Web Summit bosses urged government “to engage”
Relations between the Government and the organisers of the Web Summit declined dramatically in the weeks before last months announcement that the summit was to move to Lisbon from next year, according to documents released this afternoon.
The Web Summit has published a series of correspondence between it and Government officials, displaying how relationships deteriorated significantly in the four weeks prior to the announcement. The emails show how the Web Summit never looked for Government funding, but instead its bosses tried repeatedly to raise worries with officials in the Department of the Taoiseach around four issues – public transport, traffic management, hotel costs and WiFi in the RDS.
In the emails, Web Summit co-founder and Chief Executive Paddy Cosgrave displayed growing frustration at what he saw as a lack of engagement from the State in relation to trying to address the company’s concerns. He also outlined what was being offered by authorities in other countries by way of inducement to have the Web Summit to move, and outlined a decision about Web Summit 2016 would be taken by September 2015.
In a statement this afternoon, Dublin City Council said it has been very supportive of the Web Summit over the years and everything possible and within reason was done to facilitate it. It said this year a senior official in the City Council took on the specific role of trying to get a more co-ordinated approach to the event not just from within Dublin City Council but including all the other external agencies and Government Departments. It said the Assistant Chief Executive, Brendan Kenny, did meet Mr Cosgrove last year and he would have gladly met him again if such a request was made.