Dublin will attract a successor to the Summit, says 'disappointed' Bruton
Dublin will attract “successors” to the Web Summit, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton has said.
As the row rages over whether the Government did enough to stop the event moving to Lisbon, Mr Bruton said he was “obviously disappointed”.
However, he declined to echo his colleague Ged Nash’s call for the organisers to hand back what they have described as ‘hush money’ provided by the Government over the past four years.
It comes as RTE announced that Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave is to join Ryan Tubridy on tomorrow night’s Late Late Show.
Mr Cosgrave has claimed that the State provided more than €700,000 to the event in a bid to secure good publicity. He has also said that it has become “too big” for Dublin.
In the Dail yesterday, Mr Burton rejected allegations that Enterprise Ireland and the IDA did not use the event effectively to attract business into the country.
“I am sure there will be successors to the Web Summit in Dublin, because Dublin has such a vibrant environment,” he said.
“Just as we supported it in the past, we will support such an initiative again.”
He said the agencies attached to his department “do not work in a blaze of publicity” but seek to talk “confidentially with companies to develop programmes”.
“My Department and agencies use a range of opportunities to showcase Ireland by hosting or partnering in national and international events that support our overarching policy objectives across our core programmes of enterprise, innovation and regulation.”
Later, Mr Bruton travelled to the RDS where he met with a number of entrepreneurs and bodies taking part in the Summit.
Asked if he backed Mr Nash’s call for monies to be repaid to the State, he replied: “Paddy is entitled to his view of the world and everyone is . . . I heard Ged Nash made that joking comment, I think I won’t give that legs.”
Fianna Fáil’s Tourism spokesman, Timmy Dooley, heavily criticised Mr Nash’s statement, saying: “The real stupidity of Ged Nash’s suggestion that the Web Summit should repay financial support they’ve
received from Government really only strikes you when you spend some time observing at close quarters the scale and quality of the event.
“Even as 40,000 Web Summit visitors circulate in our city, bringing millions of euro in investment and tourist spending, Government ministers still can’t see past their own ego and realise the loss this event’s departure represents.”