Our Rural Future plan will “reimagine rural Ireland”

New remote working actions have been announced as part of the government's “Our Rural Future” development plan. Included in a number of key actions to be delivered through the “Our Rural Future” plan is a commitment to get 20% of public servants working remotely.

The actions include establishing a network of over 400 remote working hubs nationwide, to enable more people to live and work in rural communities. A pilot co-working and hot desking hubs are to be established for public servants in regional towns.

The plan envisions a move to 20% remote working in the public sector in 2021, with further annual increase over the next 5 years, as well as IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Údarás na Gaeltachta promoting the uptake of remote working across their client base.

Other actions include funding for the repurposing of vacant buildings in town centres into remote working hubs, a review of the tax arrangements for remote working for both employers and employees as part of Budget 2022.

The proposal is that legislation is introduced in 2021 to provide employees with the right to request remote work, funding is provided to Local Authorities to run targeted campaigns to attract remote workers to their area and an examination of the specific incentives to attract remote workers and mobile talent to live in rural towns.

Welcoming the plan Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan, Monaghan and North Meath, Niamh Smyth, commented: “The pandemic has made us all take stock and re-evaluate what is most important to us. For decades we have seen global trends where young people leave their local communities to live and work in larger cities. As we emerge from COVID-19 we will never have a better opportunity to reverse that long-standing trend.”

Deputy Smyth said that plan is a vision of the future: “We have a unique opportunity to reimagine rural Ireland and harness the talent, skills and creativity running through our rural communities. It's the ambition of this Government to have more people working in all parts of Ireland, with access to quality employment and good careers,’’ concluded Deputy Smyth.

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