The Story of the Billion Euro House
In January 2012, Dublin Artist Frank Buckley found himself in massive negative equity, with the bank threatening to re-possess his house. They had given him a 100% mortgage at the height of Ireland’s property bubble, without little or no thought for the future: all they were thinking was their quarterly profit margins, and stuffing their pockets with money.
A mere 2 years later, the Irish economy collapsed, taking the banks, employment and hope of the Irish people with it. The Holy Financial Trinity of the EU, ECB and IMF arrived to control our finances, and force the Irish people to repay debts incurred by high-flying Irish property developers all across Europe, with borrowed German and French money.
The German and French banks were happy to take the high returns from their high risk investments while the good times lasted. But when the Irish property bubble burst, the high risk nature of their Irish property investments was revealed, through the collapse of banks that exclusively financed profligate Irish developers, like Anglo Irish Bank. But the German and French bankers refused to accept that they had made bad investments, or that they should take a hit on those investments. Instead, the Euro financiers strong-armed the weak Irish Government into assuming full responsibility for bad property investments by Anglo et al, thus condemning the Irish taxpayer to decades of suffering, with each Irish taxpayer having to pay at least €100,000 to repay debts that they never personally incurred or agreed to.
As the Irish bank sought to re-possess Frank’s home, to force him, and thousands of other Irish citizens they had hoodwinked, into paying for the Irish banks monumental mistakes and mismanagement, Frank resolved that he could not sit idly by. As an artist, how could he get ordinary people like himself to realise the true nature of the injustice that had been visited on the Irish people?
And so from the shreds of the Euro currency, the Billion Euro House was born. Frank constructed himself a new house, made literally from Euro banknotes. He spent weeks constructing the house in Smithfield, Dublin, from the shreds of Europe’s broken currency. You can see pictures of the result on his Billion Euro House Website
When Frank finally revealed his creation, “Expressions of Recession”, to the world, the response was phenomenal. News agencies, TV and Radio stations and News outlets from all continents, from Brazil to Beijing, were soon beating a path to his door: the story went viral, and his website had more than a million hits.
More importantly, Frank had thousands of local visitors drop by in person, both from Ireland and abroad. The topic of conversation over a nice cup of tea? “What is money? Who controls money? Who prints money? And who do they give it to when they print it? How has Euro money fared so badly? Why is Germany rolling in money, while the unfortunate citizens of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain foot the bill?”
It’s a been a fantastic result for Frank, one that has succeeded beyond his wildest imaginations: his art is making people ask questions, the real questions they should have been asking all along.