Failte Ireland 'mystified' after founder of Lovin’ Dublin website accuses it of plagiarism
Lovin’ Dublin founder Niall Harbison has accused Fáilte Ireland of plagiarism and has sought legal advice over the State body’s use of its ‘Dublin- a breath of fresh air’ logo.
Mr Harbison said it was “tough having your every move replicated by a State body in Visit Dublin”.
The allegations came as a shock to Fáilte Ireland, which said it was “mystified” by the statement.
"Fáilte Ireland is somewhat surprised at Niall’s comments. Our new Dublin brand and logo is almost a year old and Niall was a member of the Grow Dublin Taskforce and would have had an opportunity to provide his own input when the logo was being designed,” a spokesman for Fáilte Ireland told the Irish Independent.
However, the Lovin’ Group boss denied his input in the design of the logo.
“That’s not true; I sat in on the first session and then left immediately. I was invited to join it so I sat in on the first session and then left,” Mr Harbison told Independent.ie.
The tourism body launched the ‘Dublin - A breath of fresh air’ in October of last year. The campaign was started to reposition the city and county and secure its appeal to overseas for the long-term.
The €1m campaign is funded by Fáilte Ireland, four local Dublin authorities and a collection of private-sector partners.
Fáilte Ireland said the two parties had done a pilot piece of work that had been co-branded. The State's tourism arm also said Lovin' Dublin had produced content for it, which had been shared through its channels.
"For over a year since the new brand’s launch he has never raised any issue with us regarding its look or design. He had plenty of opportunities to do so as he has been working a lot with our Dublin team over the last year or so while his ‘Lovin Dublin’ brand and our own ‘Dublin – A breath of Fresh Air’ brand have teamed up on a number of occasions," the spokesman said.
Fáilte claims the pair had worked quite closely and had a good relationship, with Mr Harbison making proposals to the body as early as a month ago.
"Indeed, as recently as last month we had communications from Niall with a view to discussing how we might work with his Lovin brand across all of our three brands (Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin) in 2017 and he never raised any issue regarding the logo. In that context, his tweet is slightly disappointing and somewhat mystifying," the spokesman said.
Mr Harbison said he was unsure if this was the case.
It is understood the entrepreneur had approached Fáilte Ireland with suggestions but the body wanted to postpone the talks until 2017.