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.