Irishman makes "billion-euro home" of shredded notes

DUBLIN Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:49am EST

1 of 6. Artist Frank Buckley sits on the toilet of the house he has built out of 1.4 billion decommissioned euro notes from the Central Bank's mint, January 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

DUBLIN (Reuters) - An unemployed Irish artist has built a home from the shredded remains of 1.4 billion euros ($1.82 billion), a monument to the "madness" he says has been wrought on Ireland by the single currency, from a spectacular construction boom to a wrenching bust.

Frank Buckley built the apartment in the lobby of a Dublin office building that has lain vacant since its completion four years ago at the peak of an ill-fated construction boom, using bricks of shredded euro notes he borrowed from Ireland's national mint.

"It's a reflection of the whole madness that gripped us," Buckley said of what he calls his "billion-euro home."

"People were pouring billions into buildings now worth nothing," he said. "I wanted to create something from nothing."

A wave of cheap credit flowed into Ireland in the early 2000s after Ireland joined the currency zone fuelling a huge property bubble that transformed the country.

The bubble's collapse since 2007 plunged Ireland into the deepest recession in the industrialized world, forcing the former "Celtic Tiger" to accept a humiliating bailout from the EU and the IMF.

Buckley was given a 100 percent mortgage at the peak of the boom to buy a 365,000 euro home on the far reaches of Dublin's commuter belt, despite the fact he had no steady income.

He has separated from his wife who lives in the home, which has since lost at least one-third of its value.

Living in his "billion euro home" since the start of December, Buckley is working on adding a kitchen to the living room and hall.

The walls and floor are covered in euro shreddings and the house is so warm Buckley sleeps without a blanket.

Pictures made from notes and coins decorate the walls, including one of a house, made from Irish 5 pence pieces.

"There are houses in Ireland worth less than that," Buckley quips.

Buckley said he wants Europe's politicians to solve the eurozone debt crisis without destroying its currency. But if the currency ultimately fails, he will happily use the euro zone's defunct notes as fodder for future projects.

"Whatever you say about the euro, it's a great insulator."

($1 = 0.7704 euros)

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Carmel Crimmins and Paul Casciato)

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Comments (2)
breezinthru wrote:
Ireland was not spending recklessly and failing to collect taxes in the way Greece was. Their banks went belly up, the bankers decided that the government should bail them out and the government did the banks’ bidding like a well-trained dog.

The Irish people didn’t deserve what happened to them.

Jan 26, 2012 9:04am EST  --  Report as abuse
Governments are printing currencies all over like confetti. This could get interesting. Sterling Greenwood/AspenFreePress

Jan 27, 2012 12:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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