Dublin Web Summit

Web summit organiser unsure of his own god-like nature

What’s the difference between Ross O’Carroll-Kelly and Paddy Cosgrave?

Isn’t it obvious?

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly went to UCD while Paddy Cosgrave attended Trinity. Ross followed the rugby route to success but Paddy took the road less travelled at the time, a hard road where you have to answer every question with “So”.

Ross is a gobshite. Paddy is the founder of a tech startup.

Everyone following the narrative so far?  Good.

There’s absolutely no similarity between Paddy Cosgrave and Ross O’Carroll-Kelly.

On the one hand, Ross thinks that the world is there to provide him with whatever he wants in life, but on the other hand, Paddy Cosgrave believes that he has the right to speak to a prime minister and have the government push down hotel prices, control traffic in our capital city and force a private company to provide broadband services so that he can hold a conference.

Oh, wait. Shit.  All of a sudden here’s a fictional rugby-jock gobshite looking a lot like the uber-geek entrepreneur trying to persuade our government that it should turn our capital city inside out in order to suit his conference.

Damn!  What do these two lads have in common?

Easy. A sense of entitlement.

But at least Ross has a sense of his own absurdity. while, judging by his radio interviews today, it’s not clear that Paddy understands he isn’t God.  For that matter, it isn’t even clear if Paddy knows he’s not Garth Brooks, based on the self-pitying interviews he’s been giving since the start of this farce.

What precisely did he expect the government to do about hotel prices? And if he thought the government could somehow control that, why did he not think they might put a limit on the absurd charges he imposed to attend the Web Summit? Is it one law for Paddy and another for everyone else?

What exactly did he think the government should do about broadband in the RDS? Was that not a commercial matter between him and the people renting the space to him?

It’s worth reminding ourselves of some of the things Paddy wanted from State agencies.

  • Free use of the Mansion House, Wood Quay and Herbert Park, where he planned to erect marquees, though he did promise to reinstate the ground after insofar as we reasonably can.
  • A €100 contribution from the city council for each attendee from abroad.
  • A free Garda escort for those he considers to be VIPs.
  • Free Leap travel cards for all staff and attendees.
  • Free shuttle buses to and from the RDS and circulating to hotels around Dublin.
  • Free closure of three city-centre streets so that he can hold a party.
  • Free advertising for his event.
  • A large space to be set aside in the airport for registration of his attendees who incidentally, are paying anything between €600 and €5,000 for the privilege of gong to his trade show.

Some of the demands are plainly delusional or impossible.

  • Temporary Dublin-bike stations.
  • Controls on hotel prices.
  • Better WiFi in the RDS, which has nothing at all to do with the government.


He didn’t want much, really.

Paddy Cosgrave: this year’s Garth Brooks.


This is the document released by the Web Summit organisers. The last few pages list Paddy’s demands, or “asks” as he prefers to call them.  Well worth a read.

Download (PDF, 287KB)



For an alternative view, here’s Professor Lucey who is, of course, quite wrong.





14 thoughts on “Dublin Web Summit

  1. Amazing how many of our heroic entrepreneurial capitalist heroes are actually totally dependent on government handouts

  2. From reading about his “asks” I would hazard a guess that Dublin city council are glad to see the back of him.

  3. Well, I suspect that these were what is known as “opening demands” in a negotiation. Sure, some are bonkers. But for me the key point is that the powers that be couldnt even organize a feckin traffic plan.

  4. It’s a mistake to think that any politician is going to go out of their way to help an initiative if there isn’t some kudos reflected back in return.

    Best to formulate a DIY plan, hopefully successful, and then have the establishment knocking on the door. Stay in control. Paddy might learn this over time.

    As an example here’s a better approach: http://bit.ly/1NNpICV

  5. Re: Traffic Management – It is standard practice that the event draws up the traffic management plans, submits them to the council for approval and foots the bill.

    Paddy’s team failed to draw up the plans, they expected the council to do that for them. And of course to pay for their implementation too.

    Negotiation Skills 101 if you start far away from a commonly agreeable middle ground, you just alienate the other side and erode your own credibility. Paddy bears most of the blame here in my opinion. He just would not pay for the planning and infrastructure required to support this event. Sure Lisbon will pay and promise the world. It won’t be without many many problems in my opinion and unfortunately Paddy et all are busy burning as many bridges as is possible as they leave.

  6. @Bock, as far as I can see none, but that wasn’t my point. Paddy should have better positioned it such that there could be political benefit for state agencies. In that environment he might have elicited a more collaborative relationship where they could advise him on his responsibilities, and at the same time offer more support in return.

    When the starting point is ‘obligations’ you know it’s off on the wrong foot.

    (i could prob phrase that better, but a few pints and musing on the rugby in my head!)

  7. Are we all grown boys and girls? Can we stand on our own feet? Blimey, but more than a year ago the Taoiseach and his Deputy seemed ready to jet out to the USA if there had been a chance that the projected series of Garth Brooks concerts might have been saved for Croke Park. What is it that makes concerts to be given by an ageing country singing star much more worthy of government and city council time than a big international Web Summit for the RDS? Are leaders and institutions looking over their shoulders at the level of media attention to issues and then basing their time priorities on all this? Governance needs to be based on sound national interests, not on the continuous chatter and buzz on the broadcast and social media.

  8. Let me repeat the question. What specific obligations to the Web Summit did State agencies fail to deliver on?

    Can you list them for the sake of clarity please?

  9. Is your repeat of the question directed at me? If so, then just to restate I don’t think any agency failed to deliver. My point is that the relationship was off the rails. Nothing more, nothing less. If that aspect was in good shape then we wouldn’t be seeing the acrimony that developed.

    What’s with the ‘three hours’ thing?

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