As life changes to become ever-more driven by technology, the Irish government has launched a new national digital strategy, with the aim of driving and enabling a digital transition across the Irish economy and society.
It is set out across four core dimensions, which follow the points of the EU’s Digital Compass: Digital Transformation of Business; Digital Infrastructure; Skills; and Digitalisation of Public Services. It places a strong emphasis on inclusiveness, security and safety, underpinned by strong governance and a well-resourced regulatory framework. For example, the new Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill aims to protect people in Ireland from the spread of harmful online content.
The Strategy includes the following points:
- It aims to drive a step-change in the digital transformation of businesses, in particular SMEs; sustain Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for leading digital enterprises; and maximise the benefits of the digital transition for the wider ecosystem;
- It will prioritise key infrastructure enablers such as universal connectivity and robust cyber security capacity and expertise;
- Deliver skills for all to ensure all cohorts in society can engage with, and benefit from digitalisation – this includes high-level digital skills, broader digital skills for the wider labour market, and digital skills for society more generally;
- Drive the further digitalisation of public services through the creation of a trusted, user-driven, intuitive, inclusive and efficient world-leading digital government service, including a focus on the digitalisation of the health system;
- And of particular interest to lawyers, emphasises that a modern, cohesive, well-resourced regulatory framework is central to Ireland’s success; this includes effective highly-skilled new and forthcoming regulators; working to maximise the coherence of digital issues and to support a wider regulatory co-operation framework; and being a strong voice in Europe for a balanced approach to digital regulation.
The digital strategy aligns with both EU priorities and national priorities, under the 2021 Economic Recovery Plan and Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan. It also complements the Irish government’s work towards achieving Ireland’s climate targets, with its green and digital ambitions re-enforcing each other.
The new National Digital Strategy places a particular emphasis on cyber security and commits to reviewing the National Cyber Security Strategy in 2022, to recognise progress made and to respond effectively to an evolving landscape. The National Cyber Security Strategy focuses on the protection of the State, its people and businesses, and its critical national infrastructure. As implementation of the Strategy is progressed, further measures, to enhance and strengthen Ireland’s approach, will be considered as part of the review.
Harnessing Digital - The Digital Ireland Framework