When the Web Summit, Paddy Cosgrave’s yearly Internet conference, declared that they will move to Lisbon from 2016 after four successful years in Dublin, the surprise and even shock in Dublin was sizeable. Immediately there were speculations about Lisbon “buying” the event with subsidies or even direct payments to Cosgrave’s company, but after a few days it seemed to die down and there was not that much talk about it anymore.
But maybe there was still a lot of rumbling going on behind the scenes OR it is an intentional marketing “trick” to bring the focus back onto the Web Summit: Suddenly – and to most people unexpectedly – Paddy Cosgrave released the e-mail correspondence between him and a clearly very little interested Nick Reddy, who is the Taoiseach’s Private Secretary, in the run up to the announcement about the move to Lisbon.
I am of the opinion that the Web Summit far outgrew Dublin and that the vast amount of 30,000 participants this November, will bring Dublin to its breakpoint. Neither the RDS, not the traffic and public transport infrastructure in the area is suitable for such a massive event. And with the goals of growing the conference to even 50-60,000 delegates, it was absolutely unavoidable that event would have to move. Dublin is too small for it and Ballsbridge is not the place where you can implement the traffic management plans that the Web Summit management expected.
But it seems that despite this, Paddy Cosgrave didn’t want to move and desperately tried to get the current Irish Government to listen to him and to help him. He repeatedly stresses that he is not looking for money and that instead he is looking for help with Traffic Management, Public Transport, the over pricing by hotels and the WiFi in the RDS. He received no support. Maybe that was because there IS no solution to the problem, but there was not even the attempt to help or to fight to keep the Web Summit. The Taoiseach’s Private Secretary couldn’t have been any less interested.
The most interesting document in this exchange of e-mails however is a mail from 03 September. I strongly recommend that you read it on Page 9. It shows how totally incompetent the Irish Government behaved in comparison to governments from other countries in making good use of this huge event. The ignorance and incompetence is truly shocking!
Sure, we all know that Enda Kenny and his accomplices are not in the premier league when it comes to statesmanship or management skills, but the picture described in this mail from 03 September makes you wonder if they even make it into the lowest league.