Thursday, 29 March 2018

3 Digital Hubs for County Clare

Three digital hub facilities developed by Clare County Council were officially opened in Kilrush, Miltown Malbay and Feakle today by Pat Breen, T.D., Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection.

The facilities, which are part of the Local Authority’s initiative and are among the actions identified in the Clare Rural Development Strategy 2026, will support rural social enterprises and the wider community by providing flexible, affordable hot-desks, co-working, conference and training facilities for residents, visitors and entrepreneurs for as little as €10 per day.

Over the next 12 months, Clare County Council will be furthering its plans to develop a large-scale Broadband Hub in Ennis, including a hot desk facility and incubation units. A multi-service centre incorporating a Broadband Hub and other social and community services is also planned for Ennistymon. 

Minister of State Breen commented, “A few months ago the Government launched its National Action Plan for Rural Development - which outlines a framework of supports at national and local level for both the economic and social development of rural Ireland. Supporting Digital Hubs, like the three being opened here today and the two others Clare hubs nearing completion, helps not only in the economic development of rural Ireland, but also helps those who may otherwise work in isolation to come together to share ideas and encouragement.

“I am familiar with many of the businesses already using the Kilrush Hub, and recognise these entrepreneurs as the backbone of our rural economies in Clare. Entrepreneurship and business investment must continue to be encouraged and supported, especially in rural towns and villages, which inevitably face bigger challenges than those setting up in major cities.

“Digital Hubs provides much of that support and my department will continue to support rural entrepreneurship through our Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland,” he said.

Mayor of Clare, Councillor Tom McNamara, said, “On the first anniversary of the opening Rural Development Forum meeting, the official opening of the three Digital Broadband Hubs in Feakle, Miltown Malbay and Kilrush is tangible evidence of the value of developing and implementing a focused Rural Development Strategy in Clare.”

“Today, we have taken a giant stride forward which I am confident will be the first step in our shared journey to making rural Clare a sustainable and thriving place to live and work,” he added.

 Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said the Digital Hubs have been developed in line with our policy of utilising broadband and digital technology as a key enabler of Rural Development.  

He continued, “The users of these hubs are the lifeblood of the local community and it is in their interest and in the interest of job creation that Clare County Council is committed to further expanding its network of digital hubs.”

Mr. Dowling confirmed that Clare County Council will shortly launch a Digital Strategy for County Clare, “the overarching theme of which is supporting Rural, Community and Economic Development. Its key aim will be to bridge the digital divide as well as creating digitally intelligent communities in Clare. While a strategy in its own right, this Digital blueprint is a critical facilitator. It will enable Clare County Council to further the objectives of the Clare Rural Development Strategy across the county.”