Sustainable Island Economies: Connecting Locally and Globally.

Virtual Island Summit – Ireland’s Virtual Hub Event

How can we innovate and connect to help make our island economies more sustainable in a post-Covid World? That was the key question asked at this free Irish webinar held on Wednesday 2nd September.

The Ireland’s Virtual Hub event, was held in advance of the 2nd global Virtual Island Summit (VIS), which ran from the 7th to 13th September online, involving over 100 island communities around the world.

”The response to the event was so positive,” said Dr Noirín Burke, of the National Aquarium of Ireland and Irish Ocean Literacy Network, a VIS Ambassador 2020. “I have learnt so much about Island communities through this process, and have really enjoyed working with Island Innovation, who are organising the global summit” .

Her fellow VIS Ambassador, ex BBC and Irish Times journalist, Trish Hegarty of Inis Communications, said this free online event helped people from across Ireland and its off shore islands explore how we can connect “to each other, to the mainland and to other islands across Europe and the world.”

The event was run by the two VIS Ambassadors in collaboration with Rhoda Twombly, from Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, which represents offshore islanders.

Rhoda Twombly of Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann said her members were more than used to connecting online because of their physical distance and separation from the mainland. “But in this time of social distancing and such an uncertain future, it’s more important than ever to strengthen our national and global connections to learn from each other’s experiences.”

Contributors to the event included

  • Forbes Top 30 under 30 innovator, James Ellsmoor, the founder of Virtual Island Summit
  • Rhoda Twombly and John Walsh of Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann (Irish Islands Federation) and the European Small Islands Federation ESIN
  • Cathy Ní Ghóill, Manager of Comharchumann Forbartha Arann
  • Máirtín Ó Méalóid, manager of Cape Clear Island Cooperative, Vice Chair of Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann
  • Gerald Sullivan, Owner of Bere Island Boatyard
  • UCC researcher Dr. Sarah Robinson, who’s working with island communities on Bere, Sherkin and Cape Clear as they establish community radio
  • Simon Cocking, Chief Editor of Irish Tech News
  • Brendan Smith, Education and Public Engagement Officer at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics;
  • Aine Ryan, an award-winning journalist based in Westport, County Mayo, interested in rural issues & peripheral communities.

Check out podcasts from Irish Tech News below for session 1 and 2.

Audio recording of Session 1 with Chair Simon Cocking, and Speakers Sarah Robinson and Brendan Smith.
Audio Recording of Session 2, with Chair John Walsh, and speakers Gerard Sullivan, Mairtin O Mealoid and Cathy Ni Choill.

This event is being held in advance of the 2020 Virtual Island Summit, which will take place online between the 7th-13th of September. For more information see

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