Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Rural and Community Development

Flexible Work Practices

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

343. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of connected hubs in each county which are now established; if she would consider giving these hubs an explicit mandate to promote positive ageing, particularly as a location to access information, to develop digital skills, to access trusted advisers and services, and to promote community networks supportive of positive ageing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13549/24]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Our Rural Future recognises the opportunity for rural rejuvenation that remote working presents and commits to establishing a comprehensive national network of 400 remote working hubs over the lifetime of the policy. In support of this, my Department has invested significantly in the establishment and development of hubs through the range of schemes which make up my Department's Rural Development Investment Programme.

While many hubs and Broadband Connection Points do offer a number of ancillary services in their local areas, the primary focus of the Connected Hub network is support more people to work remotely in rural towns and villages across Ireland. With this in mind, I launched the Connected Hubs online platform to simplify the process of booking and paying for remote working spaces at remote working hubs. The platform also provides users with details of the location of, and facilities available in each hub and offers a suite of booking, hub management and e-commerce applications to member hubs and their users. Table 1 provides a breakdown of the 351 remote working hubs by county on-boarded to the Connectedhubs.ie platform. These are comprised of various ownership models, including public, private, and community-owned hubs, with varying levels of skills and capacity.

Significant supports for positive aging are already in place across government. My colleague, Mary Butler T.D., is Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People. The Department of Health’s National Positive Ageing Strategy promotes active citizenship and the health, wellbeing and quality of life of people as they age. It provides a blueprint for whole-of-government policy making and service-delivery in partnership with the community and voluntary sector. Furthermore, the Department of Health provides funding to a number of non-governmental organisations which play a key role in providing advice and support to older people supporting healthy, active, and autonomous ageing, including ALONE, Age and Opportunity, Age Action, Active Retirement Ireland, and Age Friendly Ireland. The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science has alos published the Adult Literacy for Life Strategy, a ten-year plan that aims to provide literacy supports and skills, including digital literacy, to all adults with unmet literacy needs, learners in further and higher education, and life-long learning.

Throughout my tenure as Minister for Rural and Community Development, I have been clear that balanced regional development, sustainable and thriving communities, and indeed the wider national economy will all benefit from workers and employers embracing the remote working revolution. I am committed to ensuring that the Connected Hubs Network will continue to make a central contribution to the achievement of the Government's vision for rural Ireland, as set out in Our Rural Future.

TABLE 1 – Connectedhubs.ie - Remote Working Hubs by County (as of the 18th of March 2024) Live on the connectedhubs.ie platform
Carlow 5
Cavan 8
Clare 13
Cork 34
Donegal 19
Dublin 50
Galway 31
Kerry 21
Kildare 9
Kilkenny 5
Laois 5
Leitrim 11
Limerick 16
Longford 5
Louth 10
Mayo 22
Meath 6
Monaghan 9
Offaly 9
Roscommon 8
Sligo 6
Tipperary 15
Waterford 9
Westmeath 4
Wexford 12
Wicklow 9
Total 351


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.