Minister opens Mayo rural development projects
THE Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, has officially opened and visited a range of projects across Mayo today which have received funding from her department.
She toured the Connacht GAA Dome, opened the new Digispace Connected Hub in Claremorris, dropped by Castlebar Social Services Office, and also visited the old courthouse in Balla which has been converted into an enterprise hub.
All of the projects opened as part of the minister’s visit received investment under the government’s rural development policy, Our Rural Future.
Minister Humphreys began her trip with a visit to the Connacht GAA Air Dome in Bekan, which was made possible by a grant of €2.1 million from the department’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
Speaking at the dome, Minister Humphreys said: “This project is absolutely spectacular, having received a huge investment of €2.1 million.
“I understand this is the world’s largest sports air dome and it is fantastic to see it right bang in the middle of rural Ireland.
“I want to commend Connacht GAA for their vision in developing this project. I know the air dome has already hosted a number of inter-county games and provides a state of art facility regardless of the weather.
“I’m delighted my department has been able to support this great project, which I believe could be replicated in other provinces.”
The department remains a strong supporter in the continued development of the facility and during her visit Minister Humphreys turned the sod on a new €40,000 extension to a walkway on the site, funded by the CLÁR Programme.
The funding will provide an additional 700 metres of walkway and bolster the extensive biodiversity and sustainability programmes that are already underway on site. A total of 7,000 trees have been planted along the walkway route.
The minister also opened a new coffee shop at the facility and received a tour of the state-of-the-art complex.
The minster then went to Digispace Claremorris to officially open the new Connected Hub.
Digispace Claremorris boasts cutting edge office, conference and kitchen facilities. The project received over €200,000 in funding through the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The facility has a range of affordable office space to rent with flexible, ‘easy in/easy out’ options for businesses and individuals. Its co-working spaces are available for hire on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis to anyone who needs a desk space on a flexible basis.
Digispace is one of almost 300 digital hubs that have been on boarded onto the National Hub Network’s online platform, Connectedhubs.ie.
The key objective of the National Hub Network is to provide a shared infrastructure that will deliver real benefits, particularly for rural communities.
Speaking at the official opening of Digispace Claremorris, the minister said: “I’m delighted to be here in Claremorris for what is a great day of celebration, as we officially open your new state-of-the-art remote working facility."
It would serve communities in Mayo for years to come, she commented, 'creating opportunities for workers to realise their career potential within their own communities - without the need move to the likes of Galway, or Dublin to take up a job.”
Minister Humphreys then travelled to Balla, where she met with representatives of the local community group to hear about exciting proposals that have for development of the village.
From there it was to Castlebar Social Services Office, which received nearly €300,000 worth of LEADER funding to carry out refurbishment works.
These works included the installation of a lift, which was essential to enable all clients to access the two upper storeys of the historic building.
The office provides numerous services that are not available anywhere else in the area, including a centre of information to the elderly, an outreach Meals on Wheels service and meeting facilities for community and addiction support groups.
The minister’s final stop on this visit to Mayo was Breaffy House Resort to give the opening address at the Irish Shows Association annual general meeting and dinner dance.