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Digital hubs to enable rural development in Clare

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Three digital hub facilities developed by Clare County Council have officially been opened in Kilrush, Miltown Malbay and Feakle by Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen.

The facilities are part of the local authority’s DigiClare.ie initiative and are among the actions identified in the Clare Rural Development Strategy 2026. It is envisaged they will support rural social enterprises and the wider community by providing flexible, affordable hot-desks, co-working, conference and training facilities for residents, visitors and entrepreneurs, costing from €10 per day.

Over the next 12 months, Clare County Council says it will be furthering its plans to develop a large-scale broadband hub in Ennis, including a hot-desk facility and incubation units. A multi-service centre incorporating a broadband hub and other social and community services is also planned for Ennistymon.

Minister Breen said: “A few months ago the Government launched its National Action Plan for Rural Development, which outlines a framework of supports at national and local level for both the economic and social development of rural Ireland. Supporting digital hubs, like the three being opened here today, and the two other Clare hubs nearing completion, helps not only in the economic development of rural Ireland, but also helps those who may otherwise work in isolation to come together to share ideas and encouragement.

“I am familiar with many of the businesses already using the Kilrush hub, and recognise these entrepreneurs as the backbone of our rural economies in Clare. Entrepreneurship and business investment must continue to be encouraged and supported, especially in rural towns and villages, which inevitably face bigger challenges than those setting up in major cities.

“Digital hubs provide much of that support and my department will continue to support rural entrepreneurship through our Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland,” he said.

Pat Dowling, chief executive of Clare County Council, said the digital hubs have been developed in line with the council's policy of utilising broadband and digital technology as a key enabler of rural development: “The users of these hubs are the lifeblood of the local community and it is in their interest and in the interest of job creation that Clare County Council is committed to further expanding its network of digital hubs.”

Tags: rural digital hub Clare County Council