Thursday 16 August 2018

Revealed: The annual cost of Leo Varadkar's constroversial strategic communications unit

John Concannon
John Concannon
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar’s controversial Strategic Communications Unit will cost the taxpayer a massive €5m, Independent.ie can reveal.

Mr Varadkar has previously said the first-of-its-kind public relations units in the Taoiseach’s Office would save the taxpayer money.

He has also said the establishment of the unit would be cost neutral.

The Opposition have branded it a "spin" unit and continually called on the Taoiseach to reveal the division's full cost but he has refused to give the details.

However, the Government’s expenditure report for 2018 shows €5m has been budgeted for the unit next year.

The document says the publicity division aims to “streamline communications for citizens” and “deliver major cross-Government communications campaigns”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arriving at Government buildings on Budget Day 2017 Picture: Caroline Quinn
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arriving at Government buildings on Budget Day 2017 Picture: Caroline Quinn

It also says the unit will “improve communications capacity across Government”.

Former Creative Ireland director John Concannon is heading up the division along with five other civil servants who have been seconded to the new division in the Taoiseach’s Office. 

In response to parliamentary questions by Fianna Fáil Mr Varadkar previously said: "In fact, it is likely to give rise to a significant increase in value for money and a reduction in overall expenditure, over time."

Spending budgeted for the Department of the Taoiseach next year decreased slightly and stands at €35.8m

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