New digital hub at Michael Cusack Centre brings high-speed connectivity to Carron
Clare County Council, in partnership with the Michael Cusack Visitor Centre and the Government of Ireland, has officially opened the Cusack Hub and Broadband Connection Point at the Michael Cusack Centre in Carron, County Clare.
The new digital hub facility, which is part of the Local Authority’s DigiClare.ie initiative, will support rural social enterprises and the wider community by providing flexible, affordable hot desks, video conferencing and printing facilities, all supported by high-speed broadband.
The facilities at the hub will be made available to all members of the community who have a requirement to access these services, such as those working remotely and students who require access to third-level course material being delivered online.
Groups and organisations in the area will also be able to utilise the facilities for community purposes, such as meetings and presentations.
The Cusack Hub is serviced by high-speed broadband connectivity, which is being delivered through the Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) initiative.
The BCP initiative is a collaborative effort involving the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, local authorities and the owners and managers of the BCP sites.
The initiative was established to ensure remote areas, particularly those that are likely to wait longest for connections, are provided with some access to high-speed broadband while waiting for the National Broadband Plan roll-out to reach them.
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “I want to congratulate Clare County Council on the opening of its new digital hub facility. This facility will give people easy access to high-speed broadband and will provide the option to work remotely. Remote working, or connected working, as I like to call it, is now a reality, particularly in light of Covid-19. Connected working will reduce commute times, provide increased custom for local businesses in rural towns, and will even attract people to move back to areas they grew up in. It has the potential to transform rural Ireland and to enable people to pursue good careers while continuing to live in rural areas. I believe Ireland can be a world leader in remote/connected working, and the development of hubs such as this one is a crucial part in achieving that goal.”
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, said: “BCPs are a key element of the National Broadband Plan and will provide high-speed broadband in community facilities, schools, tourism locations, business parks, library hubs and local sports facilities. I welcome progress to date in delivering high-speed connectivity in County Clare, connecting rural communities in advance of the roll-out of the fibre-to-the-home network.”
In line with Covid-19 restrictions, the official launch of the Cusack Hub took place virtually on Wednesday, 9th December, and was addressed by the Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard; Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council; Flan Garvey, Chairperson, Michael Cusack Centre Ltd; Dr Stjohn O’Connor, Principal Officer, Department of Rural and Community Development; and Urban McMahon, Head of IS – Digital Transformation and Broadband, Clare County Council.
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said: “It is striking today that we are talking about broadband and digital in the heart of the Burren at the homestead of Michael Cusack, GAA founder. The opening of the Cusack Hub brings a welcome new resource to the local community and will support rural social enterprises in the area. The addition of another facility to the network of digital hubs in County Clare underscores our commitment to supporting rural, community and economic development. Utilising broadband and digital technology is a key enabler of rural development. Covid-19 has changed how we work, study and interact, and the value of the DigiClare.ie network has been evident this year as a critical piece of our technology infrastructure.”
Flan Garvey, Chairperson, Michael Cusack Centre Ltd, said: “The opening of the Cusack Hub at the Michael Cusack Centre in Carron, home of the founder of the GAA, is a very proud day for the Centre and is a great tribute to Michael Cusack and his vision. The Cusack Hub is an excellent example of a local tourism community group working in partnership with Clare County Council to help people during these challenging times to access state-of-the-art digital facilities and to help students with their studies and enable people to consider working remotely, or to start or grow their business from the hub. The Michael Cusack Centre in Carron is situated in the award-winning Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and is an active member of the Burren Ecotourism Network, which was recently chosen by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top 30 places, people and tourism projects for 2021.”
Urban McMahon, Head of IS – Digital Transformation and Broadband, Clare County Council, said: “Jobs and employment are a key focus of the 10-year Clare Rural Development Strategy. Modern broadband connectivity is being made available to support those considering enterprise or interested in enhancing their skills or returning to work, training, education or learning. These opportunities will benefit residents and add to the attractiveness of rural Clare for those who wish to work or re-settle here.”
The new Cusack Hub is one of six digital hubs that are being provided under Clare County Council’s DigiClare.ie initiative, with the others located in Ennistymon, Kilrush, Kilkee, Miltown Malbay and Feakle.
For more information on Clare’s digital hubs, visit www.digiclare.ie
Flan Garvey, Chairperson, Michael Cusack Centre Ltd (front centre), cuts the ribbon at the official opening of the new DigiClare.ie Cusack Hub in Carron, County Clare, on Wednesday, 9th December, 2020. Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council (front left), and Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard (front right), were among the speakers, with guests and representatives joining virtually.
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