Bruton: No tension with Web Summit organisers

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said there is no tension between the Web Summit organisers and the Government.

Speaking at day two of the event in Dublin’s RDS, Mr Bruton said he was aware of “others” who are interested in creating another similar event in the wake of the conference’s exit.

“Not at all, I know Paddy [Cosgrave, summit co-founder] well. I’ve known him for years. I’ve participated with him at earlier events.

“This is a powerful body. I also know there are lots of others who would like to develop similar events,” Mr Bruton told the media when asked about tension between the two parties.

However, Web Summit co-founder Daire Hickey said he did not think many people could create an event like his.

“I think there’s a great eco-system of start-ups in Ireland. I hope they’ll all come to Lisbon and have a good time and take a welcome break,” he said.

“I think it’s very difficult to create something like this and no I don’t think that many people can do that.

“I think there has been a lot of miscommunication. We would always have liked to have kept the Web Summit in Ireland, it didn’t really work out, we’re moving on.”

No government ministers attended the first day of the event on Tuesday and the jobs minister was the only one to arrive yesterday, after a number of weeks of debate about the summit’s move to Lisbon in 2016.

Mr Bruton took a limited number of questions on the controversy while at the conference before moving on to announce jobs for Ireland.

“I am pleased to announce there are six companies that are announcing expansion in Dublin — 320 jobs. These are emerging companies that IDA have identified as part of its strategy which has been running now since 2010. These are often the high-growth companies who over time will become really significant players,” he said.

These firms are involved in web development, app creation, and online training and the jobs will be rolled out over a three-year period.

The minister did, however, praise the founders of the Web Summit and commended their contribution to the economic development of the country.

“I think the Web Summit has always been an excellent opportunity and our agencies have used it consistently over the years. There have been dozens of networking events, hundreds of contacts made with business meetings and they have delivered and we have participated in such events, not only here in Dublin but throughout many locations.

“It is obviously disappointing that a decision has been made to move on but Ireland and Dublin remain a vibrant entrepreneurship space and that won’t change and we’ll continue to build on that and I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to showcase those strengths.”

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