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Banishing the ghosts of Ireland's crash

Published Mon, Dec 23, 2013 · 10:00 PM
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[ATHLONE] The demolition getting underway here recently was in a housing complex where a 2-year-old, probably chasing a dog, had climbed through a fence last year and drowned in a pool of water behind a dozen partly constructed homes.

John Burke, hired to do the job, marvelled that the half-built houses he was about to bulldoze once carried a price tag of more than US$450,000. He estimated that he was about to grind US$500,000 worth of abandoned construction into gravel.

"You can't do anything with these houses," he said, as his workers made neat piles of the billboard posters surrounding the complex that once promised idyllic living. "The cost to finish them would be too high. There is no market like that here. There are no jobs. And leaving them unattended is dangerous."

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