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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

Joan Burton is sorry the Web Summit people are leaving with their backpacks and satchels

Organisers “felt they got a better offer some place else” the Tánaiste said.

TÁNAISTE JOAN BURTON has said she hopes the Web Summit will return to Dublin at some stage in the future, noting that “everybody involved was anxious to see it remain in Ireland”.

The summit yesterday published its e-mail correspondence with the government in the weeks before organisers confirmed the event would move to Lisbon next year.

The mails show how the relationship deteriorated as the event’s founder Paddy Cosgrave repeatedly requested assistance. He didn’t ask for funding, but was concerned with four main issues - traffic management, public transport, hotel costs and WiFi at the RDS.

Speaking yesterday Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was his belief that the Web Summit’s move to Portugal was a “commercial decision”.

And speaking to reporters this morning the Tánaiste echoed that sentiment saying organisers “felt they got a better offer some place else”.

Regarding the success of the summit to date, she said:

“I’ve attended a couple of fringe events in the Web Summit and met people with their backpacks and their satchels and their devices who basically are selling ideas and startups and tremendous energy.”

The Labour leader said it was “a very lively, very big business start-up conference in Dublin and I think everybody involved was anxious to see it remain in Ireland”.

“The Taoiseach’s department, as I understand it, made every effort to assist and hopefully they will return.”

Speaking on Morning Ireland transport minister Paschal Donohoe said efforts were made to keep the Web Summit in Ireland.

He added that Dublin attracts hugely successful events every year and said a number of documents would be released under Freedom of Information that showed the level of engagement between government agencies and Paddy Cosgrave.

With reporting by Hugh O’Connell. 

Read: Innovation minister says losing the Web Summit is actually a ‘success story’

Read: Revealed: The emails which show why the Web Summit left Dublin

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