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Ireland to Bulldoze 40 Housing Projects as It Clears Ghost Towns

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Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The Irish government will bulldoze about 40 housing projects over the next year as the country continues to repair damage created by western Europe’s worst real estate crash.

The empty properties, known as ghost estates, are among about 1,300 unfinished developments remaining in the country, according to a spokesman for the Irish Department of the Environment. The country had about 2,800 abandoned projects in 2010, said the spokesman, who asked not to be named in line with government policy.

Thousands of Irish projects ground to a halt after the property bubble burst in 2007, plunging developers into bankruptcy and leading the government to take a 67.5 billion-euro ($91 billion) bailout. More than one in 10 Irish houses are vacant, not including holiday homes, the country’s central statistics agency estimated last year.

The government and local authorities are working to deal with the remaining 1,300 sites, the spokesman said. The estates being demolished were found to have no viable financial future, the spokesman said. He declined to name the lenders who provided financing for the estates.

The Sunday Times first reported on the proposed demolitions yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Donal Griffin in Dublin at dgriffin10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dara Doyle at ddoyle1@bloomberg.net

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