Business Web Summit

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Irate Game of Thrones star: Dublin losing the Web Summit is 'an embarrassment'

Jane O'Flaherty

LEADING actor Liam Cunningham has lambasted the Government over the loss of the Web Summit to Lisbon for the next three years.

In a Question and Answer session at the sold-out event in the RDS, the Game Of Thrones star said the loss was “an embarrassment” and “it shouldn’t have happened”.

A woman uses her phone at the Facebook stand during the three day Web Summit which opens at the RDS in Dublin: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A woman uses her phone at the Facebook stand during the three day Web Summit which opens at the RDS in Dublin: Niall Carson/PA Wire

“I think it’s a disgrace that something this clever and wonderful has been lost by people who probably don’t know how to turn on a mobile phone,” he said.

“They tried to sell the loss of this as a success story. I don’t think so. I don’t think they’re fooling anyone,” he added.

Read more: Live Blog: #WebSummit - All the news, views and buzz from Day One

The actor continued by saying a “change of government” was needed to ensure Web Summit could be attracted back to Dublin, as well as “younger people who realise that the world is changing”.

Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave
Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave

He added that the Government should get “down on its knees” to Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave in order to bring the event back.

This year’s Web Summit will be the last for the foreseeable future, after Paddy Cosgrave announced the event would move to Portugal for the next three years. 

Earlier in the day, Liam warned of the dangers illegal downloads could pose to quality TV shows.

Read more: Web Summit: Wifi connectivity a problem for some attendees on first day

The star, who plays Davos Seaworth in the hugely successful Game of Thrones series, said a link between people watching TV shows without paying and a possible end to TV production was a “no brainer.”

“[Game of Thrones] is the most illegally downloaded show on the planet. It has broken quite a few illegal records,” he said at the Web Summit’s Content Stage.

Before we had decent broadband and I was on dial-up, to nick a decent song would take three hours.”

“Eventually what will happen is that it’s not going to be worth our while making them because the return will be gone,” he said.

“We do have to keep in mind that future productions will suffer,” he added. “It’s a no brainer – if people aren’t going to be paid to make the stuff, they’re not going to make it.”

Read more: Web Summit: Facebook working on AI 'so computers evaluate photographs like humans'

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