Following the inevitable crash due to an implosion of the current insane debt and tax break fuelled Irish development bubble and severe reduction in oil supplies, there will initially be a wide range of distress sale, stranded assets up for grabs at knock down prices.

Some of these will be irretrievable and best recycled by being abandoned, scavenged or demolished and reused. Others will retain some intrinsic value if novel imaginative uses can be found for them and probably worth a punt by post crash entrepreneurs.

This article considers a number of novel reuse and recycles options.

Tourism-Related Assets

Severe reduction in oil supplies and the related hike in air, sea and land transport costs will pretty much kill off the Irish tourism industry. This will lead to a huge number of related properties, and facilities, already in ludicrous over supply in many areas, being dumped on the market at bargain basement prices :

Holiday Homes

That getaway bijou holiday home in Achill or Innishowen or West Cork will become even more of a mill stone around the owner’s neck when increasing loan repayments and running costs begin to really bite.

Frequent visits to get away from it all will start to look a lot less attractive when it starts to cost say, 500 miles return at 25 mpg at €5 a litre, or about €400 just to get there and back from Dublin in the laden down rufty tufty 4WD or high performance luxury air conditioned limo. Switching on all the electrical appliances or running the oil fired central heating on arrival; to drive out the damp will be an increasingly expensive option.

Many holiday homes are built on spots with great views but are unlikely to be bought by locals as they come with little land other than a postage stamp sized, not very fertile lawn. Many are probably impossible to economically heat in the winter due to shoddy construction and wind exposure.

Some may be viable for year round living but most would best be scavenged, demolished and useful parts recycled.

VERDICT – Sell Now before the rush starts.

Bed & Breakfasts

These “Mac Mansions” can probably continue to be used as family homes by contracting the amount of space used. Spare rooms could be let as storage for all those essentials that might become scarce.

VERDICT – Hold if loss of B&B income can be borne, otherwise Sell Now before the rush starts.

Hotel & Leisure Centres

The oversupply of these in scenic rural Ireland is now chronic. Some, genuinely built to a high standard might be attractive as sustainable living research centres if they have access to sustainable energy sources.

Swimming pools may make useful thermal energy stores to soak up excess energy supply from local intermittent renewable energy sources.

If in receivership. play hard ball with the bank to pay you to take these wasting liabilities off their hands. This will be dream scenario for anybody gouged by the banks during the boom.

VERDICT – Buy when the price is right and if they meet above criteria, Hold if you are a born optimist and try and Sell Now if you are a realist facing into increasing overheads and low occupancy

Restaurants

Some of these may be viable if their customer base can afford to arrive by helicopter or government limo what ever the price of fuel, others if they can offer value for money to locals with meals mainly produced with local produce.

VERDICT – Consider restructuring to meet local demand if not burdened by debt. Otherwise try and Sell Now.

Pubs and Off Licenses

It hardly need be said that Ireland is well endowed with these apparently perpetual motion resources many of which appear to be permanently up for sale! Sales of booze are likely to remain firm whatever the macro economic situation. Main problem areas are when viability is burdened by debt and dependant on annual summer tourist inrush.

VERDICT Caveat Emptor – consider on site solar and wind powered micro brewery and distillery.

Transport-related Assets

This is where it starts to get really interesting and challenging. The scale of economic and human impact of oil depletion on this sector, that provides and supports so many job niches directly and indirectly and accounts for so much personal and state income and expenditure, will be truly massive.

It is hard not to notice that the country is currently displaying an apparently unstoppable momentum leading to an ever increasing amount of

Palatial and temple-like car showrooms with large areas of glass

This is an easy one though it will probably offend the hubris-laden pride of the current owners.

Excellent potential as horticultural green houses.

Banks encouraging customers to borrow money to buy cars

Strong rooms, safes and security features mean these buildings are ideal for securely storing things of real worth rather than exchange tokens and pieces of increasingly worthless paper.

Palatial and temple-like NRA offices

Built to high standard with excellent IT infrastructure, high potential as regional centres to research re engineering infrastructure to adapt to low oil consumption. Existing staff would have a potential for role in this work but only following intensive Maoist style ideological reorientation.

Road improvements, bypasses, car parks (municipal, tax break private sector, multi storey and underground), parking meters and proposed motorway network extensions.

Other

  • Cars, SUVs, artics, vans, earth moving machinery tractors, buses and lorries (not so many motor bikes and cycles) jammed on these roads at certain times

  • Sales lots overflowing with new cars, vans and lorries.
  • Sales lots overflowing with second hand cars, vans and lorries
  • Scrap heaps overflowing with scrapped vehicles
  • Garages and backyard car repair businesses
  • Fuel tankers
  • Petrol stations and en suite convenience retail outlets
  • Car valet businesses
  • Specialised car component manufacturers
  • Boy racers.

VERDICT: Please send your suggestions.

Energy Assets

Wind Farms

Not an obvious one this but, as presently configured, they can only function as long as the rest of the national non-renewable electricity generating system continues to reliably operate 24/7 to provide a stable base load and “top up and spill” for them to feed in to.

Electricity system operators, like ESB, have to increase their “spinning reserve” capacity to accommodate intermittent wind energy largely cancelling any emissions benefits accruing.

VERDICT: Have huge potential if they can be economically re-engineered to operate supplying local load on a stand alone basis and an ability to dump load into local industrial and transport fuel processes, heat stores etc.

This would be very challenging but feasible by juggling wind energy against, say, severe “intelligent” demand side management, biomass fuelled CHP, existing Hydro and Solar Photo Voltaics provided we could manage to get by on about 30% of current electricity consumption and only use washing machines when it was windy.