Lisbon takes centre stage at Web summit

Portuguese deputy prime minister says move ‘will help the Web Summit grow more internationally’

Day three of the Summit started on a Portugese theme with a sizeable Portuguese delegation taking the stage ahead of the move to Lisbon in 2016.

The delegation included deputy prime minister Paulo Portas, who talked up Lisbon as an up-and-coming start-up and innovation centre.

“Lisbon has been described as the next Silicon Valley,” said Portas with more than a hint of pride. He promised great infrastructure and facilities, great nightlife and even sunshine in November, which drew whoops from the audience. It is grey and drizzly in Dublin.

He also acknowledged the role of Dublin in helping the Web Summit grow, but suggested "Lisbon will help the Web Summit grow more internationally."

The high-profile appearance suggests the Web Summit team is on rather better terms with government departments in Lisbon than in Dublin.

Yesterday the Minister for jobs and innovation Richard Bruton said it was disappointing that the Summit had chosen to move to Lisbon but maintained that State agencies had consistently worked with the organisation over the years. He also said and that the Government would cooperate with the organisers in the future.

"It is obviously disappointing that a decision has been made to move on, but Ireland and Dublin remain a very vibrant entrepreneurship space and that won't change. We will continue to build on that and I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities to showcase those strengths that we have here."

Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave is due to appear on RTE's Late Late Show on Friday, where the rancour over the decision to move to Portugal is certain to be a dominant theme.