Web Summit told Dublin still a great city for start-ups

Venture capitalists rue loss of annual gathering but remain bullish on city’s potential

Eva Panicker and her father Roopesh speaking on the eve of summit event the Future of Ireland, at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Eva Panicker and her father Roopesh speaking on the eve of summit event the Future of Ireland, at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Dublin will remain a great city for start-up businesses with or without the Web Summit, the opening session of the event, which is to move to Lisbon next year, was told by the city’s first commissioner for such firms, Niamh Bushnell.

Ms Bushnell, who said she would prefer if the summit stayed in the city where it started, was one of a number of participants in a community event at the RDS Simmonscourt.

Venture capitalist Noel Ruane told the free “Future of Ireland” event he wished the Web Summit founders the best of luck in Lisbon, or anywhere else they put on such amazing events.

He said the start-up scene in Ireland had changed greatly and cited the work of Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund, which he said had led to a substantial amount of venture capital finance becoming available to start-up businesses in Ireland.

Another venture capitalist, Brian Caulfield, said while the Web Summit made an enormous contribution to Dublin’s start-up sector, the loss of the summit should be kept in perspective and there were a lot of great Dublin companies that would continue to prosper.

Political reform

Barrister Patrick Monaghan spoke about his campaign to have the law changed so everyone would have equal access to schools, irrespective of their religion. Paul Rowe of the Educate Together movement said the role of publicly funded religious schools in the Irish education system was unacceptable.

Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty International in Ireland said the marriage equality referendum was an exercise in “passionate democracy” which had made him feel, as a gay man, perhaps for the first time in his life, that he was an equal citizen. He said the referendum brought out the best in the Irish people.

Libel