Saturday 19 August 2017

Varadkar hires well-known centenary chief to head up new communications unit

John Concannon
John Concannon
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The business and marketing guru behind the Wild Atlantic Way, The Gathering, Ireland 2016 and Creative Ireland is being hired by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

John Concannon will head up the Government's new strategic communication unit.

The new office will be tasked with improving the Government's communication strategy across all departments, as well as beefing up its mechanisms for communicating with the public.

Mr Concannon is a widely respected businessman who was tasked with leading the Government's strategy on the Easter Rising commemorations, Ireland 2016, as well as 'Creative Ireland'. This initiative aims to give more access to young people in the areas of music, drama, art and coding.

Previously, he was Director of Market Development for Failte Ireland, where he drove the 'Discover Ireland' Programme, The Gathering and the Wild Atlantic Way.

Mr Varadkar says the new unit will complement, not replace, the existing arrangements in departments and agencies for dealing with press, media and communications.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with John Concannon, director of Creative Ireland, at the launch in Washington of the Ireland.ie web portal. Photo: Gerry Money
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with John Concannon, director of Creative Ireland, at the launch in Washington of the Ireland.ie web portal. Photo: Gerry Money

"The precise mandate and other arrangements for the operation of the new unit will be worked out over the coming weeks," he told the Dáil.

The appointment is one of several made by Mr Varadkar in recent days as he moves to beef up his inner circle. He also appointed John Carroll to a key advisory post. Mr Carroll, a PR executive, played a leading role in Mr Varadkar's leadership campaign and previously worked as a policy adviser.

Irish Independent

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