MINISTER for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, was on Bere Island on Tuesday July 27th to visit a series of new rural development projects as part of a nationwide tour to promote Our Rural Future.
After meeting with the island community, the Minister availed of a highspeed broadband hub to securely attend the day’s cabinet meeting.
The broadband hub on Bere Island is one of hundreds of facilities across the country that provide highspeed quality broadband, allowing people to work and study remotely.
Developing Ireland’s first ever nationwide hub network is a key part of Our Rural Future, which sets out the government’s vision for rural Ireland over the next five years.
Speaking after the government meeting, the Minister said: ‘Over a year ago, the idea of attending a meeting of cabinet from such a remote location like Bere Island would have been seen as far-fetched,
but remote working is now a reality the length and breadth of the country, including on our offshore islands.
I was really pleased to avail of the excellent and secure facilities on Bere Island which also allow local people to avail of online services without the need to travel to the mainland. They also allow young people to study within their own community and are an important facility for visitors like me.’
There are now twelve broadband facilities like the one on Bere Island in islands off the coast of Kerry, Galway, Donegal, Cork and Mayo.
The digital connectivity they provide give choices about where people live and how they work.
One of the key aims of the government’s new five-year strategy for rural Ireland, Our Rural Future, is to promote remote working and enable people to work from rural or island locations.
Speaking about further support for remote working, the Minister continued: ‘I was delighted to be able to further support remote working recently when I announced over €8.8 million in funding for 117 projects across the country. This support provided through Our Rural Future, along with other initiatives such as the National Broadband Plan and the Remote Working Strategy, will help to breathe new life into rural areas and islands.’
The Minister concluded: ‘Our Rural Future commits to the development of a national network of 400 quality remote working hubs nationwide over the next five years. Connected Hubs which I launched in May, already has 121 hubs live and on board. People can visit www.connectedhubs.ie and book a hot desk or remote working space for a day, a week, a month – whatever best suits their needs.’