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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 27 May, 2020

Innovation minister says losing the Web Summit is actually a 'success story'

Damien English said it’s another example of an Irish company doing well internationally.

Eva Longoria (actress, not a minister) at last year's summit.
Eva Longoria (actress, not a minister) at last year's summit.
Image: /Photocall Ireland

JUNIOR MINISTER DAMIEN English has said Dublin losing the Web Summit to Lisbon is actually a “success story”.

Speaking on the The Week in Politics, English said: “Summits are always going to move.”

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation said he viewed the decision as a success as it showcased that an Irish company was growing internationally.

“We’re lucky that we managed to keep it in Ireland for so long. It won’t stay in Lisbon forever either … You export your best products and services.”

On Wednesday, Web Summit co-founder and CEO Paddy Cosgrave said that after “careful consideration” the company had decided to move the event – after much speculation.

Portuguese media reported government “investment” in the event totalled €1.3 million.

Today the Sunday Business Post reports that Cosgrave sought free public transport for attendees at the conference and a traffic plan that would have shut down ”a chuck of the city”.

The article notes that as talks went on they became “increasingly fractious” before breaking down entirely.

More than 22,000 attendees attended the 2014 event at Dublin’s RDS Arena, but the event was plagued by Wifi problems. About 30,000 people are expected to attend this November’s event in the capital.

Fáilte Ireland said the 2014 conference was worth €100 million to the Irish economy.

Read: Web Summit paid only €1.3 million for Lisbon move >

Read: The Web Summit relocation isn’t surprising, we couldn’t even keep the WiFi working

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Órla Ryan

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