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Departmental Expenditure

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 19 December 2018

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Questions (108)

Brendan Howlin


108. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the amount spent by his Department on public advertising and the purchase of external communications and publicity in 2018 by advertising campaign including specific amounts on social media campaigns (details supplied) or other digital platforms; the amount spent on public relations or other communications support in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53577/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

My Department engages in advertising and public awareness campaigns where there is important information that needs to be brought to the attention of citizens. Some examples of these campaigns have included the Online Passport Renewals Service and a ‘Citizens Dialogue on the Future of Europe’ initiative. A public information campaign to promote awareness of Government-wide supports and resources that are available to assist with Brexit preparedness is also currently being coordinated by my Department.

Details of relevant advertising campaigns carried out in 2018 are as follows: 2018

Online Passport Renewals Service

In 2018 we have concentrated on highlighting the Online Passport Renewal Service as a fast and secure way for adults to renew their passports. Specific activities have included advertisements in local publications throughout the country and on social media platforms, press releases and attendance at relevant promotional events, as well as participation by the Director of the Passport Service in over 25 interviews on regional radio stations. The direct costs of advertising to raise public awareness in this regard are set out in Table 1 below.

Citizens Dialogue on the Future of Europe

Against the background of debate which is underway at EU level and beyond about how best to address the challenges of a rapidly changing the world, and in cooperation with European Movement Ireland, my Department hosted a series of ‘Citizens Dialogue on the Future of Europe’ events throughout spring 2018. These events took place in Galway, Cork, Donegal, Kildare, Meath and Dublin and enabled citizens to share ideas and priorities on the future of Europe and on such themes as the economy, security, social responsibility and globalisation.

To raise awareness of these opportunities for citizens to engage with and attend these events, my Department undertook a communications campaign that included advertisements in local papers and on local radio in each of the locations concerned. The direct costs of this advertising are set out in Table 1 below.

Ireland’s Campaign for Election to the UN Security Council

On July 2nd 2018, the Taoiseach and I publicly launched Ireland’s campaign to secure a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in June 2020 for the 2021-2022 term. Ireland’s campaign is premised on three themes: Empathy, Partnership and Independence. To coincide with this launch, my Department used social media platforms to promote public awareness of Ireland’s campaign online and the direct costs incurred in this regard are set out in Table 1 below.

Public Consultations on International Development Policy

A public consultation process in relation to Ireland’s new international development policy took place in 5 locations around the country over the period July – October 2018. The goal of the process was to hear the views of the public on how Ireland’s international development policy can contribute towards meeting the ambitious objectives of such initiatives as the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals agreed by the United Nations in 2015. To raise awareness of these opportunities for the citizens to engage and attend these events, my Department undertook a communications campaign that included advertisements in local papers. The direct costs of this advertising are set out in Table 1 below.

Government Brexit Update and ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’

The Government Brexit Update email service and the Getting Ireland Brexit Ready public information campaign forms part of the Government’s overall strategy to keep the Irish public fully informed and up-to date on the implications and challenges of Brexit.

The Update is issuing on a regular basis via a commercial provider (MailChimp) and provides information on latest developments in the ongoing Brexit negotiations, on the latest available research publications and on engagement at Government level. It also highlights the range of business supports that are available through the various Government Departments and State agencies.

My Department is also coordinating a Government-wide ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready Campaign’ which I and Ministers Humphreys and Creed launched together on 20 September. This campaign has updated citizens, communities and businesses about Brexit preparedness and support measures that are available as well as public workshop events which were held over successive weeks throughout October and the last two weeks in November. A programme of awareness raising via web and social media platforms and radio and print media advertising also took place.

Table 1: Online Advertising and Public Awareness Campaigns Expenditure 2018

Campaign / Theme


Cost to date

Online Passport Renewals

(March 2018-June 2018)



Citizens’ Dialogue on the Future of Europe -

(Feb - May 2018)

Topic Media, Celtic, Media, Highland Radio, Connacht Tribune, River Media, Irish Examiner, LMFM Radio & Galway Advertiser


UN Security Council Campaign

July 2018

Twitter and Facebook


Government Brexit Update

(Jan 2018 – to date)

Twitter and MailChimp


Getting Ireland Brexit Ready

(20 Sept 2018 – to date)

PhD Media / TBWA


Transforming Our World public consultations

Mediavest & Vermillion Design