Apr 27, 2021

Digital Hub Development Agency regrets the decision by Government to dissolve Agency

  • The Digital Hub has contributed to the revitalisation of the Dublin 8 area
  • Supported visionary technology companies including Stripe, Amazon, Havok and Slack.
  • Land Development Agency to take over development of the DHDA property portfolio
  • The Digital Hub will remain open until at least the end of June 2022

 

The Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) is deeply disappointed by the decision of the Government to dissolve the Agency following a recommendation by the Minister for Environment, Climate & Communications.

Since its establishment in 2003, The Digital Hub has contributed to the transformation and growth of Ireland’s digital technology sector, with its campus in Dublin 8 serving as the initial base for over 400 companies with more than 2,000 employees. The Digital Hub has been home to a vibrant mix of both indigenous startups and inward-investment firms, with alumni including Stripe, Amazon, Havok and Slack.

The Digital Hub engages actively with its local community and runs a range of education, training and awareness-raising programmes to promote digital literacy and 21st century skills such as collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking, particularly among school children, and older residents in the community. Programmes are free to attend and cater particularly to the needs of students at risk of educational disadvantage and social exclusion.

The development of The Digital Hub’s property portfolio has already made a significant contribution to the regeneration and revitalisation of the Dublin 8 area, by improving the streetscape, opening parts of its campus to the local community, and bringing increased footfall to local businesses. The Agency’s plans for the years ahead would have seen further positive developments.

The DHDA is pleased, however, that the Land Development Agency (LDA) is to take over the development of the DHDA property portfolio, as the two agencies have been working together since 2019 to develop a masterplan for the DHDA lands. The DHDA initiated this partnership and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the LDA in 2020.

The DHDA and the LDA share a vision for the creation of an integrated city quarter, with a sustainable mix of residential and commercial development, with an enterprise cluster focused on social needs, rooted in the local community.

The DHDA’s priority now is to minimise the impact of the dissolution on our companies, local community and staff. The Department of the Environment, Climate & Communications has confirmed to us that The Digital Hub will remain open for client companies and maintain its existing community programmes until at least the end of June 2022.

Paul Holden, Chair of the Digital Hub Development Agency, said:

“The Board of The Digital Hub was surprised to learn that the Agency is to be dissolved, and extremely disappointed that our ambition to build an enterprise cluster focused on e-health, climate action and other significant social and economic challenges, rooted in the local community, was not shared. We will endeavour to ensure the smooth transfer of responsibilities and the continuation of the regeneration activity in Dublin 8. Based on our discussion with the LDA, I am confident that it will work closely with the community to ensure that the DHDA property portfolio is developed for the benefit of Irish society.”

Fiach Mac Conghail, CEO of the Digital Hub Development Agency said:

“I am disappointed by the Government’s decision to abolish The Digital Hub and regret that the Minister and the Department didn’t share our vision for creating a sustainable urban quarter in the Liberties. We will continue to support our companies and our partners for the next 14 months and in the coming weeks we will agree with the Department of the Environment, Climate & Communications and the Land Development Agency the schedule for an orderly transfer of ownership.”

Over the past five years, I witnessed how The Digital Hub supported visionary entrepreneurs and technology companies solving problems to the betterment of Irish society. The Digital Hub played a vital role in job creation and in supporting a vibrant enterprise eco-system, while at the same time engaging with our local community and partners in providing innovative and creative learning programmes to all generations in Dublin 8.”

ENDS

For further information:

·       Doug Keatinge; dkeatinge@murraygroup.ie; 086-0374163

·       Andrew Smith; asmyth@murraygroup.ie; 083-0765717

Notes to editors

About The Digital Hub Development Agency

The Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) was established by the Government in 2003 with a mandate to attract high-growth technology and IT companies into the heart of Dublin 8.

Since its foundation, the Hub has hosted over 400 companies, with well-known alumni including Amazon, Distilled Media Group (Daft.ie), Eventbrite, Etsy, Havok, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Riverdeep), Kavaleer, Sonru, Slack and Stripe.

There are 31 currently companies resident at The Digital Hub, who employ 270 people on the campus, and approximately 3,000 worldwide.

The Digital Hub has been a supportive partner of the local community since its foundation, running several community programmes for people of all ages.

Community learning programmes are run with local partners to give children and young people the 21st Century Digital Skills that are so necessary in today’s world.

From 2016 to 2021, over 800 people — primary and secondary school children, older people and other groups in our community, including residents — have participated in a learning programme or activity at The Digital Hub.

Selection of Digital Hub milestones

  • 2003: 1950’s former Guinness Print works opens as ‘Digital Depot’ — The Digital Hub’s first offering of a contemporary office space for digital enterprises
  • 2005: DHDA delivered a 180m2 learning studio and a 180 m2 learning support office to facilitate its community learning programmes
  • 2007: An independent evaluation into the Learning Initiative found a marked increase in levels of digital literacy among those who had participated in The Digital Hub’s learning programmes since they began operating in 2002
  • 2009: A survey conducted amongst 167 teachers in the 16 schools that participated in The Digital Hub’s learning programme found that teachers working in the vicinity of The Digital Hub use Information Communication Technology (ICT) much more frequently than their peers elsewhere
  • 2010: Digital Court, originally part of the Guinness complex of buildings, was renovated and opened in 2010
  • 2011: DHDA and H2 Learning establish the Future Creators, a free out-of-school STEM programme to provide teenagers with opportunities to develop STEM competences by engaging in coding, music, animation, filmmaking and editing projects
  • 2012: Townhouse Twenty2, an 18th Century merchant town house and former Dublin Corporation public library opens as office space
  • 2012: DHDA’s campus development work was recognised by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as an exemplar for city regeneration projects
  • 2013: 2013 marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of The Digital Hub. Over the previous ten years, the campus had hosted over 170 companies and over 2,000 employees
  • 2014: The Gatelodge, built c.1870, is renovated and opens as modern office space
  • 2015: DHDA sets-up The D8 Surfers Club — a free digital literacy initiative to help residents who have limited experience of communication tools and the internet, to get online and find out how the Internet can benefit them in their everyday lives
  • 2015: The Future Cadets was established by The Digital Hub in partnership with the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and H2 Learning. Inspired by the Future Creators, the Cadets is tailored to the abilities, interests and needs of primary school children and develops STEAM competencies
  • 2015: The Grainstore, a Victorian former Grain store for Roe’s Whiskey Distillery, opens following extensive renovation
  • 2016: Roe Lane on the Digital Depot part of the campus opens-up so residents of the Liberties and students in the newly built student accommodation can pass through the campus between Thomas Street and Bonham Street
  • 2017: DHDA and BIMM Dublin establish The Liber8 Music Project, a free afterschool programme for local young people, who may otherwise have limited exposure to music and digital media, to immerse them in a creative programme which also helps them to develop those 21st century skills necessary for further education and future careers
  • 2017: The Digital Pathways Project, which was inspired by the Future Creators programme, is selected as a “Success Story” by the European Commission, having distinguished itself by its impact, contribution to policy-making, innovative results and/or creative approach
  • 2018: DHDA and the Dublin Film Festival establish Screen8 — a free out-of-school programme designed to give local young people an opportunity to be creative, develop filmmaking skills under the supervision of Irish filmmakers, and develop awareness of, and the confidence to pursue, a career in the film industry
  • 2018: Artist-in-Residence Programme is established to bring the unique perspectives of artists to life at The Digital Hub, contribute to the DHDA’s learning and community initiatives and the artistic and cultural life of the area, and build on previous work of DHDA to provide an intersection between innovation, art and technology to the benefit of both enterprises at and residents
  • 2020: DHDA signs MOU with Land Development Agency to develop a masterplan for the DHDA property portfolio
  • March 2021: Smart D8, an initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of citizens in Dublin 8 through collaboration and innovation launches with The Digital Hub as a lead partner along with healthcare providers, educational institutions, State agencies and private enterprise.
  • April 2021: Granted planning permission for works to turn St. Patrick’s Tower from a vacant building to exhibition/event space for use by DHDA, Digital Hub member companies and the local community.