Tag Archives: Conor McCabe

The Upper Shannon Renewal Scheme

The Irish state’s dedication to the interests of builders has been well discussed in Conor McCabe’s very readable Sins of the Father. That dedication is evident along the upper reaches of the River Shannon, where ludicrous tax incentives encouraged the building of ridiculous numbers of houses. Some of them are intended for colonies of white settlers, as at Dromod, but even allowing for holiday and retirement homes there are far more houses than will ever be used.

IrelandAfterNama discusses “Housing vacancy 1991-2011 in the Upper Shannon Renewal Scheme counties” here. It shows that by 2011 21.8% of houses in Longford were vacant, 22.1% in Cavan, 22.2% in Sligo, 23% in Roscommon and 30.4% in Leitrim. Some of those vacancies are actually holiday homes, and there are other caveats, but Rob Kitchin’s (measured) conclusion is:

All five counties show a marked increase in the housing vacancy level. Even allowing for obsolescence and replacement, and demand for holiday homes, it is clear that housing was being built in excess of demand and in response to the tax incentives (as clearly illustrated by Figure 5). The result is a significant oversupply of stock and a helping hand in the collapse of the banks (see Figure 6 for vacancy levels per ED).

I’d put it rather more strongly: the Upper Shannon Renewal Scheme was a gigantic waste of resources.