Today I’m delighted to see the approval of Enterprise Ireland funding for a digital hub in Naas. The Mid East Regional Innovation Think Space (MERITS) is a new build project that will cluster Irish and international new technology companies in a collaborative space in Naas town centre.
I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ve secured the funding for this project. Establishing a Digital Hub in the town not only secures short and long-term employment in the local area but puts Naas on the map internationally as a place to start and grow a digital business.
Enterprise Ireland has granted €2M toward the Digital Hub which will be matched by Kildare County Council. The project which was drawn up by the Kildare Local Enterprise Office, is expected to pay for itself within three years. The proposal will see Kildare County Council design and build the facility on a section of state owned lands adjacent to the council Headquarters at Aras Cill Dara, Naas.
I’m really optimistic about what the Digital Hub means for Naas.
Ten to fourteen years ago the Irish tech sector was a very niche industry confined to Dublin. But as the industry matures so too does the workforce. Where once companies worried about locating in the city centre to attract younger workers, the sector is now witnessing an increasing demand for housing and quality of life for families. Over the next decade, I’m confident that Naas can take on any town in the country in this respect – and win.
I’ve been calling for a project like this since 2015 when I wrote a proposal to establish funding for hubs in every county across the country. That proposal was subsequently included in the Fianna Fail election manifesto in 2016. In March of this year I also made a direct call for Kildare County Council to begin the process of seeking funding for a Digital Hub in Naas.
Congratulations are due to Kildare County Council CEO Peter Carey, Head of Kildare LEO Jacqui McNabb and their teams for the outstanding work to date on this project. The ambition they’ve shown in identifying Naas as a regional leader in digital enterprise will play a vital part in the towns future.