I thank the Deputy for raising this important matter. My Department operates a number of schemes that focus on supporting the development of remote working hubs as outlined in Our Rural Future, Rural Development Policy 2021-2025. To date, approximately €100 million has been provided by my Department through various funding streams to support the development of digital hubs and remote working facilities across Ireland.
In May last year, I launched the national connected hubs network, connectedhubs.ie. There are currently 189 hubs live on the platform, with this number rising on an ongoing basis. The network includes a diverse range of hubs, services and facilities, thus facilitating different types of employers and employees. The platform offers booking and hub management applications to network members.
To date our focus has been on the establishment of the network. The focus will now shift to raising awareness of the network to relevant stakeholders, including SMEs, business owners and hub users. Consultations are also ongoing with hub managers across the country in developing the future strategic direction of the national hub network. With a connected hubs marketing campaign currently in the final stages of development and due to launch shortly, coinciding with the return to the office, it is expected that these events will have a positive effect on the uptake of remote working from hub facilities.
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 ongoing development of a comprehensive and integrated network of remote working hubs in recognition of the vital role that they can play in our post-Covid recovery.