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Donohoe defends Govt’s engagement with Web Summit

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Donohoe defends Govt’s engagement with Web Summit

Donohoe defends Govt’s engagement with Web Summit
October 16
09:15 2015

Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe has said engagement did take place and efforts were made by the Department of the Taoiseach to keep the Web Summit in Ireland.

Yesterday, the event organisers published correspondence between them and senior Government officials, showing how relationships deteriorated significantly in the four weeks prior to the announcement that the event was being moved to Portugal.

In a statement, the Government said the documents “are a selection of rather than a full account of contact between the summit and Government and it’s agencies”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Minister Donohoe said a number of documents will be released under a freedom of information request which will show the breadth of engagement between Paddy Cosgrave and a number of agencies to try to make the event work.

When asked if the Government had dropped the ball in relation to the Web Summit, the minister said there is always things that can be learned for the future and that now they have to look at how they can bring the event back to Dublin in the future.

Minister Donohoe said that Dublin attracts massively successful events every day and that there are 188 such events booked over the next few years.

He said: “I’d invite anyone to look at the correspondence that has been released by Paddy Cosgrave already in to the public arena.

“The response actually that did come back from the Department of the Taoiseach in relation to it.

“And we are going to have a freedom of information, a number of freedom of information requests that will be coming into the public domain across the coming weeks and it will show the breadth of engagement that took place with different state agencies in relation to it.”

Opposition parties have called for an explanation from the Government into the decision last month by the organisers of the Web Summit to relocate the event from Dublin to Lisbon.

Fianna Fáil’s Spokesman on Tourism Timmy Dooley said it was totally unacceptable that the Government failed to deal with repeated requests over concerns raised by the Web Summit organisers.

Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton said the Coalition needed to learn that developing a cohesive, effective jobs policy was far more complex than “gallivanting” in front of the camera at carefully staged photo shoots.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government had always been supportive of the Web Summit and described the decision to relocate as a commercial one.

He said they were “quite entitled to make that decision” and he said he wished them every success in Lisbon.

Chief Executive of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce Gina Quinn said there has been a failure in long-term planning for Dublin, including investment in infrastructure, which is now having a negative impact.


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