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Smart D8 – an initiative to improve health and wellbeing in Dublin 8

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris recently announced a new project focusing on the health challenges faced by people in the southwest inner city.

A ‘new health innovation district’ aims to improve the wellbeing of people in Dublin 8 through so-called ‘smart city’ projects involving the public and private sectors.

Smart D8 is a collaborative effort comprised of locals, community organisers, research, health industry and educational institutes to develop better health outcomes for people living in the area.  

At the forefront of the plan are St James Hospital, the Digital Hub, Smart Dublin and Dublin City Council alongside other partners such as Guinness Enterprise Centre, HSE Digital Transformation, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Trinity Research & Innovation and National College of Art & Design. 

Photo Courtesy of @stjamesdublin on Twitter.

Speaking at the launch, Orla Veale, Project Lead of Smart D8 said “the initiative will allow problems to be solved, innovation will be accelerated and engagement with the community will happen.”  

“It’s a place that we want to be of trust and openness, where people can feel comfortable raising problems that need to be solved,” she added.

Smart D8 conducted its first phase of research to understand the current health and wellbeing needs in Dublin 8. The findings have been used to develop the foundation of the project.  

The findings show that one in four Dublin 8 residents used mental health support in the last two years and one in three have a long-term health challenge.  

 “It is a truly amazing place with a fantastic community, and strong cultural and heritage traditions. The people of Dublin 8 have a real willingness to engage with any sort of opportunity.”

Austin Campbell, director of the Robert emmet Community development project

The initiative’s first port of call will focus on Covid-19, mental health and population health. Groups interested in engaging can apply through the website

Austin Campbell, director of the Robert Emmet Community Development Project and the Community Organisations and Residents Network (CORN), said the community has been “consistently under served for decades”.  

“It is a truly amazing place with a fantastic community and strong cultural and heritage traditions. The people of Dublin 8 have a real willingness to engage with any sort of opportunity.” 

Campbell said the area has “an over-concentration of vulnerable populations”. 

“There are many homeless, addiction and job-seeking services, but a lack of positive services like youth centres and after-school clubs,” he said.

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