Minister of State Kyne Launches Digital Innovation Programme

€250,000 Programme will support local digital initiatives

 Published 26 September 2018

The Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Seán Kyne T.D. today, 25 September, announced the launch of a new €250,000 digital support programme to assist local authorities develop digital initiatives in their areas.

The programme will complement the development and rollout of local digital strategies, which are being prepared by local authorities to ensure businesses and communities are able to fully maximise the benefits of high speed broadband. The programme also aims to provide a pathway for digital initiatives to be tested ahead of being scaled up and replicated elsewhere in the country.

Speaking today Minister of State Kyne said: “I am delighted to create the Digital Innovation Programme as a means of supporting local authorities develop and implement their digital strategies. I see today’s announcement as a starting point for the digital journey that local authorities and communities are on and, with the publication of the digital readiness assessments last week, there are clear opportunities to develop exciting and innovative digital initiatives.”

As part of a pilot Digital Innovation Programme, five pathfinder projects in Galway, Roscommon, Sligo, Longford and Monaghan were selected for funding totalling €106,500. Minister of State Kyne commented: “It is with great pleasure that I announce funding for these projects. These initiatives will provide benefits to the people of Galway, Sligo, Longford, Monaghan and Roscommon.

These projects aim to test innovative new ideas that can be scaled up or replicated by other local authorities. These five projects are very promising and will benefit school children, older people, small businesses, tourism initiatives and will provide shared telecommunications infrastructure. While these projects are the first to be funded, they won’t be the last. I very much look forward to the seeing the creative, innovative and original proposals from local authorities for consideration under this new Digital Innovation Programme Fund.”

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

The Digital Innovation Programme is an initiative of the Department of Rural and Community Development. It is designed to encourage local authority led projects that support digital development. These projects must promote, support, or otherwise advance at least one of the seven pillars of digital maturity:

Digital Skills

Infrastructure

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Digital Economy & Employment

Digital Services

Community & Culture

Digital Transition

Projects that cut across more than one of the pillars are particularly welcome.

These projects will provide innovative digital solutions to issues, or identify solutions to digital issues and should be scalable and replicable by other local authorities.

Pathfinder Projects

Digital Access and Tourism Hub in Eyre Square – Galway City Council

This project applied for funding to set up a Digital Access and Tourism Hub in an unused kiosk in the middle of Eyre Square, Galway City.  The hub will be used to tie in with Galway 2020 – Small Towns, Big Ideas, to promote the county and encourage tourists to travel outside of the city centre.

This project will provide valuable insights to other local authorities on establishing pop up digital hubs and will support local businesses and the demand for digital services.

Funding: €30,000

Development of Shared Telecommunications Infrastructure – Sligo County Council

This aim of this project is to build “meet me chambers”, or Municipal Communications Hubs” across Sligo town. These chambers will allow for easy access to underground ducting, facilitating the introduction of new telecoms cabling without the requirement for further road excavations. This would encourage cooperation and sharing arrangements to provide services across the town and avoid unnecessary disruption to traffic or the use of footpaths.

Funding: €20,000

Explore Longford/Monaghan App

Longford and Monaghan propose to work together to update the existing Explore Longford app and develop an Explore Monaghan app. The apps will promote the counties and allow tourists to receive real time information wherever they are. The apps will include heritage sites, wifi connectivity, driving routes, towns and villages and a programme of upcoming events from around the county.

This project will support local businesses and events and create a demand for digital services in the counties.

Funding: €17,500

Rural Working Hubs – Roscommon

This project involves setting up rural working hubs in rural communities that will be used by people to reduce the number of days they are commuting.  The building will cater for 4 workstations, a meeting room table and will have kitchen facilities. The locations will also be used to facilitate evening classes. The project would be completed with the SEAI.

This project, if successful would be scalable across rural Ireland with potential for a network of rural working hubs that would support job creation and retention in rural locations.

Funding: €35,000​

Primary Schools Project – Longford

This project proposes to champion the adoption and use of broadband technology in everyday life in Co Longford.  A competition will be held which will invite pupils at the 37 schools in Longford to submit projects on broadband availability and how life will change when the county is fully connected.  One project team from each municipal district will be invited to attend a presentation ceremony in the Council Offices with local and national media invited to attend.

Proposed funding: €4,000

 

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