MEP Midlands North West

Converting old banks into remote working hubs would reinvigorate towns and villages and make them more attractive places to raise a family according to Fine Gael’s Colm Markey. He was speaking as the Cabinet prepares to sign off on plans to give workers a legal right to request remote working from their employer. The Midlands-North-West MEP has said that remote or hybrid working has the potential to completely revive rural Ireland in a way not seen since electrification:

“I welcome the Government’s efforts to enshrine the right to request remote working into law. As we emerge from the pandemic, we simply cannot return to the old way of doing things. Remote working has enormous benefits such as reducing emissions, allowing for more family time and bringing jobs to rural Ireland. We now need to identify suitable locations for remote working hubs and I believe we should start with derelict buildings such as old banks. These premises are centrally located and finding a new use for them would be an economic multiplier in towns and villages right across the country. Bank or Ireland closed 88 branches last year as it moved to a more digital presence. We – as a society – also need to embrace the digital transformation and ensure that remote work is an option for all.

“Recently, the Government announced €21.5 million euro in funding for 27 landmark regeneration projects in rural communities across the country. These included the re-purposing of old, derelict and historical building into modern-day hubs, as well as enterprise, cultural and community facilities. We need to keep up the momentum up and re-double our efforts to reverse rural decline. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we need to get it right”, Markey concluded.


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