Sunday 15 December 2019

Bertie takes blame for property bubble fallout

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has finally admitted too many houses and apartments were built during the boom years -- and that the proof is just a few doors down from him, writes Fiach Kelly.

Mr Ahern also told 'Rzeczpospolita', one of Poland's biggest daily newspapers, that he may run for the presidency next year -- his biggest indication to date. However, the bookies have him trailing as seventh or eight favourite in any presidential race.

Yesterday, luxury apartments near to Mr Ahern's constituency base were put on the market at knock-down prices.

"I can blame only myself," Mr Ahern told the newspaper earlier this week.

"We were building too much; we believed there would be buyers of properties for ever.

"It was a mistake on our side," he added.

St Luke's, Mr Ahern's constituency base, is on Dublin's northside and lies in the shadow of 'The Waterfront' development that was completed in 2008 after the housing market collapsed.

Only six of 19 apartments in the development were sold in 2008, and the remainder went on sale yesterday at 55pc less than the original asking price.

The apartments, and one town house, were put up for sale by receivers Grant Thornton following the collapse of construction firm Walsh Maguire.

When the development was launched in May 2008 the prices started at €460,000 for one-bedroom apartments and €535,000 for a two-bedroom flat.

They now start at €210,000 for a one-bedroom flat, €250,000 for a two-bedroom and €350,000 for a three-bedroom townhouse.

On the presidency, Mr Ahern added: "Now, it's only an idea, but I wonder about running in the presidential elections."

Irish Independent

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