‘A REAL community of innovation and work’ is how Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe described his first visit to Skibbereen’s Ludgate Hub.
Speaking to The Southern Star last Friday, Minister Donohoe said he was impressed with three aspects of his visit to the digital hub.
‘The first one is the degree to which it is being used as a kind of work area for people who are working elsewhere, and are spending more and more time in Ireland, including on holiday, and they can make their time longer. That wasn’t what I was expecting to meet and see but I’ve met a lot of it already,’ said Minister Donohoe.
The variety of companies based at the Ludgate Hub also surprised the finance Minister. ‘I did expect to meet a lot of technology and finance companies here, but I didn’t expect to be meeting writers and artists here, and that’s brilliant.
‘And it’s already clear to me is that it’s being used as a start-up zone and it’s allowing one or two people to come together to set up a company, whereby before they may have had to go to Cork city for.’
As well as meeting board members including RTÉ director general Dee Forbes and Anne O’Leary of Vodafone, Minister Donohoe was given a private tour of the building and got the opportunity to meet workers from different companies, as well as meeting hot deskers on the top floor. He was visibly impressed with the whole operation.
Minister Donohoe added that it was great to finally visit Ludgate and experience the ‘vibrancy’ and ‘buzz’ that people are using to describe the place.
‘It’s already really clear to me that everybody who has been involved in Ludgate has managed to put together a real community of innovation and work, and I’m here to understand which of these qualities can be replicated across the entire country due to the decision that we have made to go ahead with the National Broadband Plan,’ he said.
He did note, however, that there are qualities about the Ludgate project that are very specific to Skibbereen which could be hard to replicate in other parts of the country.
‘I think the people that are here and the quality of the board and the way in which they have worked with each other in truth would be a tall order to replicate everywhere else. Something really special has happened here,’ he told The Southern Star.
Minister Donohoe, an avid book reader, also dropped into the vegan café Antiquity on Bridge St.