Web Summit leaves Ireland after €725k of State funding

The Government couldn’t prevent the Web Summit choosing an alternative host city from next year despite funnelling over €700,000 of taxpayers’ money into the event over the past three years.

Figures seen by the Irish Examiner show that €725,000 of support was given to the event since 2012 through the State’s two main business and employment agencies Enterprise Ireland extended €405,800 of funding over that time.

IDA Ireland, which is tasked with attracting foreign direct investment to the country, gave an additional €320,000, excluding Vat, to the support pot over the past three years.

Funding from both state agencies dipped last year, however, with the IDA’s contribution falling to €100,000 from €140,000 while Enterprise Ireland’s funding decreased by €12,300 to €135,300.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said that “significant financial and non-financial” support was also given to the organisers of the Web Summit over the past few years, including from Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council and Bord Bia.

The news that the summit is to relocate from Dublin comes after Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave confirmed earlier this month he was in talks with other cities regarding its future.

He added that representatives of a number of European cities had expressed an interest in hosting the event over the past number of years, including London, Lisbon and Amsterdam.

Some saw the negotiations as an attempt to secure further State backing for the event but it emerged yesterday that the Portuguese capital had won the right to host the event from 2016 for at least three years.

Making the announcement in a blog post, Mr Cosgrave said the conference had to move if it was to continue its remarkable growth which will see an estimated 30,000 attendees descend on the RDS this November.

“We know now what it takes to put on a global technology gathering and we know that if Web Summit is to grow further, we need to find it a new home. Our attendees expect the best,” Mr Cosgrave said.

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