The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys T.D. today (28/07/2021) turned the first sod at the €2.03m gteic@Baile an Sceilg development, a digital hub being developed on the Uíbh Ráthach Peninsula. The Department of Rural and Community Development provided the capital funding in April of this year to develop the digital hub in south Kerry, it is hoped the development will revitalise the area and support the efforts of the Uíbh Ráthach Interagency Taskforce.
gteic@Baile an Sceilg will provide workspaces for up to 50 people as well as providing remote learning and upskilling programmes, support for small businesses to develop and expand and provide remoting working space for the surrounding region. This project is the latest in a chain of innovation hubs developed by Údarás na Gaeltachta under its gteic Digital Gaeltacht Network which is at the core of Údarás na Gaeltachta’s Strategy Plan 2021- 2025. This facility will become a focal point and centre of excellence in the provision of the support services required by the business community of the Uíbh Ráthach Peninsula and the surrounding region. As part of the project a Business Development Manager will be recruited for a 3-year period under the auspices of Údarás na Gaeltachta to support small businesses, particularly in their early start-up phase and will ensure the provision of enterprise and local development services.
This innovative and creativity hub will support the work of the Uíbh Ráthach Interagency Taskforce which was established in Uíbh Ráthach in September 2017 to implement its Action Plan. The Taskforce set out challenging, realistic, time-specific measures aimed at addressing the severe population loss, ageing demographic profile and economic decline. The Taskforce is aiming to attract families and entrepreneurs to this picturesque area in order to address these challenges. It is hoped it will become a template for other areas throughout Ireland which are under similar pressures and dealing with similar issues.
Speaking at the sod turning of the new gteic Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys T.D. said:
“I was delighted to turn the first sod at the new gteic Digital Hub in Baile an Sceilg in South Kerry. My Department was pleased to provide just over €2m in capital funding for this important project on the Uíbh Ráthach Peninsula and support Údarás na Gaeltachta as it develops its gteic network. I have no doubt that this new digital hub facility will breathe new life into the community, allowing people to work remotely and generating economic footfall for the area. Developing a network of over 400 digital hub facilities, including in some of our most remote locations, is a key commitment under Our Rural Future – the Government’s five year strategy for rural Ireland. High quality digital connectivity offers an unprecedented opportunity to transform rural Ireland and the gteic network, coupled with my Department’s Connected Hubs initiative, will assist in realising this ambition.”
Welcoming the announcement, the Chairperson of the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta, Anna Ní Ghallachair, said:
“On behalf of the Board, I am pleased that the development of gteic@Baile an Sceilg in South Kerry’s Uíbh Ráthach area has begun. The project received funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. This is very positive news for the community and for entrepreneurs in the area and will greatly enhance the work of the Uíbh Ráthach Interagency Taskforce, which is working diligently to boost employment activity in the area. The facility will provide support for small businesses and those wishing to return home to work or those seeking to make the Uíbh Ráthach Peninsula the location of their new home.”
Údarás na Gaeltachta’s Chief Executive Officer Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, spoke of the announcement:
“We warmly welcome the turning of the first sod on the gteic@Baile an Sceilg site, which received generous capital funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund earlier in the year. This facility will enhance an area addressing rural depopulation and economic and infrastructure difficulties and revitalise the region. This development will give the Gaeltacht Diaspora the option of returning home and working remotely, or starting their own businesses, in a state-of-the-art facility created to enable and foster innovative employment opportunities. The gteic@Baile an Sceilg will be a centre of excellence for other innovation and digital hubs once work here is complete.”