Friday 20 September 2019

Tubridy on Web Summit wars: Ireland is a nation of wing clippers and Paddy has fallen foul

Ryan Tubridy tries out the Samsung Gear VR Oculus Glasses at the Web Summit at the RDS.
Pic Steve Humphreys
Ryan Tubridy tries out the Samsung Gear VR Oculus Glasses at the Web Summit at the RDS. Pic Steve Humphreys
Jason O'Brien

Jason O'Brien

RTE broadcaster Ryan Tubridy has said the Web Summit organisers and its co-founder Paddy Cosgrave are perceived as having gotten "too big for their boots" in some quarters as the fallout over the move to Lisbon continues.

The 'Late Late Show' host was speaking to at the RDS, where he was attending the event for the first time. Mr Cosgrave is set to appear on the Late Late tomorrow night to  to discuss is the departure of the Summit from Dublin, his dealings with government and whether he expects the event will return to Dublin in the future.

"They're living in a world where ambition, creativity and cajones are considered admirable and celebrated," Mr Tubridy said of Mr Cosgrave and the organisers. 

"They've come to Ireland - we're a nation of wing-clippers. Honestly if we see wings spanning out too much, we'll clip them, and I think they're suffering from that.

"I think the media need to back off a little bit. I also think the Web Summit guys might need to rein their necks in a little. And we could have peace and love and get this back here where it belongs."

Read more: Web Summit: Portugal deputy prime minister promises 'sun, sea, light and hospitality' in Lisbon next year

Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder of the Web Summit, on the opening day at the RDS. Photo: Frank McGrath
Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder of the Web Summit, on the opening day at the RDS. Photo: Frank McGrath

Mr Tubridy, who said his first impressions were that the event is "just like a geeked-up Young Scientist's Exhibition" said he has already told Mr Cosgrave that he feels moving the Web Summit from Dublin will be a mistake.

"What I'm struck by here is the amount of foreign people," he said.

"I'm not a start-up company obviously but I am interested in my country and what this event can do for that, and is doing for that.

"I talking about the taxis, the boost to pubs, restaurants, the bookings in hotels - and I am just so sorry that it's going. I met Paddy in a bookshop recently and I told him that my concern would be that Pablo from Colombia or Juanita from Spain is coming to Dublin for Dublin - for the beautiful architecture, for the cosy pub, for the cheeky pint, for the craic, for the Georgian streets around Merrion Square.

"So the question is, do you sacrifice the whole summit for infrastructure and miss out on what I would say is the real X-factor of the event?

"But they've done the maths, they're the experts, I'm not. I do wish them well."

Read more: Web Summit organisers 'refused competitive hotel prices to deal with attendees directly' - IHF

He also urged both sides in a row that has rumbled on for months to "grow up"

"I hope they sort out all that stuff with the government - that was just a spat, spats get sorted when people grow up - and that it does come back."

Mr Cosgrave was due to appear live on the RTE News on Tuesday evening but pulled out, with his co-founder Daire Hickey subsequently being grilled by Sharon Ni Bheolain about the move to Lisbon and looking decidedly uncomfortable. Mr Cosgrave also pulled out of a planned interview with yesterday, but Mr Tubridy is confident he will appear on the Friday's tv show.

"He's a talking point," he said. "He divides opinion. I admire him and his team for what they're doing and what they've done. I think all this sniping should be parked. The government should make its best offer, and his boys should accept the best possible offer, and get on with bringing it back here."

Mr Tubridy - who is often portrayed as a 'young fogey' due to his love of books and history - nonetheless insisted he was thoroughly enjoying the technology on offer at the summit today. However, he confirmed he has no plans to go back on Twitter, where he was once one of Ireland's most-popular users.

"I had a fairly big bunch of people following me. The decision to come off was manifold," he told

"The key reason was my daughter said to me one time, 'Are you on that thing again?' I got addicted to it, I liked it too much. The second reason was I found myself checking it after I sent a tweet and I realised it was a vanity thing. I thought to myself: 'You have a radio show and television show, just how needy are you?'

"And the final reason was when we finished the 'Late Late Show' and lots of people at home had finished the bottle of wine and it was a bit of a free-for-all on there after what I thought had been a good show.

"So I left it, and it was very liberating, and I won't be back. I think Twitter is a very small part of the national conversation, and there's too much emphasis on it in the media, but it's a fine little toy."

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