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Terry Prone: The Perfect Storm – Paddy Cosgrave’s Free Speech in the Spotlight


Paddy Cosgrave, the founder of the Web Summit, recently sparked controversy with his comments on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) regarding the conflict in Gaza. As the rain poured down outside, I found myself preoccupied with preparing my home for the impending storm. The Martello Tower I live in presents a unique challenge when it comes to preparing for heavy rain. With walls that are nine feet thick, water finds its way in through various cracks and holes. Previous owners had made matters worse by creating additional openings in the walls, causing even more water to seep in.

To combat the leaks, buckets, saucepans, towels, hairdryers, bleach, filled kettles, thermoses, and logs for the stove must be at the ready. Boiling water and pouring it into thermoses ensures that a hot cup of coffee can still be enjoyed during a power outage. It’s a meticulous process, planning room by room, but even then, it’s easy to forget certain details from previous storms. As the storm raged on, I ventured into the aptly-named wet room upstairs for less than a minute, only to emerge completely soaked by the wind-driven window leaks. Everything in the room was drenched, including a roll of toilet paper that had swelled to an obscene size. I brought it downstairs and placed it in the oven of the log-fired stove.

After drying off and tending to the aftermath of the rain, I turned my attention to Paddy Cosgrave. I had encountered him once before on a private jet, although the details of the trip escape me. I had been told that I would be meeting a brilliant mind, but Cosgrave’s incessant talking prevented any meaningful conversation. I decided then and there that I had no interest in having him as a client. While most of my clients possess the ability to balance certainty with doubt, Cosgrave exuded an unwavering confidence that left no room for questioning.

As I dealt with the aftermath of the storm, news of Cosgrave’s troubles began to spread. His comments had angered Israel, who felt accused of war crimes without any mention of the initial Hamas atrocity. The backlash went beyond official responses, with individuals scheduled to appear at the next Web Summit withdrawing their participation. Even actors, known for their ability to gauge public opinion, made statements about their values not aligning with Cosgrave’s.

Amidst the online controversy, I discovered that the rain had infiltrated my front room, damaging early Christmas purchases, including signed books that were now irrecoverable. The office had to be cleared out and everything piled up around the stove to dry.

Deirdre O Meara
Deirdre O Mearahttp://toprated.ie
Deirdre brings to the table more than a decade and a half of rich journalistic experience, holding the dual role of a news reporter and the Deputy Editor at TopRated.ie. Her journalistic journey, spanning across some of the most respected news outlets in the UK and Ireland, has equipped her with a multifaceted perspective on reporting. Deirdre's expertise isn't confined to news alone; she indulges her passion for writing through her well-received columns on topics as varied as business, wedding features, entertainment, and product critiques.


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