€5m SCU IN ACTION
1. Nuggets (from children’s menu!)
LEO VARADKAR’S social-media streams have hummed this week with behind-thescenes glimpses into what it’s like to be Taoiseach. Take this photo of the aftermath of his FG party conference speech. It shows a shoeless Mr Varadkar, with his tie off, tucking into a supper of nuggets, fish fingers and chips. Also pictured are Brexit adviser Jim D’Arcy and assistant Government press secretary Sarah Meade. A look at the menu shows that such fare is served up by the hotel – but only on the children’s menu. An open bottle of beer is also on the table. Presumably that’s from the adult menu.
2 Twitter pictures criticised again
THE Taoiseach has been criticised again for using Government resources to promote party political activity. This week he tweeted a series of ‘behind the scenes’ pictures including a photo of him at a meeting with his Dublin West constituency team, left. The snaps were taken by taxpayer-funded staff. He previously came under fire for recording a video for Fine Gael members while on the Government jet. A spokesman for his office refused to say if the snaps are the work of the SCU. Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley criticised the pictures.
3 Wanted: PR and digital services
TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar’s controversial Strategic Communications Unit – which was allotted €5m in the recent budget – has commissioned a vast array of extra research, marketing and PR services, months after its establishment.
The controversial unit was set up to reduce expenditure on publicity. However, questions from Fianna Fáil’s Public Expenditure spokesman Dara Calleary has revealed six major procurement processes have been established by the new unit. These include services in ‘research and insight, branded entities, digital media creative services, digital campaigning services, media strategies and marketing pitches’.
Mr Calleary said we have moved on a long way from ‘the days when the leader of the country could look into his heart and know what the people were thinking’.
Leo tucks into his midnight feast