Business Technology

Friday 20 July 2018

Paddy Cosgrave: The Web Summit will never come back to Ireland

Paddy Cosgrave speaking at the Web Summit in The RDS
Paddy Cosgrave speaking at the Web Summit in The RDS

Mary McDonnell

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave has said the global event will never return to Ireland because it is too big for the country to host.

He told RTE Radio 1’s Marian Finucane on Saturday: “It’s too big but we have relocated a conference that we think is perfect ,” referencing Moneyconf, a financial technology conference smaller than Web Summit.

Tempers flared between Summit founders and the Irish government in 2015 over the decision to relocate the conference to Lisbon.

Mr Consgrave said today that Ireland is more suited to hosting sporting and music events but lacks the capacity to cater for his large-scale tech conference.

He said: “I think Dublin is a remarkably great city to host people. Ireland’s a great country to host people. People enjoy coming here.

“It’s just once it gets to a certain size, it’s different to a sporting event or the ploughing championships. We’ve endless fields and we’ve lots of stadiums but when you need large exhibition halls, we just don’t happen to have them. 20,000 is the max here.

“I grew up on a farm and I look at Anna May (McHugh, National Ploughing Association Chief) and she’s so humble. She’s the single shareholder… it’s worth many millions. She should be celebrated as an incredible entrepreneur that has built something truly remarkable.”

Web Summit, which employs 150 people in Dublin, hosted its annual conference in Dublin for five years before making the move abroad.

The return of Moneyconf marks a new phase in Mr Consgrave's relationship with the Irish government.

"We're back working with the Irish government ," he said back in April. "There's a lot of positivity and a lot of change. It's an interesting time for ireland and not just because of Brexit."

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