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Departmental Staff Data

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 8 March 2018

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Questions (30, 31)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

30. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of staff assigned in his Department to the press office, public relations or communications roles in each year since 2015; the positions by staffing grade and designated role; when each new position came into existence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11704/18]

View answer

Brendan Howlin

Question:

31. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if a panel has been established in his Department for communications officers; if a Civil Service position of head of communications or similar role or description has been appointed in his Department; if so, when the appointment occurred; the grade at which it occurred; the reason for same; the policy basis for same; the person that approved the appointment; his plans to make such an appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11720/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 31 together.

A Communications Unit was established within my Department in February 2015 on the initiative of the Secretary General of my Department and with the approval of the Department’s Management Board and of my predecessor as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The purpose of the Unit is to:

Provide support to me in my capacity as Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and to my Minister of State colleagues at the Department and at wider Government and State levels on all issues affecting Irish interests that have an international communications/public diplomacy dimension;

Strengthen the abilities of my Department including Ireland’s network of 80 diplomatic missions abroad to deliver our communication and public diplomacy goals on behalf of Ireland;

Strengthen communication to Irish citizens on the role, services and activities of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade including its diplomatic missions; and

Enhance public awareness and understanding of Ireland's aid programme, Irish Aid, and of global development issues.

At the time of its establishment, the Unit was structured to combine the Department’s existing Press Office, Web Unit and Irish Aid Public Outreach Section that had previously operated separately. Details of the Unit’s staffing for each year since 2015 are set out below, with those for 2017 reflecting the establishment of a small Brexit / EU Communications Section within the Unit last autumn. The Unit was also combined last year with my Department’s Policy Planning Unit to form a new Policy and Communications Division which is led at Deputy Secretary General level.

Within the Communications Unit, staffing grades and roles have evolved over the period in question as a function of differing communications needs and regular ongoing re-assignments of staff to other roles at home and abroad. The Unit’s Director since its establishment has been a career diplomat at Counsellor grade (Principal Officer equivalent), appointed to the position by the Secretary General of my Department in consultation with the Department’s Management Board.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Communications Unit – Staffing Arrangements

-

Director

Press Relations Section

Web & Digital Section

Public Outreach Section

Brexit / EU Communications Section

Total

2015

1 x Counsellor (PO equivalent)

1 x First Secretary (AP equivalent);

4 x Third Secretary (Higher Executive Officer (HEO) equivalent);

1 x Clerical Officer (CO)

Total: 6

1 x First Secretary;

1 x Staff Officer (SO);

4 x CO;

2 x External Consultants

Total: 8

1 x Third Secretary;

1 x HEO (part-time);

1 x EO;

1 x CO

Total: 4

19

2016

1 x Counsellor

1 x First Secretary;

4 x Third Secretary;

1 x CO

Total: 6

1 x First Secretary;

1 x Third Secretary;

1 x HEO (part-time);

1 x SO;

1 x Junior Professional Intern (JPI);

1 x CO

Total: 6

1 x AP;

1 x HEO;

1 x EO;

4 x CO

Total: 7

20

2017

1 x Counsellor

1 x First Secretary;

2 x Third Secretary;

2 x HEO;

1 x CO

Total: 6

1 x First Secretary;

2 x Third Secretary;

1 x SO;

1 x JPI (part-time);

1 x CO

Total: 6

1 x AP;

2 x HEO;

2 x EO;

1 x CO

Total: 6

1 x First Secretary;

1 x Third Secretary

Total: 2

21

2018

1 x Counsellor

1 x First Secretary;

2 x Third Secretary;

2x HEO;

1 x CO

Total: 6

1 x First Secretary;

2 x Third Secretary;

1 x SO

1 x JPI (part-time);

1 x CO

Total: 6

1 x AP;

2 x HEO;

2 x EO

Total: 5

1 x First Secretary;

1 x Third Secretary

Total: 2

20

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