€5m SCU IN AC­TION

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS -

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’.

FiN­gER lickiN’:

Leo tucks into his mid­night feast

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