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Watch: RTE News broadcast a pretty awkward interview with the web summit co-founder...

Sharon Ní Bheoláin gave Daire Hickey a bit of a grilling. And it’s not going down too well with people…

interveiw Source: Youtube

THE WEB SUMMIT is well under way, but the issues surrounding the fact that the summit will be held in Portugal from next year aren’t going away.

Over the last day or so barbs have been flying, with summit founder Paddy Cosgrave asserting that €700,000 offered by the government to the event amounted to ‘hush money’.

On yesterday’s RTE Six One news presenter Sharon Ní Bheoláin conducted an interview that was, well, a little aggressive you might say, with co-founder of the summit Daire Hickey.

The interview has an inauspicious start with Ní Bheoláin bemoaning the fact that Cosgrave had pulled out of the broadcast moments before it was due to go live. From there, little new information is revealed, but the exchanges are typified by regular interruptions from the host, and emphasis being placed on words like “bitter” and “testy”.

“It’s been a fairly testy day from web summit management hasn’t it,” begins Ní Bheoláin.

Hickey counters that he and his colleagues have simply been expressing their frustration over why they have had to move the event to Lisbon, when they would far rather stay in Ireland.

“Is it not rather pointless to engage in this kind of bitter broadside at this point? Why not let bygones be bygones? Why not move on?” persists Sharon (emphasis is hers).

“We were asked a series of questions and we answered them,” responds Hickey. “We’re bringing in over 30,000 people internationally into Ireland here.”

The aggressive questioning continues:

But he obviously doesn’t care enough to continue to base the web summit here (in reference to Cosgrave)?
Did the web summit ever offer to pay for traffic calming measures, pay for garda resources, pay for the outriders to accompany your vips? You never moved on that unilaterally?
You weren’t putting your hand in your own pocket for that?
Why contact the Taoiseach in relation to hotel prices?

The line of questioning  is perhaps understandable given the hosts have been using the web summit to get across their own point of view almost constantly since the event began. However the constant interruptions could certainly be perceived as an indication that RTE wanted to put Hickey on the spot in a very aggressive manner (which may have had something to do with Cosgrave’s absconsion).

Hickey rounds off his comments by saying that Lisbon had offered €1.4 million to the summit to up sticks, but that the money was of no consequence to the organisers.

“What’s important is that you can stay in a hotel in Lisbon for four days for €200,” he said.


Reaction online to the interview has been polarised. There are those in favour:

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But the negative reactions do seem to outweigh the positive:

You can watch the interview in full here:

Source: Newsworthy. ie/YouTube

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