Donegal TD Joe McHugh, Government Chief Whip and Minister for the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, has said the opening of the new gteic Gaoth Dobhair digital hub changes perceptions of living and working in the Gaeltacht.
“I’m delighted that the officials at Udaras na Gaeltachta are realising this dream today,” he said.
“I think the perception of the Gaeltacht changes once you go into the Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair. You have a naonra, a museum, a library but on top of that you have international companies and you have local companies.
“It gets rid of the perception of the Gaeltacht that it’s only insular type industry that goes on, providing for a local community. It’s bigger than that.
“The Gaeltacht is no longer just about a position of geography. It has a geographical remit but ideas such as gteic are very much an international story which is going from strength to strength.”
The gteic facility in Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair, is one of the latest digital hubs to be created by Udaras na Gaeltachta.
About €12million has been spent on the state of the art building with business people, entrepreneurs, start-ups and their staff based at the facility having access to innovation units with office space, high speed internet, incubation units, hot desks, video conferencing and meeting rooms.
It also has a library, art gallery and childcare facility on site.
Mr McHugh said: “This new hub in Gaoth Dobhair will become a centre connected worldwide and position our county in a very advantageous position nationally.”
The gteic hubs are part of Údarás's strategy to develop Gréasán Digiteach na Gaeltachta (Gaeltacht Digital Network).
Thirty innovation and digital hubs are planned throughout the Gaeltacht, including seven on Gaeltacht islands and another six on non-Gaeltacht islands, all of which are on or close to the Wild Atlantic Way.
Two have been opened - Béal an Mhuirthead, Co Mayo and Daingean Uí Chúis, Kerry. Another three should open later this year - An Cheathrú Rua, An Spidéal and Carna in Galway.
Twelve small businesses are in the Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair building and global companies like Pramerica and Optum (United Health) have located satellite offices alongside LG Marketing, Dearadh Grafach, Meastóirí Domhanda, Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta, DLDC, LYIT, Aniar Teo and others.
The gteic hubs are central to Údarás's strategy to promote creativity, innovation and enterprise throughout the Gaeltacht, to facilitate remote working in rural Gaeltacht areas and help sustain the communities.
It is also hoped the gteic hubs will inspire some of the Gaeltacht Diaspora to return to their local areas.
Údarás are working on developing opportunities for a broad range of companies and individuals in this context.
At the end of 2017 there were 7,503 full-time and 606 part time jobs in Údarás na Gaeltachta supported client companies. There are 2,193 full time posts in Údarás na Gaeltachta client companies in the Donegal Gaeltacht and approximately over 540 of these are based on Páirc Ghnó Ghaoth Dobhair.
Údarás client company sales for 2016 have been put at €844million of which 60% (€502million) were exports.
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