Wednesday 21 March 2018

Comment: Posturing from Web Summit over corruption is rich when it demanded public subsidies to stay here

Websummit Founder Paddy Cosgrave pictured at a Press Confrence in The Shelbourne Hotel.
Websummit Founder Paddy Cosgrave pictured at a Press Confrence in The Shelbourne Hotel.
Michael O'Doherty

Michael O'Doherty

WEB SUMMIT founder Paddy Cosgrave has indicated his intention to hold a conference in Dublin next year which will deal, in part, with the subject of corruption.

He explained the reason for this with his traditional degree of insufferable self-importance.

"I can pick up the phone to many of the CEOs of the biggest tech companies in the world and chat openly with them about the fact that Ireland remains alone in terms of being in breach of anti-corruption legislation," he said.

So let's have a quick reality check.

First, in case you think Cosgrave is a selfless campaigner against corruption, it should be pointed out that next year's MoneyConf is not a charity.

It's a private, money-making event, just like the Web Summit, to which exhibitors and visitors will be charged large sums to attend and which will no doubt make its organisers even wealthier.


OK, there's nothing wrong with that, you say, and on the face of it you'd be right.

Where it gets interesting is the idea that Cosgrave and his loyal band of websters are getting so indignant about corruption.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Web Summit move from Dublin to Lisbon because the Irish Government wouldn't give it sufficient "support" - ie, money - whereas Portugal greeted it with an open chequebook?

For all the posturing about infrastructure, what sealed the deal for the Web Summit was €1.3m from Lisbon's authorities to relocate there.

Should the Web Summit be professing outrage at corruption while demanding public subsidies to run its events when it's patently a private enterprise that shouldn't really need them?

I'll leave that one up to you.

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