The €2.03m digital hub in Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry, was funded by the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
The first sod has been turned at a new €2.03m digital hub development in the south Kerry Gaeltacht by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys, TD.
The new development in Ballinskelligs will be the latest in a chain of hubs developed by Údarás na Gaeltachta under its Gteic digital hub network.
The Gteic@Baile an Sceilg hub will provide workspaces for up to 50 people, as well as remote learning and upskilling programmes and support for small businesses to develop and expand in the region.
Humphreys described the new hub as an “important project” for the region. She added that it would be part of a network of more than 400 digital hub facilities around Ireland that have been identified as part of the new National Hub Network, which went live earlier this year.
It is a key element of the Government’s five-year strategy Our Rural Future, which promises to invest in rural areas post-pandemic with a particular focus on enabling remote working, revitalising town centres and rolling out broadband.
“I have no doubt that this new digital hub facility will breathe new life into the community, allowing people to work remotely and generating economic footfall for the area,” Humphreys added.
Údarás na Gaeltachta’s CEO, Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, said his organisation was fortunate to have received funding for the facility under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and he hopes it will attract skilled workers to the area.
“This development will give the Gaeltacht diaspora the option of returning home and working remotely, or starting their own businesses, in a state-of-the-art facility created to enable and foster innovative employment opportunities. The Gteic@Baile an Sceilg will be a centre of excellence for other innovation and digital hubs once work here is complete.”
It is hoped that the Gteic hub will become a focal point for the business community of the Uíbh Ráthach (Iveragh) peninsula and surrounding towns including Bellinskelligs, Kenmare and Cahersiveen.
The hub will recruit a business development manager for a three-year period to help support small businesses, particularly in their early start-up phase.
The hub will also work closely with the Uíbh Ráthach Interagency Taskforce, which focuses on addressing the region’s population loss, ageing demographic profile and economic decline. The taskforce is aiming to attract families and entrepreneurs to the picturesque area in order to address these challenges.
Anna Ní Ghallachair, chair of Údarás na Gaeltachta, said she hopes all parties can work together to make the region an attractive location for workers. “The facility will provide support for small businesses and those wishing to return home to work or those seeking to make the Uíbh Ráthach peninsula the location of their new home.”