Birmingham & Black Country

Irish crisis 'hits some building schemes' in Birmingham

Some regeneration projects in Birmingham have been hit by the debt crisis in the Republic of Ireland, it has been revealed.

The Irish Republic government has asked for a European Union-led bail-out, which may total 90bn euros (£77bn).

Jerry Blackett of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce said some short-term projects linked to Irish banks had stalled.

However, he said overall the long-term regeneration of the city was not affected by the crisis.

Mr Blackett said the region's economy was "closely linked" to that of the Irish Republic.

Birmingham has a large Irish community and 12 flights a day arrive into the city's airport from the Republic of Ireland.

In the past six years about 1,000 jobs had been created in the city through projects backed by Irish investment, he said.

However, Mr Blackett said some projects had been hit, such as the Connaught Square development in Digbeth.

The project to build a six-storey hotel and more than 600 apartments on land opposite Digbeth station collapsed when the Irish developer went into administration earlier this year.

Mr Blackett said the financial problems in the Irish Republic had mainly hit speculative projects.

"Overall, it's not going to stop the regeneration of Birmingham in the long-term, but some short-term progress that we thought we were going to make because of Irish banks isn't going to happen," he said.

However, Birmingham City Council said the impact of the Republic of Ireland's financial problems on the city was not significant in itself and was no different than the wider economic problems seen globally.

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