churches came to mind. Dunshaughlin Church was converted to a library and the Church on Tara Hill became a visitors centre and by all accounts both are successful in providing feedback to local communities and business too.

RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architecture) awards were last night and included two entries of the 6 from Ireland. The winner is worth googling. It was the reconstruction of a ruined castle built 1,000 years ago but re-morphed by the winning architects as a modern house within the ruins of the castle which will be rented out so that people can have holidays there. It is already pre-booked until 2015.

Urban abandonment and dereliction is what we in Ireland, have experienced in previous recessions, and what we want to stop happening again. Dublin is on the OECD map of world cities but it is no 77 out of 78 so we must use whatever means we have to promote our city. Dublin was the second city of the British Empire and much architecture reflects this. However, poverty in the early 19th century and the decision to close down the Irish parliament in the 1800's resulted in the lavish mansions, demesnes, country estates and Georgian Squares being vacated as the encumbered estates did what NAMA is presently doing. NAMA, similar to the Encumbered Estates and the Land Commission in the 1920's like before has become the holder of massively discounted in value properties. The tragedy which we don't want to revisit is that one third of Dublin's population lived in one room flats (precursor of today's private equity driven purchasers of multi-family units) at the time of the 1913 Lock-out and before World War 1.

Open House happens this weekend. It is a 3 day event and its about checking out some of Dublin's gems. Without charge, people are able to visit over '100 homes, offices, places of worship and pleasure palaces. The Recession bites deep but don't lose the initiative to use your time constructively to experience places that exist today and that have survived crises in the past. Open House was first organised by the Irish Architecture Foundation in 2005. The theme for 2013 (the Gathering 2013 year) is "from the obvious to the over looked". To explore are the following so pass this on:

Aras An Uachtarain
Farmleigh
Casino at Marino
or
what about - the Shanganagh Bray Main Drainage scheme
Kiosk at Leeson Street Bridge or for that Donnybrook Garage.

Google up Open House and interact.

author by talking drumpublication date Sat Sep 28, 2013 03:59Report this post to the editors

Blake and his associates are onto a good project. Good luck. Imagination and organisation are required all over the place to get constructive things done that will give new life to empty an/or derelict buildings, so that family and community life can thrive.

author by Galway Eye - Restoration of Old Buildingspublication date Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:08Report this post to the editors

I want to thank Blake for the posting last week about Open House - Irish Architecture Foundation. Myself and my daughter Grainne went on a walk through a variety of houses opened up to the public. I have to say if we could have more projects like this but if we were to specifically include those who are presently out of work, so that the inspiration of what happened in previous times, could be restored. This country is suffering from a lack of ideation, to creation and it is our unemployed who need to be inspired. This project has given myself and my daughter a sense of pride in old Dublin again. It would be great if this project could be expanded to our villages and towns across the country.

It is just an idea that I have especially in this year of the 1913 Lock-out and of course the 'Gathering 2013'. Many of our old dwellings sadly have been neglected for years but hopefully now and I only can hope that this Government can give some funding to restore some history and I have one simple answer - Urgently get rid of the Quangos and that will save a few million that could be put into the reservation of buildings especially those that existed during the Easter Rising. Yes, I will just end by saying a most enjoyable walk through the back lanes of Dublin and well done to those Involved.

Galway Eye

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Tue Oct 01, 2013 16:01Report this post to the editors

Pembroke Road, the crescent of Georgian houses and someone decides to paint the basement shocking pink. This house appeared vacant for years and now has become an eyesore to humanity or lack of it because no house should realistically be left vacant for years. A house in the crescent has sold for £1 m+ recently so what a paradox that needs an answer. There are many of these houses in Dublin and who knows who really owns them? The LPT (local property tax) surely has the data of who is the owner and if so surely these owners of what can only be called 'waste of resources' should be held accountable.

The 'pink' sure is making lots of people aware of the house, so now is the time to ask about ownership and obligation. Apparently in France there is a one year limit on leaving houses of certain architectural merit vacant and then the State representatives step in; renovate the property, assign it to their name; and then occupy it with people who can then buy it from the State. Germany too has a similar approach. House sitting has to be an option rather than vacant. The country needs to generate economic growth, lets work with people from the Irish Architectural Foundation or Habitat for Humanity and get people engage in craftmanship again. We can't build cars, so let's focus on architecture which we can do.

Another person passing by reminisced of an earlier time when one of the houses in this crescent of 11, was called Ball Hall, the owner's were named Ball and they rented it out to Trinity students who had free rein to decorate it including artwork on the walls.

Let Pink be a wake out to those who have properties left vacant and include the ghost estates throughout Ireland to get focused on making these properties utilitarian and not eyesores in the hope of one day creating capital gain.

author by Forster - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Nov 07, 2013 16:34Report this post to the editors

Good news with the tax breaks for refurbishment of houses built pre 1915 but 30,000 euros is sparse by comparison to what these houses need. It is also interesting to hear (he must be out of NAMA) that Johnny Rohan who bought a house in Fitzwilliam Square with the purpose of having it as a home over 5 years ago has now applied for a further five years pp. So maybe the dream is possible and our Georgian squares becomes homes to families once more.

The Beware Factor; times are changing and changing fast in certain property markets in Ireland. Entire apartment blocks are being bought by private equity firms mainly from the US and the new words in town are multi-family units. However, there is a need to know factor here and especially now as there is a possible false sense of the property market improving in Dublin particularly. The dawn raids are happening but we need to know who these people are; what their policies are; and if the reality is that there will be a new breed of landlord and who becomes vulnerable?

Wall Street calls these the new 'Slumlords' and they refer to it as an 'outrageous new scheme'. It is the banks and their interests who are peddling this new product. This product is not unlike those mortgage-backed securities that were aligned to the financial crisis.

"These new securities, backed by rental payments, also have real-world implications for millions of renters, who could end up turning their monthly checks to Wall Street based absentee slumlords

......of recent times, these 'private equity firms and hedge funds have bought up over 200,000 single-family homes, mostly discounted foreclosed properties in communities wrecked by the housing crash...." They include Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa, LA but we need to be aware of is that the tentacles have spread to Europe and they include Ireland and Spain.

Blackstone is in the news today in the Irish newspaper and looking at possibly buying Bord Gais Energy; Blackstone have already bought the Burlington Hotel in Dublin 4 and several apartment blocks and now that prices are at near rock bottom, they surely will invest more in this potentially highly lucrative market (from their investment point of view). Blackstone own more than 50,000 single family homes in the US and they believe they can build:

..... 'an entirely new asset class out of this scheme, controlling the rental market for single family homes.
The irony is rich: Wall Street created the conditions for millions of foreclosures, then they sweep in to buy up the homes and rent them out, often to the same people they kicked onto the street'.

The Troika have left Dublin city, for the last time. Reports are they are not happy with the sluggishness of our banks to deal with the 'mortgage delinquents', the 'strategic defaulters' and the time is upon the banks to re-structure the debts and evict without remorse.

Landlordism, absenteeism, landlords agents, bailiffs, those who facilitate eviction are memories that are presently about to be invoked so let us this time be aware of what might happen. Already certain banks are selling on their debtors to third parties and news on the blocks says they will be ruthless in determining who can stay in their family home and those who are thrown to the wolves.

Conclusion.

'In order for this to work, firms need cash to outbid the competition (Irish competition is between the rock and the hardplace whether to opt for bankruptcy in Ireland or in the UK, so they are out of the gameplay). ....."Blackstone however have teamed with Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Chase to put together the first-ever rental revenue bond named "Invitation Homes 2013 SFR1'.

Who is watching out for the vested interest of our bank customers?

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Thu Dec 19, 2013 16:35Report this post to the editors

The crest of wave has arrived and the vultures known as private equity groups are circling and selecting the best we have to offer. Why not? Its called business and we all know by now that markets really don't have memories and when opportunities arise there always will be the risk-takers who are driven by the rewards. This time we have Blackstone (largest landlord of properties in America; Kennedy Wilson, and for more names just check out Ian Kehoe's article in the Sunday Times last week).

What do we need to do about this in Ireland? Truthfully, there is nothing we really can do but be aware of what we are selling and about ensuring fair values are achieved. To do this we need to know that NAMA and its employees (who are bound by the Official Secret's Act) adhere to the law and abide by the rules. We need no insider dealing. We need to know that at every level of this powerful entity called NAMA that is both buyer and seller of vast quantities of substantially written down in value properties ensures that each of its employees at every level understands that they have access to information about property that puts them in a privileged position of financial gain if they make the decision to abuse their power. The Rule of Law must be the deterrent and as Madoff was found accused in the US and sentenced to decades in prison, the same will apply to those charged and found guilty in Ireland.

Ireland Inc and the for sale sign globally should now insist that if we must sell our assets, that at least we have given them an endorsement in the markets that the opportunity is here in Ireland now and going forward so that we can have as many bidders as possible to ensure the best value. Transparency is essential, insider dealing and abuse of power is shunned.

What about Georgian Dublin? The Budget has created tax breaks for the family home and this is good news to halt the ever increasing grey to black economy that side-tracks revenue from the Exchequer. Georgian Dublin has many houses some converted to offices but many abandoned. Is it not time to encourage developers to renovate these houses creating apartments for people to live in and revive inner city living to the new smart economy urban spaces found elsewhere.

For consideration: Jimmy Dennihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht replied to a recent email about property in Dublin 4.

[[bold]]Part IV of the Planning and Development Acts 2000, as amended, provides for the protection of architectural heritage. The Act gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect architectural heritage by including them on the Record of Protected Structures. Inclusion on the Record of Protected Structures places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with development proposals affecting them and to seek to safeguard their future. Dublin City Council is the relevant planning authority in this case.
[[/bold]]
Georgian Dublin are part of Ireland's jewels. The dereliction and abandonment must not be an option.

author by Comyn - Urban abandonments and derelictionspublication date Wed Jan 01, 2014 16:45Report this post to the editors

2014 is the year of enforced resolutions and closure for many people caught in the Celtic Tiger housing trap of negative equity, job losses (either or or both), emigration. The legislation is approved. The Banks have been told to engage with their clients, particularly those in mortgage arrears of greater than 90 days, on a case by case basis. The objective is to reach a suitable arrangement. There are options in place but when examined they tend to be token gestures without the motivation and effect to create viable solutions for people who are in debt that they will never be able to repay.

Private Equity firms are hovering and Ireland is a neat market especially for American companies like Blackstone, the largest landlord of properties in the US. Wall Street is in the driving seat again but this time there is a new market in town and that is companies like Blackstone taking control of the private rental market through purchase of 'delinquent mortgage' properties, in particular apartments blocks under the name of multi-family units. Media sends out the message of pay your rent to Wall Street and given the global perspective of banking, this too applies to the people in Ireland. The new landlordism is that of the corporates, the private equity groups, those who can create the entity that will apply the economies of scale that will drive up their profits. NAMA is our marketing tool and it is the strategic mover that determines when its stock of 'delinquent developer led' borrowers will be placed on the market. The timing is the question and if we listen to Bloomberg we are told the housing markets kicked into gear in the US in 2011.

What happens now for Ireland?

100,000 people are supposedly on the housing list in need of social housing. The question is now what will Dublin City Council choose to do? Is there a supply of property available and being gathered up by these private equity firms so that Dublin City Council can divest further of its responsibilities to the new entity, companies like Blackstone, Kennedy Wilson, Comer Brothers. We have interesting times ahead.

New Year's Eve is not the time to be reading the newspapers but Olivia Kelly has a most interesting piece in the Irish Times about Dublin City Council 'carrying mortgage arrears of e13 million plus on home loans'.

The question is about the Council being able to continue to adhere to its capacity to provide mortgages to borrowers. It is more interesting to note that the Council has repossessed 85 houses, two thirds of which were abandoned. The criteria for a Dublin City Council loans was that two banks had refused to give the mortgage.

Dublin City Council and the provision of loans would seem to be a flawed model too. They have 2709 mortgagees on their book, small by comparison to the banks, who owe over e340 million in borrowings. In 2007 the records show that they were able to collect 92% of what was owed to them but this dropped to 60% by October of this year. What we learn from the article is that they know that it is 539 mortgage holders who are more than a year in arrears. The concerning part of this equation is that they are unsure if they will continue to be a lender and we do not know what their plans are for the provision of housing to meet the needs of so many people who are on the social housing list or destined for it this year, in the absence of their abilities to meet their loans for their existing homes.

We can all think of some family this Christmas who were caught in the Celtic Tiger 'Trap'. Where will they be next Christmas because definitely 2014 is about the writing on the wall? We need a plan, we need to know the options for people to avoid anymore undue stress. We owe billions of euros but sometimes the only sensible way to tackle debt is to write it down. Iceland tackled their crisis in a different to Ireland, we need to ask can we learn anything from them. The write-down of e28,000 per home could be an option in Ireland, if the powers that be would only agree.

author by fredpublication date Thu Jan 02, 2014 07:15Report this post to the editors

Wall street backed entities can borrow money at 0% interest unlike ordinary folk.
They can then use this to buy up many of our valuable properties and land at firesale prices to become our new corporate rentier class. Locals, of course, cannot really compete with these entities as they can only borrow money at interest so cannot afford to sit on their purchases until things get better because the interest soon mounts up substantially.

Similarly, they can use this cheap money to buy up any of our utilities or successful indigenous businesses or our natural resources, so eagerly privatised by FG / Lab such as the ESB, Irish water, waste disposal, coillte. They can also buy up cheap licences to invest in fracking gas exploration, or grease the palms of any crony politicians or NAMA bureaucrats etc etc. necessary to gain inside information, push certain beneficial tax and privatisation policies or smooth over their deals..

All this kind of thing has happened before in South America. Now it's happening here.

There is only one endgame here for the 99% people left on this Island. Eventual destitution and low wage slavery. If they're even that lucky.

The 1% colluding with the corporate and financial terrorist takeover of Ireland will be fine.

And meanwhile the sleepwalking Irish turkeys will keep voting for a FF/FG/Lab/PD Xmas

author by Blake - Urban abandonments and derelictionpublication date Mon Jan 27, 2014 16:35Report this post to the editors

Fred: to follow on. You are absolutely right.

NAMA one of the biggest (omerta governed) entities has the power to shift trends in how the plain ordinary people of Ireland relate to home ownership now and in the future.

5 years and the banks, the legislation (ISI), the Central Bank, the Troika, have strategically positioned themselves so that they determine when the properties (soon to be for sale) enter the marketplace. The time appears to be now. NAMA we are told has handled its commercial portfolios in a most satisfactory way so now it is time for homes, buy-to-lets, and investment properties to find their level in the market place.

We are told prices are rising in Dublin and this maybe so. However, we need to take account of repossessions that are now taking place and will be taking place more frequently from now on. We need to ask the question will our banks follow the path of the US bankers who rather than rent out properties, instead the hold stock. If this is happening in Ireland, then this could be a part ripple that is leading to manipulation of the Dublin market supply and demand.

Home ownership and Ireland is a changing trend. It would be interesting to find out if some of the worst affected ie 'delinquent borrowers' by the slump in the market and negative equity were divorcees or in second relationships. In England there is an interesting trend which finds that a combination of high rents (already occuring in Ireland) and over-40's having to return to the flat sharing market. If the divorcee trend impacted on the swell of house purchases in the noughties, then we can assume that these same people, if their financial circumstances altered, are in negative equity and if they were unfortunate enough to lose their jobs also, will be the people most likely to be evicted as the banks are forced by Central Bank and the Troika now exited to meet targets to be achieved in 2014. If this is the case, there is a new market for the people to be evicted, those on the social housing list, those looking for a place to live and this 'Flatsharing websites'. Ireland has one advantage over this market in that there is a tax advantage of £10,000 approximately if you provide a room in your home to a third party.

Urban abandonments deserves resonance here. They talk about smart cities, sustainable cities. Dublin has the vacant properties dotted throughout which are in need of renovation. This site identifies areas like Ranelagh, Rathmines, Rathgar, North Circular Road, Mountjoy Square .... our inner hub of potential. Who owns the vacant houses? Who owns the many houses where people live in bedsits with as many as 10 or more people sharing the house? These are the potential slums. The architects who are unemployed need the challenge now to come forward with re-design options which take account of making the properties 'smart' utilising the sunlight for energy and basically making these properties sustainable. Many of these properties can be redesigned into apartments. For this to happen, there needs to be policy and legislation. Sometimes a recession bites so deep that the people lose sight of the market and miss the opportunities. Now is the time to become aware as the private equity groups especially from America hover over our distressed marketplace.

Great piece by Peter Flanagan (Commercial Property) Sunday Independent 26th January 2014. Look out for the name Blackstone and Stephen Schwarzman (a Bill Gates/Warren Buffet visionary).

Blackstone Group - the New York based firm led by Stephen Schwarzman - has raised a fund worth some $5.5 bn (E4.1 bn) to buy European commercial real estate and it is expected that much of that fund will be used to buy property here.

..........Blackstone is the biggest real estate investor in the world and it specialises in distressed assets, whether they have been over leveraged or over financed.


Blackstone have arrived and it is watch this space time. In the US they are changing investment strategies and are buying up houses, apartments, in fact they have the new additional to what was Wall Street's sub-prime gamble and are becoming landlords backed by Wall Street bonds.

The changing face of Ireland is happening now. Blackstone have made their mark in the purchase of the Burlington Hotel (established by PV Doyle), Dublin 4 and changing its name to Double Tree. The purchase price in 2012 was 67 m euros, a snip. Already they have made their mark, there is a resounding presence of being a market changer virtually overnight.

The Platinum portfolio is the recent purchase from NAMA.

2014 looks like they will see a lot more of Blackstone and other private equity groups. Let's hope some Irish developers return to the market.

author by Comyn - Urban Abandonments and Derelictionpublication date Fri Apr 11, 2014 16:26Report this post to the editors

President Michael D. Higgins has dined with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle and the metaphorical bridge brings the furtherance of the Peace Process another step further.

Unsure about the protocol of copying a letter printed in today's Irish Independent, I will quote some and contextualise more, because the timing could not be more appropriate. The letter is written by Patrick Burns, Ontario, Canada and for due consideration the heading reads as follows:

"Same old 1840's Oppression"

So much has been written on this site and in the media particularly over the last six years of the Troika led (EU ECB IMF) Austerity programme, it is time to consider if the landscape of the 1840's has once again visited the people of the Republic of Ireland.

It is no longer the "landlord agents" who collected the rents for the landlords in the 1840's. Now Ireland is prey to the private equity firms (vultures) that see ripe pickings and who are rapidly buying up Irish properties ie apartments, houses, multi-family units, hotels, commercial units - the key word being 'distressed' and therefore the implication is uncertainty for those who are in debt to the banks and the mortgage lenders. Now the new landlords ie the private equity firms like Oak Tree; Loan Star, Kennedy Wilson, Cerberus etc and their operators eg Pepper have arrived in Ireland and they are the new owners of properties. In this case, especially in the last number of weeks when IBRC dictates the pace and NAMA considers the market timing right - change of ownership is actively being foisted on so many people who have little rights to know what will happen to their 'homes'. Private equity ethos is driven naturally by return on investment and that involves income roll and profit but uncertainty for those with mortgages related to their homes.

"The international and Wall Street bankers are the absentee landlords still able to suck the blood of the timid. The havoc they caused in America and beyond was pure evil, yet none of them were ever charged with fraud".


We know that the 13,000 loans sold on at a substantial discount to Oak Tree & Lone Star private equity groups who are not banks will not be bound by the Central Bank code of conduct; and we also know that there was a substantial discount given to these purchasers, an option which was not given to the individual home owners. What we also know is that these home owners like so many more do not know what the future holds for them. These are people who invested money in deposits, equity, the acceptance of the home ownership credo fostered in Ireland and England that promised to endorse those who choose to own their homes by mortgages for periods of 25 years or more. The rug has been pulled back and now there are ever increasing numbers of people who will effectively become tenants in their homes with no potential for ownership. For many the new Landlords will be linked to Wall Street investment banker vision of new markets yielding higher profits. To endorse this the latest drive in the US is to buy mobile home parks and train people who live in these 'excluded' communities to run the parks while the profits roll in for the landlords ie all related to Wall Street and investment potential.

To return to the letter:

"The politicians today are the small farmers of old, who exported their produce while their cousins starved to death. The Garda are no different than their RIC counterparts - all Irishmen, who see injustices every day yet do very little. The Lawyers are the Lords, the starving peasantry are the unemployed......"

The letter ends: "This time, we can't blame the English"

The metaphorical bridge: Martin McGuinness, you proceeded with dignity and courage. Unfortunately Lord Tebbit lost sight to bitterness in his comment but we can make allowances because his wife suffered and he failed to learn humility and understanding.

author by Curious - Urban abandonments & derelictionpublication date Mon Apr 14, 2014 15:37Report this post to the editors

I agree with some points above.

McGuinness yes but some would say in the Republican movement that he sold out the overall ideals of true Republicans.

Urban abandonment is slowly coming with these fucking banks given a free reign again.

What about rural Ireland (RIP)?. Just drive around the country, small towns and villages. All you see is old and young school children - the young people have sadly flown - but not by their own choice.

Kenny, Gilmore and the rest: are traitors / servants to the bondholders and then we can ask where is the anger of the people?

Curious

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