The Government has been criticised by opposition parties and lobby groups over its failure to negotiate with the organisers of the Web Summit after it had received offers to relocate the event outside of Ireland.
The Web Summit’s co-founder Paddy Cosgrave published email correspondence between the company and senior officials in the Department of the Taoiseach in the weeks before it had been announced that the event would be moving to Lisbon next year.
Fianna Fail stated that the published documents highlighted the Government’s “complete disinterest in ensuring that the global event remained in Dublin”.
Dara Calleary, the party’s job spokesman said the correspondence clearly outlined a lack of leadership from the Government on the issues.
Gina Quinn, Dublin Chambers of Commerce chief executive said there had been a failure to invest in infrastructure in the capital, which was now impacting on the city.
Yesterday in the emails published by Mr Cosgrave, said he wanted no money from the state in order to keep the event in Dublin, but urged officials to co-operate on an infrastructural strategy for its future.
In a “list of asks” the Web Summit said they would like:
- Complimentary rental venues such as City Hall and Wood Quay
- City centre branding for the Web Summit for two weeks leading up to the event
- Access to Garda escort services for specific VIPs
- Dedicated shuttle buses provided by Dublin Bus for Web Summit attendees
He said addressing the core issues such as traffic management, steep hotel prices and wifi was essential, but claimed after three years of asking it had not received even a single paged outlining a committed plan.
Last night, the Department of the Taoiseach responded saying the State agencies had been “happy to support the Web Summit and help it grow in scale each year”.
While the Web Summit insisted they never received direct funding from the IDA or Enterprise Ireland, it has emerged that the organisation paid more than €700,000 over the last three years as part of ongoing support for the event.
Details of the payments came in response to the published correspondence in which Mr Cosgrave outline his frustration at what he perceived to be a lack of engagement by the Government on the summit’s future.
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