Thursday, May 10, 2012

The ghost houses of Ireland: Foreclosure and eviction

DUBLIN—In Mairead Harold’s Irish childhood, there were no rugged mountains, stone-built cottages or seaside cliffs.

Harold grew up poor in Dublin’s derelict Finglas neighbourhood, where rows of gritty semi-detached houses and parks have long been regarded as a haven for drug dealers and their clients.

A 1987 marriage to Stan Harold hardly improved her fortunes. Within weeks of their wedding, he was laid off and she had to use a modest family inheritance to pay down most of the $24,000 mortgage on their new three-bedroom home.

It wasn’t long before Stan left.

Almost 20 years later, he came back, announcing in 2005 that he wanted roughly $130,000 to surrender his claim to the house. Mairead Harold couldn’t raise the cash on her own. She earned $13 an hour working for a bookmaker, her unemployed adult son lived with her and her heroin-addicted daughter was constantly asking for money. Read More