A new network of ‘Gteic’ digital hubs will provide more than 500 desk spaces for entrepreneurs and remote workers in seven Gaeltacht counties.
Today (25 September) a new digital hub network was announced by Údarás na Gaeltachta, which aims to “reinvigorate” Ireland’s Gaeltacht areas.
A total of 31 new ‘Gteic’ digital hubs will be opened, providing more than 500 desk spaces for entrepreneurs, remote workers and businesses throughout seven Gaeltacht counties.
Seven hubs are already operational in five counties, with plans for 14 hubs to be operational before the end of the year.
The project represents an investment of more than €5m, including more than €1.5m from Údarás na Gaeltachta and a further €3.5m in funding from the Government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
Hubs will be dotted along the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Kerry and Cork, in addition to locations in Waterford and Meath. Six Gaeltacht islands also form part of this growing digital ecosystem to “support the sustainability of these communities and off-shore islands”.
The gigabit-enabled network will feature high-speed broadband, with hubs tailored to suit each unique location. This will include hot desk and shared space facilities for remote workers and e-workers, in addition to fully equipped office spaces and incubation units.
Údarás na Gaeltachta said that there will be many possible benefits offered by the network, such as stimulating job creation, facilitating concept development and new business, and developing “a community of hubs where the unique Gaeltacht culture drives creativity and innovation”.
Moreover, it said that people native to Gaeltacht regions will be given opportunities to return to these areas and work from hot desks, co-working spaces or private oﬃces at the hubs. “This in turn will support, bolster and assist these unique language communities and help them to face the challenges of rural depopulation,” the agency added.
The hubs also aims to facilitate members of the workforce in achieving a healthy work-life balance, whether it be through shorter commutes or better technologies to aid their jobs.
Access will be provided to Údarás na Gaeltachta’s range of mentoring and business supports, with the goal of fostering the development of new business concepts.