Seamless Transition


Clockwise from top left: Niall O’Connor, Chris Donoghue, Paul Melia and Catherine O’Halloran




Via The Sunday Business Post

More than half a dozen journalists have been hired as special advisers by Fine Gael ministers since Leo Varadkar became Taoiseach just over 18 months ago.

The latest recruit was announced last week, with Irish Independent environment editor Paul Melia leaving his role to become policy adviser to Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

….Tánaiste Simon Coveney hired former Newstalk presenter and political correspondent Chris Donoghue as his media adviser in November 2017.

Defence minister Paul Kehoe hired Niall O’Connor, an ex-Independent News and Media political correspondent, as his media adviser at the start of last year, while Minister for Health Simon Harris recruited the former Irish Times political reporter Sarah Bardon as his media adviser last summer.

Three other journalists were recruited from the media world over the last year: former RTÉ broadcaster Caroline Murphy, who is media adviser to Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan; former Newstalk news editor John Kehoe, who advises Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan; and former Press Association reporter Ed Carty, who is media adviser to Minister for Education Joe McHugh.

In addition to Fine Gael, Independent Alliance ministers recruited former Daily Star political correspondent Catherine Halloran as deputy government press secretary in 2016, while Minister for Transport Shane Ross hired former Sunday Independent writer Carol Hunt as his media adviser.

Exodus of journalists to political roles raises concerns of brain drain from media industry (Sunday Business Post – behind paywall)

31 thoughts on “Seamless Transition

  1. Panty Christ

    Presume these were open and transparent appointments made through a fair recruitment competition?

    1. Brian Flynn

      Why would you assume that?

      An appointment as an advisor is not a public tender.

      What a bizarre statement to make

    1. Ian-O

      I wonder how many journalism graduates go on to write articles like: ”You won’t believe how UGLY this former child star grew up to be’ (a variant of the sort of taboola-esque nonsense you see at the end of a lot of pages these days.)

        1. Ian-O

          Sorry, I didn’t click into that article so have no idea who the adult minger is.

          After the ‘you won’t believe what was under her wedding dress’* let down, I just cannot trust those click bait articles anymore…..

          (It was a second, ‘dancing’ wedding dress…. )

  2. Ian-O

    Not entirely sure what advice Chris Donoghue could give any one on the media seeing as his own performances were what one might call ‘painful’ at best.

    He was a great straight man for Ivan Yates but beyond that, was a charisma free zone. He seems smart enough, but media adviser? Might explain why Coveney looks and sounds like a mannequin with an embedded speaker.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      They love him over in the UK. Whenever he’s on Radio 4 you’d swear they were talking about someone else on Twitter, so impressed are they. They’re all ‘wish we had clued-in, smart politicians like this guy’ etc etc. Shows how brutal things are over there. I mean he’s ok but he’s no Danny Healy-Rae.

    2. Pat Harding

      Public speaking was never Coveney’s forte.

      As for Journo’s becoming political advisers….. meh!

    1. Ian-O

      I had written out a long post as why you are not making a valid comparison then I realized it was probably a deliberate attempt to skew the debate.

      Pass on my regards to Killian, eh?

  3. ollie

    Exodus of journalists to political roles raises concerns of brain drain from media industry
    Funniest thing I’ve read in ages.

  4. Mike


    If it makes it easier for you to assume that my motives are malign then knock yourself out. Probably not going to persuade anyone reading this who doesn’t see an issue here though.

    1. Ian-O

      I have zero intention of persuading anyone of anything on here.

      Do you?

      Curious tack to take, I must say.

      1. Mike

        Yes, it’s the point of debate. Why did you write out a long post if you weren’t trying to persuade someone of something?

  5. Ben Redmond

    The big parties are heavily into PR, advertising, spin and Image, and cleverly-written speeches. Just the job for journos wanting a break from the newsroom.

    1. Ian-O

      Spend more time looking like they are doing stuff than doing it I guess?

      Might explain the zero accomplishments of Leo as Taoiseach/minister/TD.

  6. Mary Brennan

    Probably friends of friends like everywhere else .Sure the pays ok as well ask for what ever you want sure it only the ordinary people will be paying their wages .

  7. Mel

    Carol Hunt is a self-serving obnoxious wind bag. Chris Donoghue seemed like a little boy whenever I heard him on the radio; with very little real knowledge of anything. No sense of historical context and very, very lightweight.
    These people are on six figure salaries. Then again Claire Byrne is on over €200k in RTE. It’s easy to spend taxpayer’s money I guess.

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