Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Ceisteanna (355, 356, 357)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

396 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number, rank and pay of all civil servants in his Department and ministerial staff, personally appointed by him or otherwise, who are engaged in media monitoring; the nature of the work done; the persons who the information is circulated to or the people who have access to this information; the cost of this service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33510/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

398 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of press officers and press advisers in his Department; the rank and pay of each; the description of work done; the persons to whom the information is circulated or made accessible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33540/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

400 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of press advisers employed by his Department; the cost of such advice for each year since 1997 to date in 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33570/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 396, 398 and 400 together.

There is one press officer and three other officials in the press office of the Department, together with a Press Advisor, whom I personally appointed in 2004. The Press Advisor is at the level of Counsellor/Principal Officer, with a salary scale of €82,016 to €101,446. No Press Advisors were employed at the Department between 1997 and 2004. The press officer is at the level of First Secretary/Assistant Principal with a salary scale of €66,302 to €82,679. Two of the officials are at the level of Third Secretary, with a salary scale of €33,439 to €59,213 and one is at the level of Clerical Officer, with a salary scale of €23,221 to €37,652.

The work of the officials involved covers the broad range of duties in relation to press work, including liaison with the media, both foreign and domestic. Media monitoring is part of these duties and a summary of the main news items in Ireland is forwarded electronically each day to overseas missions and to all staff at Headquarters. The direct cost of this monitoring service, which is provided by the Irish Times, amounts to €49,164 annually. The Press Office also prepares a daily summary of news items specifically relating to the work of my Department. This information is disseminated to Ministerial Offices and senior management in the Department.