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Paddy Cosgrave says outspoken comments online don't hurt Web Summit business

The outspoken Web Summit founder says his social media outbursts against politicians have ‘tremendously helped’ his company’s business in Ireland


Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave in Lisbon yesterday. Photo: Adrian Weckler

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave in Lisbon yesterday. Photo: Adrian Weckler

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave in Lisbon yesterday. Photo: Adrian Weckler

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave says that his outspoken views have “tremendously helped” his business in Ireland.

Asked by the Irish Independent whether his Twitter attacks on public officials could be bad for the business interests of his 250-strong event and software company, he said “no, not in the slightest.”.

Mr Cosgrave added that he did not know whether the IDA, at one time a large Web Summit commercial partner, was present at the sold-out Lisbon event this year. The IDA has so far declined to comment.

The company’s last set of accounts show that it booked €47.9m in revenue in 2019, up from €35m the year before.

It made a €27.7m gross profit and €9.3m in earnings before tax, with no dividend paid to Mr Cosgrave as the majority shareholder.

Mr Cosgrave’s remarks today come two days after he opened the Web Summit with a searing criticism of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar on its centre stage.

The conference organiser used the platform to project giant images of a Village Magazine cover describing Mr Varadkar as a “law breaker”.

He invited Village Magazine editor Michael Smith along with Chay Bowes and John Tighe who were involved in publishing the story behind the magazine cover onto the stage and asked the crowd in the vast Altice Arena, which included senior Portuguese government officials and global technology chiefs, to give the men a round of applause.

Mr Cosgrave made the intervention as a precursor to the opening night’s main event, an interview with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.

The tech conference founder has used his Twitter account to levy accusations against the Tánaiste and other high profile politicians for the last 12 months.

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The original article in the Village in 2020 triggered a criminal investigation into the now Tánaiste’s leaking of a document in April 2019 related to negotiations for a new General Practitioner pay agreement.

At the time Mr Varadkar, who has denied any wrongdoing, was the Taoiseach. The central allegation is that he improperly shared a confidential copy of a proposed new GP pay deal agreement with Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail, a friend of Mr Varadkar and member of a GP representative body not involved in the negotiations.

As well as the Garda investigation the Standards in Public Office Commission (Sipo) has also been asked to review the case.

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