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Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys and Minister Coveney address the 2nd annual National Hub Summit

Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys and Minister Coveney address the 2nd annual National Hub Summit

  • Hub Summit brings together key stakeholders and practitioners from across Ireland’s hub sector
  • 330 hubs now onboard – a key deliverable under Our Rural Future

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD, today addressed Ireland’s 2nd annual National Hub Summit which took place in Tullamore, County Offaly.

This year’s event serves as a platform for international and Irish speakers, hub teams, representative bodies, state agencies and government departments to engage in discussions regarding the future strategic direction of the National Hub Network in Ireland.

Speaking today, Minister Humphreys said:

“Our Rural Future recognises the golden opportunity that remote working presents in terms of rejuvenating our rural towns and villages.

“It’s an opportunity that we as a State have very much grasped, and the engagement by stakeholders at today’s summit is another important step in making Ireland a leader in remote working. As we look towards the next twelve months, I am extremely excited about what our hubs sector will achieve.

“I very much anticipate a vibrant, sustainable sector that can support communities and government priorities, from regional balanced development to reduced carbon emissions. I expect too to see a network that provides excellent, professional work spaces for talented and creative people, employees, employers and entrepreneurs alike.”

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD, highlighted the importance of the National Hub Network and the vital contribution hubs play in driving economic activity and supporting communities.

Speaking at the Summit, Minister Simon Coveney said:

“I am delighted to officially open the second National Hub Summit in Tullamore. The Summit brings together hub managers, staff, stakeholders, Government Departments and Agencies to collaboratively discuss the challenges and future direction of the National Hub Network.

“The contribution of hubs throughout the country, whether enterprise hubs or community hubs, is enormous. These hubs help drive economic activity, support communities and allow individuals to live and work in their local communities.

“The network of enterprise centres and hubs is vital in supporting balanced regional development and job creation in Ireland. Enterprise centres funded through Enterprise Ireland focus on the provision of spaces for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs; they provide supports for digitalisation and innovation as well as scaling. These hubs are vital infrastructure in their regions and are part of the backbone supporting local businesses to start, innovate and grow.

“Coupled with other hubs with a primary focus on providing co-working spaces and hot-desking, we have a superb offering of places for enterprise development and remote working right across the country.”

Speaking on the future of Connected Hubs, Allan Mulrooney, CEO, of the Western Development Commission commented:

“The WDC is spearheading this project alongside the Department of Rural and Community Development and its impact resonates across the entire country. The National Hubs Network is not just about physical spaces; it is a powerful community woven into the fabric of every region. This Summit marks a pivotal moment where hub managers converge with policy makers, state agencies, and senior Government officials to strategically chart the course for our National Hub Network.

“Through this robust collaboration, we are not only ensuring the network’s enduring strength but also playing a pivotal role in the rejuvenation of towns and villages nationwide. The surge of remote workers across rural Ireland is not just transforming work patterns; it’s breathing new life into communities and positioning our towns as magnets for top talent.”



Our Rural Future

Our Rural Future is the whole-of-government policy for rural Ireland for the period 2021-2025. It represents a new milestone in the approach to rural development policy for Ireland and adopts a more strategic, ambitious and holistic approach to investing in and maximising opportunities for rural areas.

One of the commitments provided in Our Rural Future is to establish a comprehensive and integrated national network of 400 Remote Working Hubs over the lifetime of the policy (to include a central booking platform for Connected Hub users).

The online platform was launched in May 2021 with 60 hubs on-boarded to the platform. This has grown substantially and 330 hubs are on the platform as of 06th November 2023, with at least 400 expected by 2025.

Western Development Commission

The Western Development Commission (WDC) is a statutory body that was established in 1997 to promote social and economic development in the Western Region (the counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare). It has a statutory obligation to advise the government on issues that impact on the Western Region and to promote government policy directed at improving social and economic standards here.

Speakers at the Hub Summit

Speakers on the day included

  • John O’Duinn a senior technologist, mentor and author who has worked in distributed companies for 32 years;
  • Pauline Roussel and Dimitar Inchev, co-founders of Coworkies Ltd, who have travelled to and researched over 500 co-working spaces across 50 cities;
  • Yoshio Tsuda, founder and director of co-working space ‘Morino-Office’ in Fujimi, Nagano, Japan;
  • Hans Zomer, CEO, Global Action Plan Ireland, who was named ‘Environmental Services CEO of the Year 2023’;
  • Mary McKenna, co-founder of AwakenHub, a distinguished visiting Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Oxford
  • Fergal McPartland from the Food Hub Drumshanbo and Patrick Rigney from Drumshanbo Gin.