I propose to take Questions Nos. 75, 110 and 138 together.
I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. Our Rural Future: Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 recognises the potential of remote working hubs as key economic assets for our rural towns and villages. Notwithstanding the clear benefits to individuals and families in terms of quality of life indicators, remote working from hubs will also support local economies, reduce carbon emissions and may arrest or reverse the depopulation of certain areas.
In May last, 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. Currently, 223 hubs are live on the platform, with this number increasing on an ongoing basis. In total, 20 of these 223 hubs are located in counties Limerick and Tipperary, with a further 32 hubs within these counties mapped for invitation to join the network. I will provide a table for the Deputies that gives a breakdown of these figures.
My Department continues to fund the establishment and development of remote working hubs under a number of funding streams. For example, under the connected hubs 2021 funding call, more than €800,000 was awarded to applicants in counties Limerick and Tipperary, enabling the enhancement of their remote working facilities. I have also recently announced funding of €18.5 million under the 2021 town and village renewal scheme. Successful projects included 28 remote working proposals. In February, I launched the connected hubs 2022 funding call, a €5 million funding stream to further support remote working facilities, including broadband connection points, throughout the country and to add further capacity to the national hub network. My officials are evaluating the applications that have been submitted and I expect to announce the successful applicants in the next few weeks. Details of all these schemes and successful applications are available on gov.ie.
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 they can play in our post-Covid recovery. I am a very strong supporter of remote working hubs. Remote working has been a game changer for rural Ireland and has helped to revitalise our towns and villages, allowing people to remain in their communities while taking up high-quality jobs. I launched a broadband connection point only two weeks ago in a very small community called Maudabawn outside Cootehill, County Cavan. I was able to say to the people there that they could do the same job in Maudabawn that they could do in Manhattan, and that is a fact because of remote working technology. The hubs are the way to go. If someone is working from home, work can impinge on the person's home life and that is not what we want. With remote working hubs, people will have the discipline of going to work in the morning and, even better, they will finish in the evening, go home and leave the work behind them. We should all have the right to disconnect, but if someone is working from home, that can encroach on the person's family life, which is not good for anybody.
This is why we have been investing in remote working hubs throughout the country. Whether through converting old cinemas, Garda stations, banks or railway stations, many types of derelict buildings have been identified by local authorities and we have been able to provide funding through the town and village renewal scheme and the rural regeneration and development fund to help them convert these buildings into modern-day use. What better way to use them than as remote working facilities? They are comfortable, the health and safety requirements are met and the worker sits at a chair that will not harm his or her back, which cannot always be said about a kitchen table. Moreover, the worker sits at a desk of a suitable height and works in a comfortable environment.
We should promote remote working hubs at every opportunity and I want employers to embrace this because there is a win for employers as well in that they will have happier workers and productivity will increase. Employers will not have to pay exorbitant rents in city locations when they can get a much cheaper alternative in rural towns and villages.