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Flexible Work Practices

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (814)

Steven Matthews

Question:

814. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the position regarding developing and expanding of enterprise hubs remote working hub infrastructure in rural Ireland, particularly in County Wicklow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [61142/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

Our Rural Future, Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025, recognises the opportunity for rural rejuvenation that remote working presents and commits to establishing a comprehensive and integrated network of remote working hubs over the lifetime of the policy to 2025.

A number of funding streams operated by my Department directly support this commitment. For example, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme both support the establishment of new digital hubs. Under this year's schemes, projects that bring vacant properties in town centres back into use as remote working hubs were eligible to apply for funding. Projects that repurpose existing community or publicly owned buildings in town or village centres to facilitate remote working were also eligible.

In addition, earlier this year I awarded almost €9 million in funding through the Connected Hubs funding stream to add capacity to remote working infrastructure in digital hubs and broadband connection points throughout the country. Details of successful applications, including those in County Wicklow, are available on my Department's website.

In May I launched the National Connected Hubs network together with the connectedhubs.ie platform. The platform offers a suite of booking and hub management applications to members of the Network. There are currently 170 hubs live on the platform, with this number growing on an ongoing basis. Table 1 (attached) provides the number of remote working hubs onboarded onto the platform to date by county, together with remote working hubs that have been mapped and are invited to join the National Connected Hubs Network.

TABLE 1 - NATIONAL HUBS NETWORK STATUS

County

Live on the connectedhubs.ie platform

Mapped and invited to join the connectedhubs.ie platform

Carlow

4

3

Cavan

3

6

Clare

10

7

Cork

13

18

Donegal

11

11

Dublin

27

38

Galway

16

27

Kerry

13

13

Kildare

3

7

Kilkenny

1

5

Laois

4

5

Leitrim

7

14

Limerick

10

11

Longford

2

3

Louth

3

7

Mayo

11

21

Meath

0

12

Monaghan

6

3

Offaly

4

10

Roscommon

4

14

Sligo

3

9

Tipperary

4

21

Waterford

4

8

Westmeath

0

8

Wexford

5

9

Wicklow

2

4

TOTAL

170

294

The development of a national hubs network is a key commitment in Our Rural Future and I am committed to continuing my Department's support for the development of remote working hubs in recognition of the vital role that they can play in our post-Covid recovery.

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