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Web Summit founder: 'What we received in the last four years was nothing more than hush money'

The relationship between the government and Paddy Cosgrave is well and truly over…

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave at last year's event.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave at last year's event.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA

Updated 12.30pm

THE CO-FOUNDER of Web Summit has hit out at the government today on the first day of the event which is expected to be attended by more than 40,000 people.

The three-day event this year has been somewhat overshadowed by the decision by organisers to move it out of Dublin and relocate to Portugal.

Email correspondence between government officials and Web Summit organisers revealed how the relationship deteriorated as the event’s founder raised concerns about traffic management, public transport, hotel costs and WiFi at the RDS.

At the weekend there was also controversy surrounding an apparent failure by organisers to invite the Taoiseach this year. However, it later emerged Enda Kenny had, in fact, been invited on Friday, but cannot attend because his schedule will not allow it.

Speaking to RTÉs’s Morning Ireland today, co-founder Paddy Cosgrave said he believes State funding in the last four years “amounts to nothing more than hush money”.

Essentially, we were supposed to accept this and then we were supposed to lavish the government in praise – which we did publicly for four years consistently – and what we did behind the scenes was try and push them time and time again to realise this was an opportunity for Irish businesses and they did not take that opportunity.

Cosgrave accused Irish politicians of turning up at the event merely to pose for photos while ministers from other countries were using it to arrange meetings with high-level attendees in order to drum up business.


1,000 speakers are taking part in this year’s summit, including founders and employees of tech giants like Facebook, Google and Instagram.



Meanwhile, Irish entrepreneur Oisín Hanrahan has secured $50 million in funding for his US-based start-up Handy.

Read: The Web Summit could make you a millionaire… just don’t bank on it>

Read: Enda Kenny was sent a last minute invite to the Web Summit but he won’t be going along>

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