Thursday 29 September 2016

Rift between Government and Web Summit widens as Kenny denies invitation

Adrian Weckler and Daniel McConnell

Published 02/11/2015 | 02:30

Enda Kenny did receive an invitation to attend this week's Web Summit in Dublin, despite his spokesman saying he didn't
Enda Kenny did receive an invitation to attend this week's Web Summit in Dublin, despite his spokesman saying he didn't
Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave

Taoiseach Enda Kenny did receive an invitation to attend this week's Web Summit in Dublin, despite his spokesman saying he didn't.

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The rift between Government and the organisers of the global tech event widened as weekend reports suggested Mr Kenny had not been invited this year.

But on foot of the report, the Web Summit released a statement insisting an invite had been extended.

"The Web Summit can confirm that the Taoiseach was invited to Web Summit. The invite was sent out by email on Friday, October 30, along with invites to other participants," the statement said.

European interest in the event has intensified this year as thousands of investors and US tech companies descend on Dublin for what will be the last Web Summit here before the event moves to Lisbon next year.

However, no Irish Government minister is expected to officially attend the conference to liaise with companies or investors there.

A weekend newspaper article had quoted Mr Kenny's spokesman, who said he had not received an invitation.

It has since been claimed that the comment to the paper was given on Friday evening before the invitation was received.

In a statement to the Irish Independent last night, a Government spokesman said: "The Taoiseach has been delighted to support the web summit through his attendance over the last number of years.

"Given that the invitation to attend this year's event was sent last Friday and the hectic nature of his schedule, the Taoiseach will be unable to attend.

"We wish Paddy and his team continued success into the future."

However, a Web Summit spokesperson said that the Taoiseach and other Government ministers had a standing invitation to attend the summit, but these were not taken up.

European governments from Germany to Kosovo are sending senior ministers to Dublin this week to try and persuade tech companies to relocate to their country.

The ministers are hoping to push their own compatriot start-ups to an audience of up to 30,000 tech industry executives and media, including senior investors.

The British government is also expected to send senior figures to the event.

Irish Independent

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