Monday 16 September 2019

Department of Taoiseach pays €120k for summit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Mark Condren

The Department of the Taoiseach paid out over €120,000 (incl Vat) to two firms to help run its two-day Data Summit in Dublin last June.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar opened the event at Dublin's Convention Centre and speakers included Vint Cerf, vice-president and chief internet evangelist for Google, and Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon.

New documents show that the Department of the Taoiseach paid Happening Conferences and Events Ltd €96,136 for 'event costs including fees, catering and promotion' connected to the summit

In addition, Q4 Public Relations was paid €25,750 for providing "PR and communications services for the summit held on June 15 and 16".

Q4 Public Relations is one of the country's best-known PR agencies and its directors include Jackie Gallagher, Gerald O'Sullivan, Martin Mackin and Angie Kinnane.

Pay to directors and key account management personnel at the firm last year totalled €2.65m.

At the two-day Data Summit event, former RTE 'Primetime' presenter and founder of Storyful, Mark Little was employed to chair the proceedings.

Those attending the event from the private sector were asked to pay €300 per head while the cost to public sector delegates was €225 - the charge of students and those from the charity sector amounted to €125.

The rates included lunch and refreshments on both days.

The organisers of the summit were successful in recruiting a large number of blue chip 'partners' for the event that included Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Accenture, Ibec, the American Chamber of Commerce along with Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.

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