ABOVE: Commissioner Phil Hogan with members of the Board of the Ludgate Hub on his visit to Skibbereen. Photo: Anne Minihane.
“The roll-out of high-speed rural broadband is a priority for me and the European Commission,” said EU Commissioner Phil Hogan on a visit to Skibbereen on September 5. “It’s essential if we are going to provide citizens with the opportunity to fulfill their desire to live and work in rural areas and to provide opportunities for rural communities throughout Europe.”
The EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development visited the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, prior to opening a major EU conference on the future of European Rural Development policy.
Recalling the essential support that rural development policy provides for supporting rural areas throughout the EU, Commissioner Hogan said, “today’s visit to the Ludgate Hub is a perfect illustration of how a group of forward-thinking people can come together to foster local innovation and enterprise.”
The Commissioner said that his visit complemented perfectly the Cork 2.0 conference, the purpose of which is “to take stock, analyse and develop a common vision for the future of rural communities. However, vision alone will not support rural communities. We also need practical projects that maintain the economic viability of rural areas and ensure that such areas are attractive places in which to live and work.”
Mr Hogan toured the Ludgate Hub and met members of the board. The Commissioner said that it was “a very good example of a community initiative with the active collaboration and engagement of academia, business and community groups, with a high level of ambition to provide much-needed jobs in the local community.”
Mr Hogan also noted the particular focus on the use of digital technology and described the roll-out of high-speed rural broadband as a “priority for me and the European Commission, which is essential if we are going to provide citizens with the opportunity to fulfil their desire to live and work in rural areas and to provide opportunities for rural communities throughout Europe.”
Commissioner Hogan expressed confidence that a new declaration on the future of European rural development policy, due to be agreed at the Cork conference would reflect “the potential offered by the digital transformation for rural areas. In this regard, the Ludgate Hub stands out as a shining example of what can be achieved when stakeholders have a common vision and the commitment to collaborate in a constructive and positive manner.”