Monday 16 September 2019

No Taoiseach at Web Summit is embarrassing

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny


The absence of Taoiseach Enda Kenny at this week's Web Summit is a sorry reflection of the breakdown in relations between the organisers of the international summit and the State, which in previous years had feted the tech extravaganza.

The organisers say the Taoiseach, who has attended the summit in recent years, was invited; the Taoiseach says the invitation was sent only last Friday.

It is embarrassing for Ireland, when the country is competing with other global hubs to attract start-ups and investors, to be showcasing our dirty laundry instead of the best of what we have to offer in this vital sector.

And it is also significant that no Irish government minister is expected to officially attend the event, which moves to Lisbon next year.

This amounts to a de facto snub of the summit by the State.

This is a matter of huge regret in circumstances where other countries, including Britain, France and Kosovo are sending senior personnel - including government ministers - to Dublin to try to persuade tech companies and entrepreneurs to relocate to their country.

Not for the first time, a potentially great Irish story has been sullied by internecine bickering and pointing the finger of blame.

Regardless of where that blame lies, it is regrettable that the summit and the State could not resolve their differences in the best interests of the economy and our international reputation.

Irish Independent

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