Can’t Buy Me Love


From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: Marketing and media spend for 2018

Leo Varadkar’s department ran up a bill of €1,347,720 in 2018 covering the communications cost of various campaigns.

…[the] sum is more than 18 times the €71,365 the department spent promoting Government campaigns in 2017.

The gulf in advertising spending is even greater when compared to the €10,628 spent in 2016, under Enda Kenny’s watch. In Leo’s first full year at the helm the department the cost has grown to more than 126 times that amount.

Spin spend: Department of Taoiseach spends over €1.3million on advertising and marketing last year – more than 126 times amount spent in 2016 (Craig Farrell, The Irish Sun)

Rollingnews and

79 thoughts on “Can’t Buy Me Love

  1. Dr.Fart MD

    honestly, why the eff is this guy in politics? he’d be way happier in marketing or PR. this side of things is the only part of the job he really gets in to. he doesn’t like any of the gritty stuff, dealing with homelessness and unsexy issues like that. he’s obsessed with image, he wants to hammer us with photoshoots etc., and his narcisism pipes up when he doesnt get a good reaction online, and he starts issuing threats of managing what people say online, wanting to get someone in to delete negative comments. these are not traits of a leader. they’re traits of an egotistical brat. seriously varadkar, give up politics, go get a job in a PR firm. you’ll be way happier, and it’ll stop public money being wasted on your little PR games, and we can maybe look to find a leader who is.. ya know .. interested in running the country, and running it well for everyone.

    1. Junkface

      Well said! Varadkar has to be the most vain politician we’ve had in a while. He values PR spin more than anything. Maybe its because he was not elected democratically, which he knows is a weakness, so he’s trying hard to make himself legit as a leader. Which he is not.

        1. Junkface

          There was no general election to make Varadkar Taoiseach, he got the job by default, thats what I meant you soggy love sock.

          1. rotide

            He was elected democratically to the dail.

            The party that your country voted into power democratically elected him as their leader.

            At no time ever in the history of the state has anyone voted for a person to become Taoiseach.

            There’s plenty of reasons to dislike Leo. Perhaps stick to them rather than looking like someone who skipped second year.

          2. Yep

            Rotide, can you explain this to Cian. He seems to think it’s “our” fault certain TDs take on certain ministerial roles. Thanks

          3. Junkface

            Good God Rotide! You’re a total nitpicker! Everyone knows what I meant. Yes the country voted in FG, but their leader resigned/retired and the choice of replacement leaders was left to the party. They picked Varadkar, the general public had no say in that particular part, but thats how democracy works in the western world, BUT it still stands that the electorate did not vote for this man, and I am not sure that they ever would have. People vote for leaders based on emotion as well as characteristics, not just for the party. Its a personal decision. Is that all clear now with your big boy pants on?

            Also, look at the mess in the Tory party in th UK, similar situations. There’s an air of invalid leadership about the whole thing. This is why Varadkar is so insecure and spending a lot on PR.

          4. Nigel

            You keep saying it as if it’s meaningful, rather than a tediously rhetorical attempt to delegitimise him. The general public don’t vote on who leads parties, members of the parties do. The leader of the party with the most votes becomes Taoiseach. He didn’t get the job ‘by default’ he ran for the party leadership and got elected. Any other FGer in the position would have been just as bad – but hey, the electorate in their wisdom decided they wanted FG to be in charge.

        2. Giggidygoo

          Not very democratic is the majority of his party didn’t want him as ‘leoder’. The grassroots are waiting in the long grass (that’s a good one, even though I say so myself) for the buckos that sold them out in the leadership fiasco. There’s a multitude of FG stalwarts that don’t like what they got as ‘leader’ and are quite angry at their own local TDs for not listening to them.

    2. Ron

      He considers himself to be a modern leader of our times. His Myers Briggs assessment told him so. He is the most inept leader the country has ever had. Devoid of leadership and why does anyone think he was evrr going to be. He couldn’t even stick medicine and has no previous experience doing anything that could be considered ‘leading effectively’. Aspiration of the charts… ability seriously lacking. He is out of his depth.

      The reality of Varadkar is that whilst he may be Irish, his traditions and upbringing were strongly influenced by his Indian heritage where Poverty and deprivation is the norm and we see this played out now in his policies and lack of action around anything. It’s Leo’s Indian caste system Irish style.

      He is not a bad guy. He probably thinks he his quite sound socially. Professionally he is unqualified, unfit and incapable of effectively doing the job of Taoiseach.

      Tick tock tick tock. The electorate are coming for him. The game is nearly up.

      1. Cian

        “He is the most inept leader the country has ever had.”
        If this is true we are truly goosed. We’ve had more than our fair share of inept leaders in the last few decades.

        1. Ron

          Yes he has nothing to be proud of considering the goons that came before him. History will record him as the worst Taoiseach of our time and it will take years to sort out the mess that he and his merry band of Muppets leave behind them.

          Wait until the wave of evictions due in 2019 start happening. The Yellow Vest movement in France is giving other people the courage to finally stand up for themselves.

          Wait until the riots on the street start. Tick tock tick tock

      2. Dr.Fart MD

        ive noticed recently, that leaders of indian origins are nearly always staunchly conservative with little to no empathy or compassion. notably, varadkar, bobby jindal (gov. Louisiana) who said he was going to ban importing guinness to Louisiana after ireland voted for gay marriage, one of many horrible things he’s said/done, then there’s yer one in westminster of indian background who said britain should impose food blocks to ireland if we didnt dance their dance re: brexit .. there’s plenty more examples too, but what is it about them that makes them so heartless? as a nation too, it’s also verrrrrry rapey.

      3. Andrew

        “He is the most inept leader the country has ever had. ”

        No he isn’t. I don’t like Varadkar and don’t think he has much ability but he’s a long way behind a few in the ineptitude stakes.

        De Valera was economically inept and corrupt.
        Haughey, enough said.
        Garret Fitzgerald

        For damage done to the country, it has to be Ahern closely followed by Cowen

        1. Junkface

          Ahern and Cowen were not inept. They were skilled, corrupt criminals. They knew exactly what they were doing : self enrichment and nepotism.

          1. Ron

            Exactly. Varadkar isn’t in it for the money. He has an ego that’s bigger then the spire sticking out from O Connell street. A rote learner who managed to rote learn his way into a medicine degree. Couldn’t hack the reality of actually working as a doctor and never worked consistently in the real world. He never developed the skills required to be a leader. Judgement and sound reasoning, Analysis and Decision making, Learning Agility, Problem solving.

            He most likely reads books like the 7 habits of highly effective people and rote learns them also. He thinks he knows all about leadership.

            He has never delivered anything of substance during his time on the gravy train and he is so detached from reality that he has cocooned himself in a Walter Mitty like lifestyle where in his head he is actually playing out the character from his favourite romcom. You can be sure he has rote learned the full script from many of the scenes from Love Actually.

            Again he is not a bad guy. Just incredibly inept. Now add to the mix the class of advisors and civil servants who advise him. The majority of them are those people who were never smart enough to excel in school and struggled as they were labelled as dunces and segmented into ‘D’ classes… It’s like a perfect storm… Imagine out of a population of over 4 million people this is the best this country has to offer?

            No amount of spin or terrys chocolate orange is going to get him out of the absolute train wreck he has caused in this country. The trick now is to literally cross our fingers hope the class clown doesn’t cause any more damage before he is finally sent out to pasteur in the lush green fields of Europe.

          1. david

            I have been banned and have been asked politely by Broadsheet to stop posting but I am a rude and ignorant bully.

  2. Cian

    Whoever produced that graphic should be fired. out. of. a. cannon.
    Numbers should be right-aligned. Numbers should all have the same formatting – all with cent; or none. not a mix of 2, 1 or none!!!

    Project Ireland: €736K
    Global Ireland: €492K
    Healthy Ireland: €290K
    Self Employment Benefits: €77K
    RWC bid: €31K
    Budget 2019: €30K
    Legislation 2018: €25K

    Perhaps if people weren’t so negative about everything the government does (or doesn’t do) – there would be less need for this? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1. Cian

        They should be shot.

        Right lads. That is the final straw. Who’s got pitchforks? Anyone got flaming torches? I’m off to storm Leinster House – who’s with me?

          1. Cian

            Where were ye all? ??
            You’re a bunch of feckers! I looked a proper dinklebert out there on my own. In my yellow jacket! And none of yiz followed me. [sob]

          2. scottser

            well, in fairness to millie unless the revolution happens in skerries it’s gonna take her over an hour to get there.

          3. millie st murderlark

            Excellent point. I need some notice to basically go anywhere at all.


      2. johnny

        -making dreams come through, why not use Irish resident artists,is it included ?

        “The Government’s campaign to secure a seat on the UN security council has cost the Exchequer €370,000.
        According to Department of Foreign Affairs figures released under freedom of information to the Sunday Times, it includes a €100,000 spend on a five-minute video featuring U2’s Bono, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.”

        (is it govt policy to celebrate and promote homosexuality ?)

    1. Eoin


      The source is a response to a parliamentary question from Brendan Howlin.

      I have never seen government expenditure expressed in this way, it’s always formatted to omit the decimal stuff and it has a “,” to better display 1,000s etc.

      It’s almost as if the government want to cloud the issue. Maybe they were just being precise though and the person compiling the numbers didn’t want to omit anything.

      1. Cian

        Looks like it went through Excel – it will change “33.00” to “33” and “12.30” to “12.3”;
        The website isn’t really set up to allow tables or nice formatting.

        1. anne

          yeah, that’s where one might put numbers, in excel.

          You can so this thing in excel called formatting. You right click, & it’s an option. Like you can tell excel how you want it your numbers to behave or display. You can tell excel your numbers are percentages, dates.. numbers can be formatted to have as many decimal places as you want.

          It’s usually covered in beginners excel.

          If you copy poopy-poopy plop-plops from excel it will display as poopy-poopy plop-plops elsewhere.

  3. Bruce_Wee

    Could someone could please point out the difference of “Marketing” and “Propaganda” when used by a Government body. This is horsey poopie-pies and the winning of hearts and minds by a government head of state to shape the narrative is, well, unnerving.

    Propaganda Definition:
    Propaganda is information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is presented.[1] Propaganda is often associated with material prepared by governments, but activist groups, companies, religious organizations and the media can also produce propaganda.

    1. Martco

      about 30 years
      (in a prior era this is exactly what it was called (and of course still is))

      as for our lucky fake Taoiseach

      the plan no doubt is to just keep battering the population with the PR for long enough in the hope that eventually people will somehow forget about how empty he is, buy into it all & like him. unfortunately for us & luckily for him ineffective opposition & brexit nonsense make it a pigsback all the way. no way he’s calling a GE anytime soon.

      the only saving grace is that the flaw in this “PR” strategy is there are good genuine operators in existence who constantly offer a very visual comparative of what a politician & leader is supposed to look like (e.g. Catherine Murphy) I just hope the likes of her stays in politics as the antidote to the propaganda.

    2. Cian

      [mass noun] Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.

      [mass noun] The action or business of promoting and selling products or services

      I’m sure most, if not all, companies have marketing that is biased (otherwise what’s the point). And some/many of them have misleading information. So the difference between marketing and propaganda is purely political. If it is a political message – it is propaganda. If it is non-political is it marketing.

      1. Bruce_Wee

        Nicely put Cian. Thats the point guess. The title on the piece is Marketing and media spend for 2018..realistically it should be renamed “Propaganda and media spend for 2018″…A lot of valid points in here regarding the Vanity and insecurity of Leo given he wasn’t elected. When used in this manner by a government, its propaganda, plain and simple….and we pay for it….that’s even more worrying. We are paying to make him look better.

  4. Dub Spot

    Opening of Google Offices and Rugby World Cup Bid. Give me a break. This is shameful PR stuff even Terry Prone wouldn’t endorse. Millennial hell.

      1. Giggidygoo

        Nothing like the old State agency quoting ‘projected’ figures, or ‘Estimates’. As much use as the CSO.

        1. Cian

          No. This is NTMA quoting the amount that they actually paid in interest in 2017. I trust they know how much the interest was.
          Granted the 12% is calculated from Revenue figures, but again they tend to know how much tax has been paid.

          I’d trust their figures over a random bloke on YouTube that says it 50%!

  5. rotide

    RWC bid was worth every penny.

    The rest, ,meh whatever.

    I love how people get so upset here about sums they can get their heads around (in the millions) and completely ignore larger economies of scale that they can’t (the billions)

  6. Eoin

    Leo just can’t help himself. An hour before the finance minister unveils the Exchequer statement for December 2018 (and the full year 2018), Leo is stealing his thunder by crowing about the balanced budget in 2018, which is down to (likely) one-off corporate tax receipts. The last time there was a balanced budget was in 2008.

    What were the trolley numbers like in 2008? How many were waiting for an appointment with a consultant in 2008? How many were waiting years for scoliosis surgery in 2008? How many kids were languishing in B&Bs in 2008? How many more Gardai did we have (around 1,000)?

    He really is an insecure weakling dependent on the crucial support of a convicted criminal who is getting God-knows-what as a reward (jobs for lovely girls or new hospitals or motorways in Nenagh maybe).

    1. Cian

      Are you actually comparing 2018 (after 10 years of austerity) with 2008 (after 10+ years of unprecedented growth)

      Lets look at hospital trollies:
      Okay, this day 10 years ago there were (Emergency Departments only from 2008):
      Eastern 130
      Country 170
      Total 300

      Today (Emergency Departments only):
      Eastern 81
      Country 174
      Total 255

      wait what? there are fewer people on trollies today than 10 years ago. I’m stunned.

        1. Andrew

          well Ron you need to provide more than just what you ‘feel’ is the case and at least back up what you write with facts. Otherwise it’s just a rant and copying and pasting from elsewhere doesn’t help either. Don’t be lazy Ron

  7. LuvinLunch

    The Healthy Ireland stat is truly depressing. €290K on telling people to eat carrots.

    Health promotion is supposed to address inequality and poverty by narrowing the gap between rich and poor. Imagine the people raising their kids in hotels listening to Leo’s gang telling them to go for a run. Like that’s what’s causing their depression.

  8. Joe

    safe to assume Leo has friends in marketing and advertising that were I. dire need if handy ovet paid for work.

  9. anne

    Who got all this money anyway? Prune face & sunny what got fired off the radio, we’ll sue you for every penny you’re worth whatshisname? wanton?

    And do they do refunds?

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