The Government came under fire from all sides of the political spectrum for failing to secure the future of the prestigious Web Summit in Dublin after its founder announced it was to up sticks for Lisbon from 2016.
Opposition TDs labelled the development an “embarrassment” and a “massive reputational hit” while others accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton of failing to act on concerns raised by the event’s organisers.
Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton said: “This has huge, not just economic implications for Dublin, but huge implications for Ireland pitching itself as a hub for technology.
"This really leant itself to building on that reputation and having it in Dublin was a massive advantage to us.”
Fianna Fáil communications spokesman Michael Moynihan described the news as a crushing blow to Ireland’s reputation as a hi-tech innovation centre. His party leader, Micheál Martin, labelled it “a hugely embarrassing development”.
Mr Bruton wished the Web Summit all the best, describing the move as “a natural progression”.
“It is a great success but this does not in any way alter the strong start environment that we have here in Dublin,” he said.
Dublin Chamber of Commerce chief executive Gina Quinn said a “hotel bottleneck” caused by an insufficient supply of beds make it difficult for conference organisers to book rooms in block.
The Irish Hotels Federation said its members in Dublin had worked closely to provide competitively priced accommodation and insisted it wouldn’t be realistic to increase Dublin’s room capacity for a single event as it would result in low occupancy levels during the year.
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