Jan 262013

Tourism Ireland’s new website was designed by Hugo and Cata creative agency for a digital world.

At first glance it appears that the cat did most of the work, and a very well paid cat he is indeed, while Hugo did most of the talking.  But what a talker Hugo is,  persuading the Tourism Ireland management that a website should cost €2.5 million to design and build.

How appropriate for this pantomime.

Hugo and Cat

Let’s say the cat is on a hundred grand a year, which is good money by any standards in a time of austerity, especially when all you need to survive is the odd fish-bone.  This means that the moggy needed to spend 25 years working on the project, which, you’ll agree, uses up quite a few of his lives.

Two and a half million buckaroonies for a website isn’t chickenfeed. but hold on.  A man like Hugo would have no ordinary cat.  Any feline in his world would be the very cream of cat programmers, so let’s say he’s on a grand a day, because he’s worth it.   That means he spent 2,500 days developing this website.  Giving him weekends off to prowl the rooftops flashing the dosh at the lady cats — Loadsamoney!! — he still spent a full ten years on the job.  That must be a hell of a website, wouldn’t you think?

Well, yes, you would think so, but you’d be wrong.  This is the most confused, ill-functioning website you might ever have seen.  It starts nowhere and it goes nowhere.  It looks like somebody stole it and crashed it into a wall.   My dog has had better dinners.

If there’s a wrong way to do it, a right way to screw it up, nobody does it like us, and so, in their wisdom, the authorities awarded the contract to a London-based firm, rather than a local developer, even though their tender was not the lowest.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a firm simply because it’s based in London, but since there’s no shortage of developers in Ireland, it seems surprising that Tourism Ireland couldn’t find a single one that came within a whisker of Hugo and his feline friend.  Nobody was up to scratch.


Of course, the formidable managerial intellects at Tourism Ireland weren’t satisfied with spending the two and a half million on Hugo’s cat.  They also decided that they should buy the domain name ireland.com from the Irish Times for half a million euros.

For some reason, they felt it was better to have an American domain representing Ireland than our own .ie extension.


I don’t know.  This doesn’t seem like a decision based on professional advice, but of course, as usual, I might be wrong.  I’d be very interested to hear what professional advice they had when they drew up the request for proposals.  Were any web professionals involved in preparing the tender documents?  What factors persuaded Tourism Ireland to award the contract to a company whose tender was not the lowest?  What personnel prepared the detailed specification ?  Did any external consultants assist in completion of the specification?  Did any external consultants assist in evaluation of the completed design to ensure compliance with the brief?  If so, who did these consultants work for?

So many questions.

One question has finally been answered, of course.

We now know that a cat can most certainly laugh.

laughing cat

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