Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

This town, is coming like a Ghost Town

Posted in Customer service, Infrastructure, Ireland, Politics by Chairman Pip on 30 April 2010

Although the BBC do show news from around the world, it’s rare to see human interest stories from outside the UK. So it was interesting to see a report this morning on BBC Breakfast concerning Ireland’s so called “ghost estates”. The Celtic Tiger period saw a rapid expansion in house building in Ireland, at locations all around the country, in the expectation that prices would continue to rise (presumably they were listening to the claims of “no more boom and bust” that emanated from the other side of the Irish Sea). Of course, we now know that Ireland’s economy is becoming one of the more basket case like in the EU, and house prices are rapidly falling, while the cost of building them remains the same. So, developers are leaving thosands of buildings unfinished throughout the country, while those homeowners that bought into the idea are left in negative equity. The criticism levelled at these projects is that they were totally developer led – it was the developers that came up with the ideas and went to the government, who said “ah, go on then” and seemingly left them to it. What the government should actually have been doing is coming up with a plan for such developments, so that they could be linked in with infrastructure plans for the same area. Or even actually come up with some infrastructure plans. You all know where this is going.



Surely even the Irish government can see that if you’re going to have a housing development, especially if it’s built in an area close to a major centre, then it should at least be near a railway line. Hell, they’re even rebuilding one (the Clonsilla-Navan line) which will serve not just the major town of Navan, which is a significant dormitory for Dublin, but also, through park and ride, the smaller towns around Navan. It is lunacy to simply throw houses up in the middle of nowhere without giving thought to how people will reach other places (and don’t go with the roads argument, because the roads in Ireland are congested enough). This is why it is irresponsible to allow Iarnród Éireann to close existing lines. Economies do recover, and values do increase again, and developers will start building houses, and when they do people will need to be able to use the train. The government needs to have more rigour in deciding where developments should take place, and they should protect infrastructure in situ. And, for those areas where the necessary infrastructure doesn’t exist, then they should damn well think about building it.

“50,000 new homes lying empty in ‘ghost’ estates”
“Cuffe backs demolition of some ‘ghost’ estates”

"Will ya not let me build another estate? Ah go on, go on, go on"


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