Monday 26 September 2016

Bruton will attend Web Summit in bid to quell invite row

Kevin Doyle and Adam Cullen

Published 03/11/2015 | 02:30

The Department of An Taoiseach yesterday asked Mr Bruton to attend the event in an effort to quell a row over whether Enda Kenny was actually invited.
The Department of An Taoiseach yesterday asked Mr Bruton to attend the event in an effort to quell a row over whether Enda Kenny was actually invited.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton is to represent the Government at the Web Summit in a last-minute move.

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The Department of An Taoiseach yesterday asked Mr Bruton to attend the event in an effort to quell a row over whether Enda Kenny was actually invited.

It has emerged that the invitation to the Taoiseach arrived late on Friday night, with sources saying it would be impossible to clear his diary at such short notice.

Officials were last night still trying to work out Mr Bruton's participation in the summit but a spokesperson said: "His programme will include meetings with Irish start-ups and international companies."

Last year, Mr Kenny rang the NASDAQ opening bell from the RDS, while in 2013 he shared a stage with PayPal founder Elon Musk.

The Government has been embroiled in a row with the Web Summit organisers in recent weeks after a series of emails between its founder, Paddy Cosgrave, and officials in the Department of An Taoiseach were made public. The event is moving to Lisbon next year. Organisers wanted the Government to contribute more to the running of the event in terms of traffic management, wifi capabilities and controlling the cost of hotels.

Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe has said he did not receive an invitation, despite attending the summit in the past.

"All of the organisers can be assured of all of the support and efforts of everybody within Government and all of the bodies that are located here in Dublin who deal with welcoming people into our country. The event organisers can be assured of our continued support," he said.

A spokesperson for the event said Mr Donohoe and all other TDs and senators were invited on Friday via email.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Department of Foreign Affairs warned the IDA last May that the summit leaving Dublin would be "damaging" for Ireland.

A senior official in the department emailed the IDA about a "very worrying" signal from Mr Cosgrave that he was planning to move the summit.

The IDA replied stating that Mr Cosgrave "regularly brings up the issue of moving".

Irish Independent

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