And He Would Have Gotten Away With It Too…


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Times Ireland edition journalist Ellen Coyne and a tweet by Ms Coyne last night

This afternoon.

On RTE Radio One’s The Gathering

Ellen Coyne, of The Times Ireland edition, took presenter Sean O’Rourke through the events of the week concerning her reporting of Leo Varadkar’s Strategic Communications Unit…

And how, using taxpayers’  money, paid for Government advertorials in regional newspapers and used an agency which specifically requested that the material didn’t appear as advertorial.

“The Ireland edition of The Times reported on Monday that with Ireland 2040 and with a similar advertising campaign for Creative Ireland, regional newspapers were instructed by an agency, commissioned by the Government to make publicly funded advertisements, promoting the Government, look like organic, independent news stories.

“So we reported that story on Monday, the initial reaction from Leo Varadkar was to claim that my story and similar reporting by Justine McCarthy in The Sunday Times was inaccurate.

That led to a very heated exchange in the Dail during Leaders’ Questions on Tuesday and up to the unbelievable moment on Wednesday when Leo Varadkar went into the Dail and said on the public record that, actually, my story had been filled with anonymous sources who were secretly Fianna Fail candidates which is completely untrue.

“We kept reporting this story, I think the public got angrier, the Opposition were furious.

“And then that lead up to, yesterday, Independent Government ministers pulling Leo Varadkar to explain they were extremely unhappy with this – leading to, basically, an announcement last night that, from now on, the Strategic Communications Unit is going to be issued with clear guidelines, that means that if the Government is paying for ads that appear in your local paper or national paper, it’s going to be very, very clearly marked when it is an advertorial.”

“…The Taoiseach has been blue in the face all week saying that the Irish public deserves to know what the Government is doing with its money. That’s all the Ireland edition of The Times has been doing this week – making it clear to the public what this €1.5million advertising campaign is being used for…”

Listen back in full here

Previously: “Part Of Our Deal Is That We Don’t Have Any Moniker Such As ‘Advertorial”

Earlier: Frilly Keane: Bought And Sold


Good times.

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21 thoughts on “And He Would Have Gotten Away With It Too…

  1. Ina

    Welcome to capitalism. Free speech for those who can afford it. It’s always been the way. Move on, next story….

    1. realPolithicks

      If its as simple as that, why did the government feel the need to hide what they were doing?

      1. Ina

        To fake impartiality. In the same way Dinny doesn’t write his name under Sindo columns, but you know that nothing that does not please him will be written about. That papers very silent on Moriarty.

        1. realPolithicks

          To be honest I’m not sure which is worse, that the government would engage in this kind of behavior or that the newspapers would allow them to get away with it.

          1. david

            They get paid to print this poo
            I just wonder how much
            Maybe ask Leo the cheque is in the post this

  2. steve white

    Aren’t the new guidelines the Taoiseach suggested such as clear ad labels and telling interviewees things that were and are in the control of the newspapers not the department of the Taoiseach.

    1. david

      I wonder will they get product placement like when the label turned around to show the camera they drink ballygowanbackwards and the humble pie they are forced to eat after they are found out is bird bia approved
      From the companies that manufacture it

  3. Matt Lucozade: The Only Reader of the Village

    This 2040 propaganda is at the beginning of every movie in cinemas now too. It was the funniest part of Lady Bird to be honest.

  4. david

    Amazing how marc miscarry was accused in the dail of antisemetic behaviours because he agreed that the new SCU unit costing 1.5 mill is like goebells Nazi propaganda unit
    Seems to be Joseph goebells then was Jewish if that is a fact
    Well said marc
    Maybe the fine Gael party needs a trip to Auschwitz to realise the offensiveness of Nazi’s and realising what antisemetism is all about

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