Tag Archives: Paddy Cosgrave

This afternoon.

Nick’s Coffee Shop, Ranelagh, Dublin 6

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave talking to RTÉ’s Philip Boucher Hayes and addressing media about his role in a campaign that anonymously targeted European Facebook users in 10 countries with advertisements about Ireland’s corporate tax system saying it was his ‘patriotic duty’.

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave has spent what he described “a very small amount” of about €20,000 on Facebook ads highlighting Ireland’s corporation tax regime.

He said he would not be taking any more measures to highlight the country’s tax regime, adding that he thinks “the game is up” and that Ireland should “start to close down all of these things.”

…In respect of his own company Amaranthine, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund, which is incorporated in Delaware, Mr Cosgrave said

“it is more tax efficient to incorporate out of Ireland, but that fund is operated out of the United States…it is the standard procedure for venture capital funds [to set up there].”


What we wouldn’t do.

Cosgrave spent €20,000 on ads highlighting corporation tax regime (Independent.ie)

Leah Farrell/RollingNews



IDA Ireland logo; Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave

Earlier this week.

Co-founder of the Web Summit Paddy Cosgrave tweeted about Ireland’s tax structures which, he said, allow companies to “avoid all taxes” and “enjoy no-touch regulation”.

He went on to link to a Wikipedia article about the same before warning his followers that the Irish Government, through the IDA, pays people to edit tax-related articles on Wikipedia.

He tweeted:

Further to this…


Paddy Cosgrave

Thanks Bebe

Paddy Cosgrave

Adrian Weckler, on Independent.ie, reports:

Paddy Cosgrave’s Web Summit is to move MoneyConf, the 5,000-strong financial technology conference scheduled for Dublin this June, to Lisbon.

Instead of a standalone event this June, it will now be part of the Web Summit this November, said Mr Cosgrave.

It is understood that the decision was taken in recent weeks. Companies that had made plans around the two-day June conference in the RDS in June will now be “accommodated” through refunds and possibly travel and accommodation compensation.

Paddy Cosgrave’s Web Summit to move 5,000-strong MoneyConf out of Dublin (Adrian Wreckler, Independent.ie)

Previously: Paddy Cosgrave on Broadsheet

CEO and founder of the Web Summit Paddy Cosgrave

Adrian Wreckler, on Independent.ie, reports:

Paddy Cosgrave’s Web Summit has secured a whopping €110m from the Portuguese government to stay in Lisbon for the next 10 years.

The company had been engaged in “a competitive tender process” with other European cities over the last year.

The deal also includes what the Web Summit describes as a “€3 billion buyout clause”, should another city want to tempt the event away from Lisbon.

Paddy Cosgrave’s Web Summit secures new €110m deal to stay in Lisbon for ten years (Independent.ie)


From top: A sit-in on O’Connell Bridge in Dublin city during the Take Back The City national day of action on  Saturday; RTÉ’s Audrey Carville; Paddy Cosgrave

This morning.

On RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.

Audrey Carville spoke to co-founder of the Web Summit Paddy Cosgrave in light of the Take Back The City protests which took place across Ireland on Saturday.

Mr Cosgrave was critical of Fine Gael for castigating the protesters as “criminals” while seemingly never speaking out about Irish farmers who’ve occupied farms to prevent them from being compulsorily purchased to provide factories or offices for foreign companies.

He was also critical of RTÉ’s coverage of the matter.

Audrey Carville: “Large crowds of people protested across the country on Saturday over the housing crisis. It was organised by the Take Back The City group as part of a national day of action over the shortage of housing. Rallies were also held in Sligo, Galway, Kildare, Limerick, Derry, Belfast, Drogheda, Maynooth, Bray and in Wexford.

“Speeches called for an end to evictions, increased provision of social housing and affordable rents. Well with us in studio this morning, one man who was at the Dublin city protest on Saturday, entrepreneur, co-founder and chief executive of the Web Summit Paddy Cosgrave. You’re welcome and good morning.”

“Will you tell us why you were there?”

Paddy Cosgrave: “I think one of the motivating factors was captured by the lead story on the front page of the Sunday Business Post yesterday which is this crisis is not just one affecting society, it’s having a very negative impact on the economy at large. And it’s impacting small businesses, that’s very obvious but perhaps what’s not so obvious is that multi-nationals are also being impacted and dramatically so, to the point that they’re prepared to raise this issue consistently over the last year with ministers of this country.

“On the march, I met, I walked with somebody who worked with Google, others from Indeed, Facebook, LinkedIn, and I think that Fine Gael may have underestimated what type, the nature of this crisis.”

Carville: “The Government has said protests don’t build houses and they question their impact. They’ve also said previously that homelessness here is no worse than anywhere else.”

Cosgrave: “Well I grew up on a farm. And when my next-door neighbour occupied a building that was in use in Dublin last summer for seven full days with the IFA [Irish Farmers’ Association] grain committee – that was the Department of Agriculture. It wasn’t stormed by heavy police officers, dressed in riot gear. They were left, peacefully there, to protest for seven days. Fine Gael never came out and spoke out against members of the IFA, farmers in this country as “criminals”, as “disgraceful”, words used by ministers over the last week. And I think that should tell you something about Fine Gael.

Fine Gael have essentially decided that they think the protesters in the city are of working class background, that they’re from poor, disadvantaged areas and, as a consequence, they’ll kind of castigate them as criminals. But when farmers do it, when farmers occupy farms – all over this country, which they’ve been doing for years now – there’s not a word out of Fine Gael.”

“And I think that should tell you something about the operating basis of Fine Gael as a party in modern Ireland.”

Carville: “In relation to Fine Gael, they’re the main party in Government, it’s their job to put together a policy which will deliver housing for people here and they say they’re doing that, they tell us about the figures of house completions, they tell us about the money being invested. They’ve announced this Land Development Agency which they believe will be a big factor in solving this. You’re not convinced?”

Cosgrave: “Well I think if you want to understand Fine Gael’s priorities, you should look at the first act of business of this year, 2018. Heather Humphreys proposed a bill, called the Industrial Development Bill that, you know, there are people that desperately need places to live but the Government decided that the number one priority was to grant extraordinary powers to the IDA to compulsorily purchase farms around this country that foreign companies had identified as areas that they would like to build – factories or offices. That’s contained in the Industrial Development bill 2018, that was the first act of Fine Gael.

“And they prioritised that legislation in the interest of foreign companies to compulsory purchase farmers’ land in this country. It had to do with the case of Thomas Reid – a farmer, very close to the Leixlip plant, or Intel’s Leixlip plant. And I think, again, that’s very, very revealing. There’s land all over this country that can be compulsorily purchased for houses but that hasn’t been a priority for this Government.”

Carville: “But have you raised this with Leo Varadkar. He was a speaker at your MoneyConf conference this year.”

Cosgrave: “Have I raised it? I think thousands, tens of thousands of people have been raising it, the Central Bank has…”

Carville: “No, but have you raised it?”

Cosgrave: “…been raising it. The European Commission has been raising it…”

Carville: “Yeah but you’re here…”

Cosgrave: “The Economist…”

Carville: “Have you raised it?”

Cosgrave: “…has been raising it. Have I raised it? Yes, I took part in a protest on Saturday.”

Carville: “I know that. But you had personal access to Leo Varadkar – he was one of your keynote speakers at your MoneyConf event this year. Did you have a meeting with him…”

Cosgrave: “Absolutely. Have I tweeted about it? Have I tweeted him directly, yeah…”

Carville: “No that’s not what I’m asking…”

Cosgrave: “Absolutely.”

Carville: “…and you know. Have you had a face-to-face meeting. At that opportunity to raise it with the most senior politician in the country?”

Cosgrave:I find this reprehensible. Have RTE covered the fact that this government has never said so much as a word about farmers in this country who’ve occupied farm after farm after farm – halting the for sale of those farms for years now.

Carville: “Hmmm. But have you…”

Cosgrave:Have you pointed out the hypocrisy of that? That a group of people from west, believed to be from west Dublin, are castigated as criminals and disgraceful. Why? Because Fine Gael knows they don’t vote for them.”

Carville: “But I’m asking you a simple question Paddy Cosgrave. No, no…”

Cosgrave: “…when farmers occupy properties illegally by the way, illegally, illegally…”

Carville: “I’m asking you a question, you’re in here this morning, making these points, raising your concerns on the back of what has been taking place over the past number of weeks. I’m asking you – as someone in your position, with direct access to the Taoiseach, at an event that you organised this year. Did you talk to him about this…face-to-face?”

Cosgrave: “Oh sure for years, for more than a year, I’ve been raising, for more than two years, I’ve been raising these issues directly with government, with special advisors to a number of ministers…”

Carville: “But not to Leo Varadkar.”

Cosgrave:I’ve met in my house with the Minister for Housing – because these issues are not just mauling society, they’re affecting the entire economy, they’re shuttering small businesses, they’re forcing multi-nationals, for the first time, in almost the history of this state, to publicly and openly criticise a sitting government. That’s unprecedented.”

Carville: “And yet…”

Cosgrave: “Are there other examples of that? Can you cite another example of a multi-national in this country, publicly criticising a sitting Government?”

Carville: “And yet, I’m reading a report from yesterday’s Sunday Times where figures compiled by property group Green Reit, and a number of commercial property agents, show that eight tech companies, including some of those you mentioned – Amazon, Facebook, Google – who are here and well established here. And they’re looking to create space for an additional 20,000 workers and they’re well aware of the housing crisis.”

Cosgrave: “Sure and the…”

Carville: “So the impact on them is not questionable…”

Cosgrave: “You cite Amazon, this is essentially propaganda. Amazon themselves have, at a ministerial level, raised this issue. The question is, you know, 200,000 jobs. How many jobs is the country losing? How many jobs is the country losing? How many offices are Google and Amazon opening up across Europe – and they’re doing it and I know well that they’re doing it because of the difficulties in finding accommodation.”

Carville: “So how would you solve it? Have you any solutions?”

Cosgrave: “Absolutely, I think there are huge numbers of solutions. There’s nothing radical that’s needed. I think there are perfect examples, all across Europe, that have followed all sorts of policies for years – but those policies aren’t even discussed, they’re not even discussed in the national media, they’re not even discussed by this broadcaster.”

Carville: “Name one.”

Cosgrave: “I think that’s incredibly worrying. Let’s take Germany just as an example, just take tenants’ rights as an example, indefinite lifespan for tenancy contracts, what about the immediate ban of Airbnb? That’s being done in cities across Europe. Three years ago at this point, five years ago, Berlin initiated and indicated that they would start to regulate Airbnb and three years ago they instigated bans and heavy restrictions on Airbnb. That hasn’t happened here. It’s very easy to implement those.”

Carville: “Ok. Well thank you very much for coming in to talk to us this morning…”

Listen back here

Saturday: Sit Down Next To Me


From top: Marine Le Pen; Jerome Riviera, Paddy Cosgrave

Email from Luan McKenna, of the Web Summit, to Mr Riviera, spokesperson for Marine Le Pen’s party (click to enlarge)

Yesterday, The international spokesman for Marine Le Pen’s French far-right party National Rally, Jerome Riviera, tweeted an email he received from Luan McKenna, of the Web Summit, on July 18, 2018.

It was a follow-up to an email Mr McKenna had sent two days previously in which he outlined the Web Summit’s plans for Ms Le Pen to attend the event in Lisbon, Portugal, later this year.

On July 18, Mr McKenna essentially resent his initial email which included the line:

“You mentioned that Marine would be interested in talking about ‘fake news’ and the responsibility tech companies have in stopping the spread of it. This is a very important topic for me and I would love to have Marine speak about this.

“In terms of format, I mentioned on the phone that I would like to have Marine do two items. One would be a keynote address and the other would be a panel discussion. I would obviously check with you to make sure Marine was happy with any other panelists we suggest.”

After it was reported earlier this week that Ms Le Pen was lined up to speak at the Web Summit, and the decision was heavily criticised, it’s co-founder Paddy Cosgrave initially posted a blog post defending his decision.

He wrote:

Web Summit is a place where people should be prepared to have their opinions deeply challenged, and in turn to deeply challenge the opinions of others.”


“…these speakers are not invited to deliver an uncontested address, but are instead invited to have their views thoroughly challenged and scrutinised by a professional journalist.

Moreover they sit on a panel, surrounded by authoritative and alternative voices who will openly contest the extreme viewpoints of these speakers. This has always been the case, and will be the case with Marine Le Pen.”


On Wednesday, Mr Cosgrave rescinded the initiated to Ms Le Pen.

Previously: Le Plonker


Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave, rebranded logo on twitter and tweet from journalist Philip O’Connor

Paddy Cosgrave has withdrawn his invitation for French far right politician Marine Le Pen to speak at his Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in November.

In a series of tweets, he explained having Ms Le Pen at the event would be “disrespectful” to “our host country”.

Last night, he wrote a blog post defending his decision to invite her, saying

“…the easy decision for Web Summit is to shirk robust debate with those who hold extreme views of this nature. The easy decision for Web Summit is to rescind Marine Le Pen’s invitation.

“But for now we have chosen not to because we believe banning or attempting to ignore these views, which have been fanned in our view by technology, does little to furthering understanding.”

This afternoon, he tweeted the following…

Nice work, brah.

Earlier: A Limerick A Day


Paddy Cosgrave

This morning.

Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin 2

Paddy Cosgrave, of the Web Summit, held a press conference to outline his company’s plans to return to the RDS next year (with a conference on money)…and tackle white tee collar CORRUPTION in Ireland.

Mr Cosgrave said his decision to take a stand on corruption was based in part on having witnessed it “on a massive scale” for himself. He also said that becoming a parent made him want to ensure his child grew up in a meritocracy.

“I feel I’m freerer to say things and I am also in a position where I can pick up the phone to many of the CEOs of the biggest tech companies in the world – who have very large operations in Ireland – and chat openly with them about the fact that Ireland remains alone in terms of being in breach of anti-corruption legislation,” he said

Part of the plans unveiled by Web Summit in its battle against corruption involve funding for the training of investigative journalists…

Web Summit founder calls for action against corruption in Ireland (Irish Times)

Pic via Will Goodbody


Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave


We have literally no idea.

On this day last year, 1,317 attendees from 19 countries had booked their Web Summit tickets. A year later, and with 7 months to go until Lisbon, we’ve passed 27,000 attendees from 149 countries, all of whom as of today you can meet on our new attendee page.

Web Summit has hit one of those inflection points human gatherings sometimes hit.

When we started out Web Summit with 400 attendees five and half years ago, we never for one moment believed we would be where we are today.

For some, “Web Summit has become the most important and largest meeting place on our planet for those changing our planet most”, a sort of “Glastonbury for geeks” or “Davos for geeks”.

What started as a trickle of curious minds from outside of technology in 2014 has turned into a flood. That flood includes thousands upon thousands of leaders of innovative cities and established companies, policy makers and policy shapers, cultural creators and thought leaders.

Meet our first 27,000 Web Summit attendees coming to Lisbon. So what? (Paddy Cosgrave, Web Summit)


From top: Paddy Cosgrave; with Dr Gavin Jennings (centre) and unidentified ‘suit’

This morning.

Further to tensions between the Web Summit and the government summit founder Paddy Cosgrave appeared on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland earlier to explain why Lisbon will host next year’s event.

Features: lies, hush money and traffic restrictions.

Dr Gavin Jennings: ‘Welcome back to the RDS Simmonscourt where we often bring you election campaigns but this morning is full of Technology trade stands, the smell of coffee, al ot of very young people, very tight jeans and very strange beards. It’s the Web Summit where people who want to make it in the Tech Industry get to meet people who already have. Founders of big companies like Instagram, Pixar and Tinder are here, Henry Ford’s grandson is here, in the huge seated area with a big stage just outside our studio, and Facebook stand where you can try out their oculus VR, take yourself to another world we’re told. Speakers will include author Dan Browne and Tour de France winner Chris Froome. Paddy Cosgrave is the organiser of the event which started in 2010 with 400 people and this year expects over 40,000 visitors. Paddy, thank you very much for coming to our pop up studio.I just see in the welcoming note that you’ve sent to people who are coming here ‘It rains alot in Ireland but rarely heavily. We strongly advise you bring a strong compact umbrella just in case.’Your visitors must be stunned at what they’re seeing here today.”

Paddy Cosgrave: “Oh the weather is absolutely incredible. What a November day.”

Jennings: “You’re also warning about problems with public transport.”

Cosgrave: “Yeah, I think when you bring a huge amount of people from around the world to what is a small city that’s already under strain on a daily basis it’s only going to accentuate the problem so we advise people to walk to and from the venue.”

Jennings: “Why are you not coming back next year?”

Cosgrave: “I think the Web Summit just got too big for the city. I think that over the last two years the strain that the city itself has been under is pretty obvious – you pick it up on twitter and certainly from the feedback from attendees – we just needed to find a bigger home. And we found one.”

Jennings: “The problems that you experienced, that you highlighted, that you wanted worked on, are they any better this year?”

Cosgrave: “Em, I think time will tell. I’m optimistic that there is some traffic calming measures around the RDS. I think that will alleviate traffic both for residents and for people that have flown in to Dublin.”

Jennings: “For those who haven’t followed the story, you released on social media a lot of exchanges between yourself and the department of the Taoiseach. I’m not going to go through it all again now, but you highlighted things that you wanted done and that weren’t done or at least not to your satisfaction and that’s why you say you’re moving to Lisbon next year. Do you regret how that all panned out now?”

Cosgrave: “Well, I actually think it’s a very interesting situation. There are serious issues in this country like homelessness, we’ve a health crisis. I do think this is a very opportunistic tack by the government. Ultimately the Web Summit is not that important at the end of the day to ordinary people’s lives. The way it’s has played out, the way it has been spun out and the lies that have been told the government, I think, are just a useful and practical distraction from the day to day beating that they take from the Irish Media.

Jennings: ‘What sort of lies?’

Cosgrave: “So if you look actually at the context of the email. Over a great many years we were flagging that we were receiving, as they rightly point out, taxpayers money. They gave us over €750,000 and consistently, year after year, we said that we were ultimately embarrassed that we were given this money to pay for exhibition stands and that the state agencies responsible were doing so little to realise any return on investment. So if you look at the emails you’ll see that ministers from all over Europe have been and are coming to this event without ever being invited. They just know the event is on and they make it their business to be here.
What do they do when they come here? They look to meet with high level attendees, they hold bilateral meetings with them and they try to develop relationships. Why do they do that? Because they’re interested in helping the businesses in their countries ultimately.
What has happened over the last four years in the case of the Web Summit is that I have no recollection of an Irish Minister ever meeting with a high level delegate.
Last year the British sent a Minister here for two days. He didn’t look for photos beside Enterprise Ireland or the IDA stand. He said he spent two days doing non stop bilateral meetings. What did No. 10 Downing St. do? They opened the doors of their offices to delegations that flew out of Dublin into London to meet with high level civil servants and politicians. It was all about trade. That has been repeated again here this week. There are Ministers from countries large and small; they were never invited by us, they just show up. They’re here to help their countries. What we received over a four year period in my eyes amounts to nothing more than hush money. We were supposed to accept this and then lavish the government in praise, which we did publicly for four years. What we did behind the scenes was try and push them time and time and again and try to get them to realise that this was an opportunity for Irish Businesses and they did not take that opportunity. I’d be happy to read out further emails that I have not released that go back further than 2015, into 2014 and 2013.”

Jennings: ‘You sound very angry about the way this has all turned out. Is there any way back for the web summit to Dublin?’

Cosgrave:” I’m absolutely of the belief that Dublin is an absolutely fantastic venue for any conference. The fact that we do not have a conference industry makes it very difficult for conferences at scale or conferences of any type to operate in this city. Nevertheless, I think it’s a fantastic city and we’d always welcome any opportunity to come back in to Ireland.”

Jennings:: “I don’t want to go into all the details as a lot of them have been trawled over before but some people will have problems with, I mean you’re a big business man now, and you’re asking for fees to be waived for garda escorts and traffic management, did you really ask for garda escort for VIP millionaires?”

“No, first of all those escorts were provided and offered to us in the past. So if you look at that email, what happened, and I would call it a very clever move by civil servants, they asked us to give them a wishlist, absolutely everything we thought they could possibly do for us that was reasonable., that was the starting point, that was 2014. If you look at all of the correspondence in 2015 that relates to 2016 at no point, at no point did we ask for any money. Instead we offered the State €1,000,000 euro worth of exhibition space, costs that are paid by other governments all over the world from Mexico to Brazil to Israel. So just to ultimately stress, I believe that this is just a distraction from the real issues that really impact people on a day to day basis. It’s a piece that really is of no consequence come an election, and it’s helpful to distract people, from the government’s point of view. And the idea that a Minister needs a formal invitation to show up here…”

Jennings: ‘You issued an invitation to the Taoiseach on Friday night?’

Cosgrave: ‘Well, first of all he was invited in May and those discussions began in May and everyone is perfectly aware they came to nothing. On Friday every TD, Senator, Minister was issued with an invite.’

Cosgrave: ‘It’s clear from what you describe and from your emails and you said it to me there at the beginning that you felt you have outgrown Dublin, that Dublin wasn’t capable of putting on this event any more. Had you your mind already made up …. ‘

[talk over each other]

Cosgrave: ‘Let me read you an email from 2013 based on my experience dealing with the State Agency Enterprise Ireland, in this country. I can honestly say that I am uncomfortable working with any organisation, in particular one funded using taxpayer money, that seems to have achieved so little yet invested so much time, money and resources in Web Summit. Logos and photos might impress in annual reports but spin can not completely obscure the reality and that reality is in this case somewhat concerning.
That was 2013. Publicly, we always lavished the government in praise, privately we were constantly trying to work to get politicians to do what other governments around Europe were doing at Web Summit and that was quite simply focusing not on photo opportunities but focusing on opportunities to do business and today there are ministers from countries as large as France and as small as Kosovo outside doing the work that they have been elected to do.

Jennings: ‘Do you think that the other governments, like the Portuguese, might be nervous that you put correspondence with the Irish government so readily into Social Media that you might do the same to them if you don’t get what you want from them?’

Cosgrave: ‘So that correspondence was due to be released in any case, the following day, under Freedom of Information requests and FOI applies all across Europe, it’s no different in Ireland.

Jennings: “I’ll come back to what I asked you a little earlier on: Do you see a way back for the event coming to Dublin? It doesn’t sound like it.”

Cosgrave: “So we now have events in Hong Kong, in the United States in New Orleans, and in India all growing faster than the Web Summit, so what we do is build conferences that bring people together all over the world and we started in Dublin five years ago. We’ve got a lot better, we’re now launching conferences in other cities around Europe. I would see absolutely no reason why we would not launch conferences in Dublin. It’s a fantastic city.”

Jennings: “So you think you could come back here?”

‘Absolutely, why not?”

Jennings: ‘Paddy Cosgrave, organiser of the Web Summit, thank you very much for speaking with us this morning.’

Previously: How The Web Summit Was Lost