The boss of the Council denounces the “ disappointing ” dissolution of the Digital Hub based on freedoms


THE REDUCTION of the Dublin Digital Hub in freedoms has been criticized by the Director General of Dublin City Council after the government’s decision to hand over the site to the Land Development Agency for social and affordable housing.

The Hub, located on Thomas Street, was established in 2003 and is home to over 30 tech companies. The communication department confirmed at the end of April the development agency of the digital hub [DHDA] was “no longer needed” and would be closed.

Council chief executive Owen Keegan expressed “disappointment” this week and said the decision to dissolve the agency was made “without any commitment” to its board.

In 2011, DHDA – which offers a number of training initiatives at the local level – was included in a list of agencies to be merged. The government then decided that responsibility for DHDA would be transferred to Dublin City Council.

“For reasons that are not entirely clear, this decision was never implemented although the city council agreed to take responsibility for the agency,” Keegan said, responding to the labor adviser. Daragh Moriarty.

A 2018 study by Grant Thornton said that maintaining the Agency was not necessary to support the continued growth of the digital technology sector, but said it served as a counterbalance to the proliferation of collaborative workspaces. in Dublin Docklands.

The report concluded that the Agency was important to the ongoing regeneration of The Liberties which “continues to be one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in Dublin” and recommends maintaining the Digital Hub.

The Council said the dissolution of DHDA could mean the end of a number of local training initiatives.

Keegan said on Monday that “the relationships DHDA established with local business base, local educational institutions, local health care providers and local community groups would have ensured that development was locally integrated and sustainable. long-term, greatly facilitating regeneration. and revitalization of the area. “

Keegan said DHDA staff have worked with local schools, families and businesses to develop and promote a wide range of skills in the community, from computer literacy to website building, to e-commerce. , coding, digital design, animation, sound and video recording and writing, problem solving, teamwork and communication.

“These programs have enriched and empowered both participants and providers. The loss of these programs is particularly disappointing, ”he said.

Following the confirmation of the dissolution of the Agency, its CEO, Fiach Mac Conghail, criticized what he described as the government’s decision to “abolish” the Digital Hub, but pledged to “transfer” property ordered ”to the LDA, the Irish Times reported.

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Keegan said this week that the agency’s goal is to foster the development of business clusters focused on societal needs, such as health and wellness and climate emergency responses.

“This ambition was clearly not shared by the government,” he said.

A ministry spokesperson said the LDA’s redevelopment of the Thomas Street site would be “a transformational project for Dublin, with potential for a significant housing supply in a central area, as well as potential for other community uses ”.

He said the LDA would prepare a development plan for the site “and engage with the local community and other stakeholders on other potential civic and community uses in addition to housing”.

The Digital Hub is expected to remain in place until mid-2022.

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