Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection and Mayo TD, Dara Calleary is calling on both Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland to make their shuttered premises available as remote working hubs upon their closure.

Speaking following the announcement of €5m as part of the Connected Hubs Fund, Deputy Calleary commented, “It makes a lot of sense for both these banks to offer these premises to communities to enable the creation of remote working hubs which will benefit local people enormously.” 

It is planned that Ulster Bank will eventually close 88 branches across the Republic of Ireland, while Bank of Ireland are to reduce their branch network by 88. 

Deputy Calleary continued: “These buildings are generally in very good condition and given that they will predominantly be in rural towns and villages it would create use for them instead of the premises being left idle and empty.”  

The Mayo TD added: “At the same time, there could also be the opportunity to retain some community banking facilities in these buildings. There are real options here which will turn what has been a devastating blow to rural towns and villages into something both beneficial and positive for the future.” 

The Connected Hubs Fund will expand existing hub facilities, providing additional hot desks, office spaces and meeting rooms for remote working. 

Funding will be available for both expansion and upgrade of existing facilities through works such as the installation of privacy booths, access control and security systems, the conversion of existing open plan space to modular offices, and provision of enhanced audio visual, network and conferencing facilities. The call will also fund innovative measures to assist hubs to deal with Covid-related challenges. 

The Connected Hubs Call is open to applications from all existing hubs and BCPs throughout the Country. This Fund represents a real opportunity to leverage remote working infrastructure to transform how the people of Ireland work and live.