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We must replicate, not mourn, Web Summit


Paddy Cosgrave pictured at the 2014 Web Summit

Paddy Cosgrave pictured at the 2014 Web Summit

Stephen Collins

Paddy Cosgrave pictured at the 2014 Web Summit

The loss of the Web Summit is an undoubted blow to the capital and to the country.

In just a couple of years the highly regarded technology event has become a mainstay of the hospitality sector and of Ireland's "branding" as a successful and dynamic technology hub.

Politicians, business leaders and celebrities have basked in the reflected glow of what has become a globally significant trade show.

Fáilte Ireland claimed at one point that it was worth €100m to the economy.

It's difficult now to remember that the summit was launched by go-getting twenty-somethings Paddy Cosgrave, Daire Hickey and David Kelly, back in 2009 and held initially in a room at the old Bewleys Hotel in Ballsbridge.

In November the same team, who now employ 130 staff, will host 30,000 at the RDS.

The brutal truth is that after that 2016's Web Summit will happen in Lisbon, Portugal, because it has outgrown its home market.

Ireland does not have a venue large enough to comfortably host a global "expo." The RDS is a wonderful venue, but in reality it's too small and poorly connected to major infrastructure.

The Convention Centre in Dublin can cater for events of up to 5,000. Unlike the Dublin Horse Show and the Ploughing Championship, the Web Summit is not going to become an annual event in Ireland, and why should it?

Rather than carp about it being lost, the business leaders and politicians who were happy to be associated with Paddy Cosgrave should now take a leaf out of his book.

The formula for the Web Summit was a bright idea, hard work and persistence. It is moving to Lisbon but those qualities are still here in abundance.

Rather than mourn its loss we should look to celebrate, and replicate, its success.

Irish Independent