Government needs to pass anti-corruption legislation, says Web Summit founder

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave will send an open letter, signed by global influencers and tech CEOs, to the Government urging them to pass anti-bribery and corruption legislation, writes Joyce Fegan.

"In my case, I feel I am somewhat freer to stand up and say things and I also think I am in a position where I can pick up the phone to the CEOs of many of the most significant technology companies in the world that have very large operations in Ireland and chat to them very openly and chat to their general counsels about the fact that Ireland remains essentially alone in the western world in being in breach of anti-corruption legislation and that would they be interested in signing an open letter to the Government," Mr Cosgrave said.

He was speaking at a Web Summit press conference in Dublin this morning.

"Over the last 36 hours, I've had lots of phone calls, not just to the CEOs of some of these very large companies that we all know but also to people I think who sit in very unique positions of influence around the world who I think can shine a light of encouragement on our new Government to do the right thing.

"So in September if there doesn't seem to have been any progress, but I have every belief that there will have been progress and the corruption bill will have been passed, I'll pass a letter to the Government signed by some great people from around the world," he said.

Mr Cosgrave was referring to the Draft Scheme of the Criminal Justice (Corruption) Bill 2012, which has yet to be passed into law.

"I am very, very optimistic that legislation, that is the most comprehensive update to our anti-corruption legislation since 1889, which is a long time it's like the Traffic Acts not being properly updated from horses and carriages but anyway, the legislation, whilst for many people they feel it's watered down and it doesn't go far enough, I actually think for what it is it's a very positive leap forward," he said.

"The legislation has effectively been sitting on ice for five years, it's kind of designated as emergency legislation but for whatever reason, it hasn't been passed," he said.

The Web Summit founder said he was "very, very optimistic" that the draft legislation will be passed into law "very, very rapidly" now that a new Taoiseach and Cabinet are in place.

Mr Cosgrave has also announced that he is bringing one of his events, MoneyConf back to Dublin's RDS next year.

"MoneyConf, it was in Madrid for the last two years and then we had to come back to Dublin and we had to find a venue that was very, very suitable.

"We looked at many venues, we looked at the Convention Centre for the first time and it's an absolutely fantastic venue but if you want to bring more than four or 5,000 people together, its maximum capacity at any one time is about 5,000 people so it's too small.

"So that then left us with one venue in Dublin, the management there I'm great friends with even if I've never given that impression before you should not be misled, so our venue for MoneyConf is going to be the RDS and we're delighted to be going back there," he said.

MoneyConf will be held in June 2018.

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