Paddy Cosgrave

Patrick Cosgrave is an Irish entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of Web Summit, an annual technology conference. In 2015 he was listed 18th in the Wired UK list of the most influential people in Europe in the field of technology.

Paddy Cosgrave
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Cosgrave at Web Summit 2015
Patrick Cosgrave

1982/1983 (age 37–38)
Known forCo-founder of Web Summit

Early life and educationEdit

Cosgrave grew up on a farm in County Wicklow.[1] He was educated at Glenstal Abbey School and Trinity College Dublin, where he studied Business, Economics and Social Studies (BESS).[2][3] While at Trinity he was president of the University Philosophical Society (The Phil) and editor of Piranha, a satirical college magazine.[4] During his presidency of The Phil, the society introduced Phil Speaks, an outreach initiative aimed at promoting debating and public speaking in Irish secondary schools.[5] Cosgrave graduated with a II-1 BA from Trinity College, Dublin's BESS program in 2006.[6][7]


Cosgrave was the executive director of Rock the Vote Ireland, a campaign launched in April 2007 to encourage young people to vote in the May 2007 Irish general election.[8] He was a co-founder of MiCandidate, a website that "provided detailed information on every candidate running in the 2007 general election".[4] The company was sold for "an undisclosed sum" in October 2009.[9] Cosgrave is a co-founder of the Web Summit and F.ounders conferences.[3][10]

Cosgrave was awarded the 2015 Irish Exporters Association annual gold medal.[11] He was listed 18th in the 2015 Wired UK list of the "100 most influential individuals in the wider Wired world".[12]


Cosgrave criticised the Irish tax system, which was rejected as hypocrisy as Amaranthine, an investment fund set up by Cosgrave with other Web Summit founders, is based in California but registered in Delaware - an effective tax shelter.[13][14]

In March 2012, Cosgrave was appointed to the board of the Higher Education Authority.[15] While still a member of the board in 2014, Cosgrave said that his company would recruit graduates with first class honours degrees from most universities, but with II.1 degrees from Trinity College Dublin, the grade which Cosgrave had achieved.[7] The Higher Education Authority distanced itself from Cosgrave's comments. Cosgrave subsequently resigned from the board in 2015.[16]

On 30 March 2020, Cosgrave posted a tribute on Twitter to the "4 nurses in Ireland who fought so hard for so many patients, but who themselves fell ill, and have now passed. RIP." The following day, the Health Service Executive tweeted that "Contrary to tweets sent yesterday - thankfully none of our nurses have died in Ireland from #COVID19." Phil Ni Sheaghdha, general secretary of the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO), accused Cosgrave of "scaremongering".[17] On 8 June, Cosgrave "unreservedly" apologised on Twitter to the HSE and the INMO. [18]

In 2020, Dr Maitiú O Tuathail took legal proceedings against Cosgrave regarding comments Cosgrave made on his Twitter profile. The case was settled outside of court.[19]

Also in 2020, Cosgrave was criticised for using what some may infer as sectarian and pejorative language in calling Neale Richmond a "Castle Catholic".[20][21]

The Web Summit has also been the subject of several controversies under Cosgrave's stewardship, including its move from Dublin to Lisbon,[22] the organisation of a dinner at Portugal's National Pantheon,[23] and the invitation of Marine Le Pen as a speaker, which was subsequently withdrawn.[24][25][26][27]


  1. ^ Connolly, Philip (4 November 2014). "Profile: Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave". The Daily Business Post. Dublin. Retrieved 28 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Duggan, Barry (20 September 2015). "Top school enrols boys who won't start classes until 2027". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 28 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Medeiros, Joao (5 January 2015). "Scaling Dublin's Summit". Wired UK. Retrieved 28 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Crowley, Aoife (2013). "Spinning a web summit". Trinity Today. pp. 15–16. Retrieved 28 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Keenan, Lisa; O'Hare, Aidan (2010). "Universities, Societies & Clubs. Culture, Extracurricular Activities & Career Progression: Trinity College Dublin, Four Case Studies" (PDF). Trinity Long Room Hub. p. 19. Retrieved 29 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Paddy Cosgrave". World Economic Forum. Archived from the original on 25 January 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b Humphreys, Joe (8 May 2014). "Is a Trinity degree worth more? Tech entrepreneur hits a nerve". Irish Times. Retrieved 24 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Kane, Conor (21 March 2007). "Celebrities call on young people to rock the vote". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 29 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Kennedy, John (7 October 2009). "Political media start-up MiCandidate acquired in MBO". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 29 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Temperton, James (23 September 2015). "Web Summit 2016 will ditch Dublin for Lisbon". Wired UK. Retrieved 29 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Exporters Association presents Gold Medal to Paddy Cosgrave, Web Summit at IEA President's Lunch at The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin". Irish Exporters Association. 12 June 2015. Archived from the original on 6 April 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "The 2015 WIRED 100". Wired UK. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015. The only rules for nomination to the WIRED 100 are that the individuals must have a strong European connection, if not a base here; and they are being judged on their influence today, rather than historic achievements or funding raised. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Power, Jack (18 April 2019). "Paddy Cosgrave 'no saint' over US fund tax arrangements". Irish Times. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  14. ^ Horgan-Jones, Jack (15 April 2020). "Facebook ad about Ireland's corporate tax system targeting European users". Irish Times. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Head of Development appointed to HEA Board". IT Sligo. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Higher Education Authority Report of the 372nd Meeting" (PDF). Higher Education Authority. 25 May 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  17. ^ Coyne, Ellen (2 April 2020). "Web Summit founder urged to apologise over rubbished 'four nurses dead' tweet". Irish Independent. Dublin. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  18. ^ Gataveckaite, Gabija (8 June 2020). "Paddy Cosgrave apologises to INMO and HSE after tweeting four nurses died from Covid-19". Irish Independent. Dublin. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  19. ^ Phelan, Shane. "Leak controversy doctor settles libel action against Web Summit chief". Irish Independent.
  20. ^ "Paddy Cosgrave profile: the contradictions of a 'crony' crusader entrepreneur". independent. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  21. ^ Moloney, Marita. "What does the term 'Castle Catholic' mean?". Newstalk. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  22. ^ Killian, Woods (21 September 2016). "Web Summit is getting comfy in Portugal as it opens a Lisbon office". Fora.
  23. ^ Halpin, Hayley (14 November 2017). "Web Summit organiser apologises over 'offensive' dinner at Portugal's National Pantheon". Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  24. ^ McDermott, Stephen (15 August 2018). "Web Summit founder withdraws invite for far-right leader Marine Le Pen to 2018 event". Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  25. ^ McSorley, Christina (16 August 2018). "Marine Le Pen's presence deemed 'disrespectful' at Web Summit". BBC News. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  26. ^ O'Donovan, Donal (16 August 2018). "Web Summit chief in U-turn as invitation to far-right leader Le Pen is withdrawn". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  27. ^ Murphy, Greg (15 August 2018). "Latest: Web Summit withdraw Le Pen invitation saying it is 'disrespectful' to Portugal and attendees". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 19 January 2021.

External linksEdit