Monday 19 August 2019

Ireland reaches peak summit

'Paddy [Cosgrave] was justifiably shocked that people decided to take the Government's side in this, given that we don't take the Government's side in anything in this country'
'Paddy [Cosgrave] was justifiably shocked that people decided to take the Government's side in this, given that we don't take the Government's side in anything in this country'
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Looking back now, you wonder if this has been Sharon Ni Bheolain's sole purpose in life. Was she inserted into RTE all those years ago as a sleeper, just waiting for this moment? Was she some class of a Manchurian candidate who would be triggered by the sight of Daire Hickey at the Web Summit? Daire clearly got more than he bargained for as Sharon asked him basically why we were all expected to pay for bus tickets for the millionaires who have presumably made Daire and Paddy Cosgrave millionaires.

Daire and Paddy are clearly hurt at their treatment at the hands of the media this past week. Paddy seems to have been so hurt that he started pulling out of interviews.

Clearly recognising that it had been a smart move to pull out of the Sharon Ni Bheolain interview, Paddy subsequently pulled out of The Late Late Show too. And that was despite Tubs playing Kofi Anan by heading down to the Web Summit and appealing for peace and love and an end to wing-clipping.

Clearly, Paddy wondered why he, whose only crime is to try to make the world a better place, should be subjected to questioning by ingrates on old media.

And it had all started so well. Paddy did a mini-wikileaks, where he released emails showing that the Government was rubbish. But suddenly it all backfired badly and Paddy's PR strategy began to unravel.

People started awkwardly pointing out that the Web Summit was a business, that it made plenty of money, even on burgers, and people wondered why we were all supposed to bend over backwards for these tech millionaires, who have made a fortune from selling our own lives back to us.

Paddy was justifiably shocked that people decided to take the Government's side in this, given that we don't take the Government's side in anything in this country. So then he tried to make it clearer that we were making a choice between him and an unpopular Government, by claiming that the Government had manufactured the spat with the Web Summit in order to distract from homelessness and Irish Water and stuff.

Which people found confusing, because as far as we could see, it was Paddy who manufactured the spat.

Paddy went on to claim that the Government had given him hush money. To which people responded that maybe then he should give it back. If it was indeed hush money, he sure didn't keep up his end of the deal.

Ultimately, the Web Summit guys provided a masterclass in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We were prepared to feel a bit bad about losing the Web Summit.

But by the end of the week, we were feeling sorry for the poor bastards in Portugal who have to deal with this petulance for the next few years. And watching with pleasure as Lisbon hotel prices rose.

And remembering that the last people who promised to make the world a better place were totalitarian regimes.

Sunday Independent

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