Cllr John Sheridan has welcomed the recent Our Rural Future plan released by the government outlining their proposals for rural development over the next five years
Ardee Councillor John Sheridan believes broadband provision is key to unlocking a new era for rural Louth.
The Government published Our Rural Future yesterday, the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural development in decades.
The policy reflects the unprecedented change in living and working patterns during COVID-19 and the significant opportunities this presents rural communities – from remote working and revitalising town centres to job creation, developing a green economy and enhancing our outdoor amenities.
One of the many goals of the plan is for a National Broadband roll-out, which hopes to bring new opportunities in areas like eHealth, remote learning, online trading and new technologies to rural parts of the country.
Sheridan has seen the anticipation for this roll out amongst his constituents, who feel the service is long overdue however it is the possibility of more eHubs in rural parts of the county that has peaked his interests.
“Remote working will usually be in our own homes, but it will also be in a network of 400 eHubs nationwide” explained the Fianna Fail councillor, “I would hope as many villages in Louth as possible would be able to set up an eHub.”
"I have championed eHubs since before I was elected and had motions passed on Louth County Council before covid. For me, it’s a new approach and I'm very pleased to see this plan launched. I believe if we have the broadband and of course the funding it will unlock a new era for Louth."
Our Rural Future sets out a blueprint for the development of rural Ireland over the next five years.
It is supported by 150 commitments across Government, which will address the challenges facing communities and deliver new opportunities for people living in rural areas.
The policy will help rural Ireland to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, enable long-term development of rural areas, and create more resilient rural economies and communities for the future.
The government will look to examine the introduction of specific incentives to attract remote workers and mobile talent to live in rural towns, while also funding the repurposing of vacant buildings in town centres into remote working hubs as to make sure they can work in rural areas.
Cllr Sheridan is one of many Wee county natives who has left the county for college and work before deciding to return to his home to settle down.
He has seen a rise in this practice since Covid-19 and hopes that as much as possible will be done now to make sure those who have relocated to the county will be able to stay here in the long term.
“So many other people have moved home from rented accommodation in Dublin since the start of the pandemic. This is changing Louth so much, in a positive way. We can do work now to allow those who moved home during covid to remain in Louth now."