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The Sunday Times Jan. 2016. Reproduced here with kind permission of The Sunday Times newspaper.


Just before Christmas I spent an hour with RTE recording a radio programme reflecting on some of the year’s most significant building and development issues. We discussed building defects, houses being flooded, ghost estates, and so on. After each clip played I gave my analysis of the situation, and it wasn’t long before I found myself repeating the same line, which was effectively: “I bet you there’s a planning report somewhere that says, ‘We don’t recommend you do this’.” But it was done anyway because the politicians—local and national—for their own reasons said “do it”, when the professionals said “don’t”. As a result we have housing built on floodplains, ghost estates littering the country and abandoned hotels in random locations.