Ireland has unveiled a plan for remote work to bridge the urban-rural divide

Imagining a network of remote working hubs and revitalized urban centers aimed at rehabilitating the country’s long-standing rural-rural areas, Ireland is taking the “unparalleled opportunity” to relocate to other cities in the country by changing epidemic-era work habits.

The Irish government has unveiled its “Our Rural Future” Strategy Monday, before announcing the promise to ease the three-month lockdown. Some of the measures currently in place, significantly banning non-essential travel of more than 5 km, have caused a great deal of inconvenience to rural residents.

This is the first time a European country has launched such a plan since the outbreak of the epidemic, which includes building a network of more than 400 remote working hubs and tax breaks for individuals and organizations supporting domestic work.

By the end of the year, the government has set a 20 per cent target for 300,000 Irish civil servants to go to remote work. Other measures include “financial assistance” to live in rural cities and encourage accelerated broadband rollouts.

Irish Taoisek Michel Martin told reporters: “As we recover from the effects of the Kavid-19 epidemic, our country has an unparalleled opportunity to achieve balanced regional development and realize the goal of maximizing recovery in all parts of the country.

The rural-urban divide has dominated Irish politics for decades. But Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Population Development, said the country now had “an unprecedented opportunity to change tides.”

“The biggest mistake we can make as we emerge from the epidemic is to go back to the old commonplace.”

The last major decentralization push in Ireland was in the early 2000s, when government departments were removed from Dublin. The move provided fewer jobs than initially expected in the regions. Humphreys said the plan was different. “It’s a modern, labor-led decentralization that focuses on people, not on buildings.”

A timeline is attached to one of the 152 steps in the plan. Ministers stressed that funds were available. Humphreys promised to give more details of what he could achieve this year each year.

Other European countries face the same question about how their cities will change as a result of changes in the activities brought about by the epidemic.

Ian Warren, director of the think-tank at the United Center for Towns, said the Irish plan looked “very promising”, adding: ”

Working from home in Kerry, Ireland © Lionel Dermais / Alam

Warren stressed that “very good infrastructure, broadband, good housing, good public service, good transportation”, as well as “huge investments” are needed to manage population shifts, including access to green space and culture.

The way Dublin promised to sort it out was “just a lever you can pull,” Warne said.

The launch event for the plan featured video testimonials from several women who have moved to Irish countryside in recent years. They cited a variety of benefits, including no travel, being close to family, and more affordable housing.

The possibility of others following them is already working on the Dublin business ban, many of which were closed for most of last year under one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns.

Samuel Beckett Bridge over the Liffy River in Dublin Holly Adams / Bloomberg

“Office workers are the backbone of the Dublin economy,” said Richard Ginny, Dublin’s chief executive, who represents 2,500 businesses in the Irish capital. He said the plans would carry evidence of a “clearly anti-Dublin bias”.

But Ronan Lyons, an economist and director of social research at Trinity College Dublin, said the cities’ multifaceted appeal could mean people are reluctant to leave.

“It’s not just about where you work in cities, it’s also about how you live.” “It’s hard to expect people to expect the breadth of what cities offer for small towns.”

Lyons added: “This is the only publication that has repeatedly appeared in Irish policy for more than a century. Irish politicians. . . Want to reward rural constituencies. ”

Clare Keran, a rural development spokeswoman for the opposition Sinn F ফin party, said the plan was “very welcome. . . Really positive “.

“The big question is how it will be implemented, and how soon,” Karen added, adding that while it was “good to have documents and beautiful ideas … we need a clear road map

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