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29/22/2019 - New project sees Mhálainn Bhig globally connected

 

Malinbeg

Stunning Silver Strand at Mhálainn Bhig in South West Donegal 

 

Mhálainn Bhig also known as Malinbeg is one of Ireland’s most scenic and secluded villages near the stunning Silver Strand, a discovery point along the world famous Wild Atlantic Way, and thanks to the rollout of mobile phone coverage, is now connected to the rest of the world.

 

This pilot project which has been set up to tackle mobile phone blackspot coverage in this remote but stunning location is being officially launched by Minister Joe McHugh T.D. today and has been delivered by Donegal County Council in partnership with the local community and Vodafone.

 

Speaking before the launch Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. said "the connection of Málainn Bhig to the mobile network is an important symbol of what can be achieved when we get people to buy into an idea and push to make it a success. With the Government committed to the rollout of broadband our communities are going to become more and more connected.

 

"Minister Michael Ring’s Department of Community and Rural Development deserves credit for helping to extending the network into such an outstanding area of natural beauty. It will reap huge rewards for promoting this part of Donegal on social media, through tourism and making it a destination for people to want to visit and hopefully put down more permanent roots. But it will also ensure that many of the services we take for granted nowadays will be accessed by people in such a remote spot."

 

Funded under the Department of Rural & Community Development’s Digital Innovation Programme, this project has been rolled out as part of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce which was set up in 2016 to tackle immediate issues where a lack of mobile phone coverage was identified as a hindrance to the local community and businesses in the area. 

 

Leas Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Niamh Kennedy explains “there was a very clear need for this project where the lack of even rudimentary mobile phone coverage affected the most basic of services in the locality including outside communication, access to emergency services and all other areas that people have come to rely on mobile communication”.   

 

She adds “this project will have huge benefits for the people of the area especially bearing in mind the increase in visitor numbers to the beautiful Silver Strand, a discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way.  Growing our tourism sector is a key driver of economic development in this part of Donegal and the expansion of telecommunications in the area will open up further opportunities to enhance the visitor experience to Malinbeg, leading to more business and job creation opportunities.” 

 

Cllr Noel Jordan, Cathaoirleach of Donegal Municipal District believes that "this initiative will have a huge impact on the lives of those living in Malinbeg and the surrounding area. We take mobile phone coverage for granted and so many services rely on the availability of what has become an essential service.  Being able to use a mobile phone for everyday services including emergency and medical services is welcomed by everyone in the area as well as opportunities to set up and grow business in this stunning location." 

 

Through the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, Donegal County Council identified the lack of mobile phone coverage as a key hindrance to the quality of life and development in this part of Donegal and Brian Boyle, Head of IS with Donegal County Council believes that the support of the community was essential in the successful delivery of the project.

 

“Donegal County Council developed this innovative model of engaging with the telecommunication service provider and the local community. Through the role of the Broadband Officer, funding was identified and secured through DRCD’s Digital Innovation Programme, and we are here today to launch the successful completion of mobile phone coverage at MalinBeg.” 

 

Liam O’Brien, Director of Strategy and External Affairs in Vodafone Ireland said, “At Vodafone, our ambition is to connect for a better future – we want to bridge urban and rural divides and connect communities and business to the digital society across Ireland. Providing equal access to connectivity in rural Ireland is a big part of that and as Ireland’s fastest mobile network with 99% population coverage we are well placed to deliver against this goal. We are delighted to partner with Donegal County Council and the Department of Rural and Community Development to provide mobile connectivity in Malinbeg. Connectivity enables local businesses to grow and allows people to work and live in rural communities, thereby reducing the need for people to move or commute to our towns and cities. It will also attract more visitors to this part of the Wild Atlantic Way as people share their experiences from this stunning part of Ireland”.  

 

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