Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
In the Irish Examiner.
In an article about Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Strategic Communications Unit…
Juno McEnroe reports:
Emails released under freedom of information show how the SCU is stretching its reach right into the nerve centre of departments and government decision making, at very senior levels.
The unit, led by marketing guru John Concannon, was even asked to participate in the controversial public services card project with the ID system under fire and receiving “an amount of public attention”.
…Emails between Mr Concannon, the SCU, and senior department officials, reveal fresh concerns, including:
The SCU drafting a parliamentary answer for then tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, instead of her staff, which was about justifying the existence of the unit itself. The same wording was used, after the SCU told a senior department senior official “grateful if you could use this version”;
Mr Concannon and the SCU oversaw plans for a health event launch in Mr Varadkar’s constituency relating to the new children’s paediatric outpatient and care unit at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown;
The Department of Public Expenditure told the unit that the controversial public services card was attracting “an amount of public attention” and sought the unit’s help for a PR campaign.
The SCU repeatedly tried to get ministers and their secretaries general to attend meetings, it trained senior civil servants, and was also asked to help the “anxious” short-staffed rural affairs department.
Previously: Strategic Communications Unit on Broadsheet