13 more pilot digital initiatives announced

Ireland Bike Fest participants at Rossbeigh, Co Kerry: now, funding of €32,000 has been announced to develop Wild Atlantic Way Digital Discovery Points which provide interactive digital mapping used by tourists. It’s one of several rural initiatives in the Digital Innovation Programme. Picture: Don MacMonagle

By Stephen Cadogan

Precision farming is one of the areas to benefit from the Digital Innovation Programme, which has announced funding of €6,000 towards design of a precision farming trial at a research farm in Co Tipperary.

It is one of 13 digital initiatives for which total funding of €453,800 has just been announced by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring.

The Digital Innovation Programme, introduced earlier this year, funds for original and innovative local authority led digital projects, allowing them to be piloted before they are scaled up or replicated elsewhere in the country.

The 13 projects are in Galway City, Donegal, Dublin City, Sligo, Offaly, Kerry, Tipperary, Fingal, Wicklow, Mayo and Westmeath.

Will more projects be announced?

Yes, Mr Ring said he hopes to announce further project approvals in the coming months.

The programme has total funding of €250,000.

Earlier, five pathfinder projects in Galway, Roscommon, Sligo, Longford and Monaghan were selected for funding totalling €106,500.

What are the programme’s objectives?

It will complement development and rollout of local digital strategies being prepared by local authorities to help businesses and

communities maximise the benefits of high speed broadband. The programme offers a pathway for digital initiatives to be tested ahead of being scaled up and replicated.

Projects will provide innovative digital

solutions to local issues, help to establish or enhance digital/telecommunications services, and support development of local economies.

The lessons learned from each of these projects will be shared with other local authorities, allowing each initiative to be scaled up or replicated effectively and efficiently.

What kind of projects areselected?

Projects must promote, support, or otherwise advance at least one of the following: digital skills, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship, digital economy and

employment; digital services; community and culture; and digital transition.

Projects that cut across more than one of the pillars are particularly welcome.

What other projects have been announced?

They include a water safety project in the Claddagh area of Galway City which uses thermal imaging technology to detect persons entering the River Corrib at known blackspots. An automated early warning system will alert local services so that

assistance can be provided if required. This can save lives in and around the River Corrib and, if successfully replicated elsewhere, could further advance water safety in Ireland. It gets funding of €24,000.

Another project will provide mobile phone coverage for the first time in the town of Malin Beg in Co Donegal.

This €35,000 collaboration between the local community and industry, supported by the local authority, could be replicated in other areas.

Other projects seek to preserve local heritage and promote sustainable tourism.

For example, free wifi connectivity will be provided on 71km of the Grand Canal Greenway, as it runs through Co Offaly.

This €40,000-funded initiative will further support cycling tourism and the Greenway.

Solar-powered smart benches in Fingal in Dublin will enable people to charge their devices and surf the

internet wirelessly while they take a seat.

Kerry County Council is getting €32,000 to develop Wild Atlantic Way “Digital Discovery Points” which provide interactive digital mapping used by tourists.

There’s €8,000 for the

Tipperary Town Gold Star Disability Awareness Project involving the HSE, DeafHear.ie, and Tipperary County Council, for an interactive learning tool available for use in all civic and public offices for community and voluntary services to enable them communicate effectively with deaf clients.

There’s €50,000 for the Erris History and Folklore Digitisation Project in Co Mayo to preserve, digitise, catalogue and archive an extensive collection of Irish oral history and folklore collected over several decades.

There’s €53,000 for converting cemetery records in Westmeath from paper based to a digital format, facilitating

improved cemetery management and public access to cemetery records.

There’s €75,000 in Sligo, Donegal and Leitrim for the EuroVelo Route 1, an on/off-road cycle touring route from Norway to Portugal, via Ireland. The objective of the project is to support cyclists, agencies and communities with smart technology

information to enrich the

experience for all.

Dublin City Council is getting €24,000 for accelerating deployment of 5G, the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, which has potential to transform the economy and society, including the possibility of high-speed home and business connections in even the most rural areas.

Digital Innovation

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