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From empty pubs to working hubs: Ireland encourages remote work to repopulate rural areas

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Warrenpoint village in the UK, whose ferry connects Northern Ireland, left, with the Republic of Ireland, right.
Warrenpoint village in the UK, whose ferry connects Northern Ireland, left, with the Republic of Ireland, right.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/David Keyton
By Euronews

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us would never have imagined working mostly from home.

But for some, it's shown enough perks to become more permanent – and bring an end to commuting into a city.

Ireland is now hoping to bank on the trend to reverse decades of depopulation in rural areas.

The government has unveiled a plan to encourage workers to move to the countryside in droves, pledging to roll out superfast broadband, special grants, tax breaks, and to use rural pubs as daytime working hubs.

"We set up before the pandemic, and we've always seen that one of the biggest drivers of people leaving rural areas is jobs," said Tracy Keogh, co-founder of Grow Remote, a non-profit connecting people to remote work jobs in Ireland.

"And when you can disconnect location from employment, you just free up where people can live and how they can live," she told Euronews.

Watch the interview in the media player above.