For this month’s Why Dún Laoghaire we hear from innovation and tech expert Gerard Corcoran, who works with Huawei Ireland and lives in Dún Laoghaire Town.
Keep reading on to hear from Gerard and why Dún Laoghaire is a great place for technology and business!
Dún Laoghaire based Gerard Corcoran has extensive history in innovation and technology
We asked Gerard to tell us about his role in his own words, and other projects he is currently working on.
“Innovation and Research Partner at Huawei Ireland is my role there, managing EU and national projects,” he says.
“Examples of those at the moment would be working with the HSE with their digital transformation, similarly I’m working with the Department of Rural and Community Development on their future rural plan, and I’m also working with ConnectedHubs in which we work with DigitalHQ, with their plan to rollout 400 digital hubs around Ireland.”
Mr Corcoran is also working on Just Transition which is the European Union’s green agenda programme
“Generally I do a lot of European digital hub projects and there are a lot of those going on at the moment.”
Gerard is well aware of how digital innovation can be a brilliant tool for tracing and recording the past as he reveals he is the founder of not-for-profit organisation International Society of Genetic Genealogy and a board member of Dún Laoghaire based GSI – Genealogical Society Ireland.
Mr Corcoran is also a board member of Sandyford Business District and has worked on the taskforce of Smart Dublin and has experience in Dún Laoghaire also.
“Multiple hats but my main theme is innovation and research!” Gerard says.
“I am very optimistic about the future of Dún Laoghaire,” Gerard says as next 10 years will be ‘most exciting yet for tech’
What’s the ultimate goal for Mr Corcoran? “To enable digital connectivity everywhere, so pretty much every human on the planet has the capability to communicate digitally with devices.”
He continues: “I’ve been working in technology for 40 years and I believe the next 10 years will probably be the most exciting, probably in history or certainly in living memory and this will be the transformation of things like information technology but also mobility such as the transition to electric cars or energy – which is very popular at the moment.”
“I am very optimistic about the future of Dún Laoghaire,” Gerard says. We don’t have the big high buildings that the Docklands have and we don’t have the density in which the Sandyford District has or the new infrastructure such as Cherrywood but we do have a bit of everything.
Gerard adds: “It is probably one of the most beautiful locations in Ireland and a lot of remote workers are now living in the area.
“My family has been living in Dún Laoghaire since the mid-80s so we’re here quite a long time. I spend a lot of time working abroad but my base was always here and this is the place I always come back to.
“I’m very privileged to see in the last 20 years or so attempts to get things moving in the area and I’m very optimistic for the future of the town.”
Gerard Corcoran: “Dún Laoghaire has the potential to be the remote working hub of Dublin or even Ireland”
“Having read the most recent report by DigitalHQ on remote working I agree that Dún Laoghaire has the potential to be the remote working hub of Dublin or even Ireland,” Mr Corcoran says.
“I would absolutely agree with the repurposing of buildings and in DigitalHQ’s report they named a number of buildings and for me the old Carnegie Library has been lying empty now for a while and it’s a beautiful building but obviously it does have challenges as it’s a listed building and needs to be restored correctly.
“I really like the idea that buildings like the Carnegie Library would be used for social innovation. There’s a lot of volunteers and organisations in the community and if it could be made more low rent or event no rent this would really be a big boost for social innovation in our community.
“The old ferry terminal is another building which has been lying vacant for a really long time and that has potential to be one of the largest innovation hubs in Ireland. I often compare it Station F, one of the best innovation hubs in the world which is in Paris.”
Can other towns learn from Dún Laoghaire? “They are already learning,” says Gerard
“I think they are already learning, because DigitalHQ is designated as the national centre for digitalisation and has won a number of awards for this including the .IE Digital Town Award and is teaching others based on its experience.
“ConnectedHubs which I previously mentioned already has approximately 220 of its planned 400 hubs operational and a further 80 in the pipeline and they’re ahead of schedule in terms of the rollout plan.
“This really has the potential to transform rural Ireland,” Mr Corcoran says.
He continues: “When Covid came along everyone was working remotely in different areas of the country and it shows that this could be done and now that everyone is getting back to work after Covid we find that most companies have some sort of hybrid strategy in place, allowing employees to work from home and in the office.”
Gerard says the pandemic showed while there are benefits to remote working, sharing the kitchen table is not a sustainable way forward and so co-working spaces or ‘hot desks’ are a great solution – something which Dún Laoghaire already offers.
Mr Corcoran also shares his opinion on why Huawei Ireland sponsored the Idea Hub for the Dún Laoghaire Enterprise Centre which is where DigitalHQ is based.
“It happened in the middle of Covid and the possibility of doing remote working and collaboration became absolutely essential so it was a good time.
“It was also the time when our Rural Future plan was starting and I suggested Dún Laoghaire make a bid and all three hubs in the area got funded and we matched part of that funding in the case of DigitalHQ.
“This is really just the start. I would like to see more collaboration in the future going forward.”