“If you build it, they will come.” The iconic quote from the film Field of Dreams seems like a rebuke to Ireland’s misguided builders and planners as the depressing sight of rows of newly built empty houses – windows broken and doors flapping in the wind – stretch out in the distance.
I’d come to Co Leitrim, in the west of Ireland, to see for myself the so-called ghost housing estates that first came to the public’s attention four years ago as the Celtic Tiger collapsed leaving thousands of developers bankrupt and projects half finished. Surely in four years, something would have been done about this national embarrassment – so obvious a sign of the demise of Ireland’s once envied economy?
By Cathal McNaughton
John McCarter is 77 years old and has been living without mains electricity at his home at Downhill, Londonderry county, for 29 years.
It seems incredible that a pensioner who lives so close to the prosperous Causeway Coast tourist area in Northern Ireland is allowed to live in such basic conditions.
Tradition is something that is celebrated, enjoyed and handed down to the next generation, but in the small corner of western Europe where I was born, it has led to shootings and bombings and the loss of thousands of lives.
For 16 years I’ve worked as a photographer covering ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and in this time I’ve come to realize that what one side of the political and religious divide sees as celebration, the other sees as triumphalism.