Probe urged into Leo’s ‘spin’ cen­tre

Irish Daily Mail - - News -

SIPO, the stan­dards in pub­lic of­fice watch­dog has been asked to de­cide whether a PR unit set up by the Taoiseach with pub­lic funds is par­ty­po­lit­i­cal in na­ture.

Bud­get 2018 con­ferred €5mil­lion on the new Strate­gic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Unit (SCU), with the Taoiseach ad­mit­ting he per­son­ally ap­proached its head, John Con­can­non, about his ap­point­ment.

Strug­gling Labour Party leader Bren­dan Howlin says he has asked SIPO to clar­ify two points about the new body.

Among the is­sues he wants clar­i­fied is whether or not a sig­nif­i­cant quan­tity of new so­cial me­dia ad­ver­tis­ing by the Taoiseach’s Depart­ment amounts to an im­proper use of pub­lic funds for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.

‘All Op­po­si­tion par­ties have united in con­dem­na­tion of the cre­ation of this spin unit in the Taoiseach’s Depart­ment,’ he said.

The Taoiseach con­tin­ues to ar­gue that this will be cost neu­tral, he said, ‘but an al­lo­ca­tion of €5m to this area means some other area of pub­lic spend­ing is be­ing de­nied those re­sources’.

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