Ireland's First Digital Community Centre opens in Dublin's Inner-city

DUBLIN, Ireland, April 10, 2003 --The Taoiseach Mr Bertie Ahern TD today opened Dublin's first Digital Community Centre in Dolphin House, Rialto, Dublin 8. The Digital Community Centre, part of an initiative organised by Dublin Institute of Technology and Hewlett Packard, is the first of nine computer resource centres that will go live in the next few months.

The Digital Community Project is designed to help Dublin Inner-city communities fulfill their aspirations for participation in the digital age. Flat complexes such as Bridgefoot Street, St. Teresa's Gardens, Fatima Mansions, Iveagh Trust, Charlemont Street, Whitefriar Street, O'Devaney Gardens and Michael Malin House will all benefit from the project.

Digital Communities are computer resource centres managed by members of the community who have been trained in the necessary IT and management skills. The Digital Community Centres consist of one to two dedicated flats within each complex, fitted out with a full computer room. Each room will have computers, printers, scanners, access to high speed DSL lines and free internet connection. There will also be a full time manager funded by Hewlett Packard, employed to work with these communities to upskill and train the residents.

The Dolphin House Centre emphasises the kind of multiparty partnerships that the Digital Community Project has championed. As a result of this project a unique partnership has been formed between a number of government, business, academia, and voluntary organisations who have agreed to fund and support the initiative. The partnership includes DIT, Hewlett Packard, the Dublin Inner City Partnership, the Digital Hub, the National Centre for Technology in Education, Eircom, and Dublin City Council.

Dr Thomas Cooke, Head of DIT's Community Links Programme, speaking at the launch today said, "Our objective is to upgrade nine inner-city communities with state of the art computer capacity to allow all residents participate fully in this digital age. These communities will benefit from advances in information technology which serve as a vehicle for skill development, job creation, information access, improved communications and collaboration. Due to the commitment, dedication and funding from all seven partners and sponsors involved, the Digital Community Project will influence greatly the way residents of these communities live, learn and earn."

Speaking at the launch, HP's Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Debra Dunn stated; "As access to technology began to inhibit equal growth, HP sought to work with communities and partners to solve this fundamental problem. HP has a long-standing commitment of making a positive contribution to the communities where we live and work. We hopethat through the Digital Community Centres, residents can use technology to better compete in the digital economy."

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