'Ghost' houses turned to dream homes
TWELVE months ago it was one of Ireland's 1,258 'ghost estates' and a derelict eyesore.
Today, The Tannery is a stunning new estate which offers 24 families on the housing waiting list a modern home in Bandon, Co Cork.
For Shane Hickey (21) and Caoilfhinn O'Driscoll (20) and their four month old baby, Keisha, the venture between 'bad debt' agency NAMA and housing co-operative NABCO has been the stuff of dreams.
The couple were overcome with emotion yesterday as they toured the housing estate, which was finished by NAMA at a cost of €4m and delivered to the housing co-op.
"It is a dream come true for us - they are gorgeous houses and we just can't wait to move in," Caoilfhinn said.
Over 20,000 new homes will now be delivered by NAMA within five years as Irish housing co-operatives insisted there is the potential to slash housing waiting lists nationwide.
NAMA boss Frank Daly said the agency will accelerate work with co-ops such as NABCO to transform former 'ghost estates' into modern social housing.
NABCO, which was founded in 1974, has now delivered 250 homes for social housing in former NAMA 'ghost estates' in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Wexford.
But NABCO officials Kieron Brennan and Declan Hudson said they could manage between 500 and 1,000 units for social housing a year.
The co-op unveiled its major new NAMA social housing estate, The Tannery in Bandon, with further 'ghost estates' to be transformed in Dublin at Camac Court in Inchicore and Calderwood in Drumcondra.
"The number of 'ghost estates' we ended up with has turned out to be far fewer than we expected," NAMA boss Frank Daly said.
"These 'ghost estates' are turning out to have more potential than expected given the ways things have turned in the economy … we were talking two years ago about estates that would have to be demolished but I think there will be very few demolished now.
"We have committed to funding 4,500 units by 2016.
"We can fund the building of a further 18,000 to 20,000 units in the next five years. If you take the social housing element of that, it is another 1,800 to 2,000 units for social housing."