Project Ireland 2040 Launch

Ceisteanna (98, 101, 102, 107, 108, 110, 112, 113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 122)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

98. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Taoiseach the details of all newspaper, magazine and online advertisements on the launch of Project Ireland 2040; and the costs associated with each advertisement spot, in tabular form. [9834/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

101. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the cost of marketing the launch of the NDP and NPF in newspapers and social media at national and local level; if it was the strategic communications unit that co-ordinated the information campaign; and if there was a procurement process on same. [9349/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

102. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the partnership arrangements that the strategic communications unit has with each national and local newspaper to promote Government campaigns; and the cost involved. [9350/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

107. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach the number of officials and advisers from his Department who travelled to the launch of the NDP and NPF in County Sligo; and the cost of same. [9379/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

108. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the cost of his department's involvement in the NDP and NPF launch that was held in County Sligo on 16 February 2018; and if these were the total costs. [9380/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

110. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if the strategic communications unit has access to other budgets in other Departments to promote the NDP and NPF. [9399/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

112. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Taoiseach the cost and expenditure of hosting the launch of the national planning framework and national development plan in County Sligo on 16 February 2018 by heading, in tabular form. [9055/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

113. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Taoiseach the number of contracts entered into by the strategic communications unit for the publication and launch of the national development plan; the cost of each contract; the purpose of each contract; and if the procurement process went through the Office of Government Procurement. [9098/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

115. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Taoiseach the cost of publishing the national development plan 2018-27; the cost of its launch in County Sligo on 16 February 2018; the cost of the presentation that accompanied the launch; the invoices to be received and the contracts that have been entered into; the cost of advertising in social media for the plan and its launch; the cost of advertising in newspapers for the plan and its launch; the cost of the website used for the national planning framework; the cost of the presentation video on the national planning framework website; and the number of visits to that site. [9096/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

116. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Taoiseach the number of contracts entered into for the publication and launch of the national development plan; the cost of each contract; the purpose of each contract; and if each contract was organised by the Office of Government Procurement. [9097/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

117. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Taoiseach the full costs of the Project Ireland 2040 launch in County Sligo on 16 February 2018; and the costs associated with web design, document design, media consulting and other costs associated with the event and its preparation. [9057/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

118. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Taoiseach the details of the television, radio and cinema advertisements for the launch of Project Ireland 2040; and the costs associated with each advertisement's spot, in tabular form. [9633/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

119. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach the spend by his Department on the launch and promotion of Project Ireland 2040 to date; the projected future spend and allocated budget; the breakdown of spending by supplier and purpose of the expenditure; and the advertising or advertorial commissioned. [9758/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

122. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the marketing budget allocated to the NDP and NPF launch; and the cost of cinema and newspaper advertisements at national and local level for same. [9809/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98, 101, 102, 107, 108, 110, 112, 113, 115 to 119, inclusive, and 122 together.

An objective of the Government is to improve citizens’ understanding of what it is doing on their behalf, what their entitlements are, and the workings of Government in general.

In support of this objective, the Government has approved a list of policy areas for which citizen-focussed information campaigns will be run.

These campaigns are funded from the €5 million budget allocated to strategic communications.

As an overarching policy initiative, with significant reach, Project Ireland 2040 is the most important information campaign which will be run in 2018. Given the €116 billion taxpayer spend envisaged, the Government believes that it is essential that citizens understand how and where this investment will be made and how it will impact on their lives.

To this end, a comprehensive citizen awareness programme has been developed for the plan, with the goal of informing as many citizens as possible, creating awareness of the plan and enhancing citizen engagement with the detail in it relating to their lives. While the full spend will not be finalised until the end of the campaign, an indicative budget of €1.5m has been allocated from within the overall €5 million allocation. The cost for the launch event for the plan was approximately €45,000 ex vat.

This is a multi-faceted, year-long communications programme, co-ordinated by the Strategic Communications Unit (SCU) in my Department, which uses existing contracts (agency, media buying etc) and includes the following aspects:

- Comprehensive briefings from cross-Government Senior Officials

- Regional Launch Events

- Sectoral Forums

- County Forums

- Online communications programme

- Production of informational videos

- National and Regional Outdoor campaign

- National and Local Print Media - Content Partnerships

- Cinema Campaign

- Content Partnership with Regional and National Radio Stations.

No TV Advertising is included in this information programme.

In keeping with previous National Development Plans, Project Ireland 2040 is being communicated to citizens through media partnerships.  Content partnerships have been established with the following media outlets:

- Irish Times

- INM Group

- Examiner Group

- Journal Media

- 30 Regional Newspapers

- 28 Local and National Radio Stations

The media buying process to enable this was handled by a third party media buying organization, appointed via an open procurement competition.

As with previous National Development Plans, all stories run under media partnerships are clearly identifiable as such.

Each media organisation was provided with a content pack relating to Project Ireland 2040. Any decisions relating to editorial style were entirely a matter for each organisation. The SCU had no input in selecting or contacting any external or third party interviewees. The SCU had no direct contact with regional media organizations.

In general, funding for campaigns will come from the Strategic Communications budget. In some cases, there will be a 50/50 split with the relevant Government Department, depending on the nature and scope of the campaign. As regards printing costs for Project Ireland 2040, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was responsible for the printing costs associated for the National Development Plan and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government was responsible for the costs associated with printing of the National Planning Framework.

Project Ireland 2040 was launched in Sligo IT on Friday February 16th 2018. Events of the day included a Government meeting to approve the plan, the actual launch of the plan and a number of media engagements carried out by myself and the Cabinet. My Department was responsible for all planning and arrangements for the day. This involved attendance by the following:

- 7 Cabinet Secretariat/Protocol staff to support the Cabinet meeting

- 9 SCU staff to support the launch

- 5 Officials/advisers with policy responsibility

- 5 Press Officers to support media engagements

As the launch is very recent, payments such as travel and subsistence and hotel accommodation have not yet been processed through our financial system.

In addition to the campaign for Project Ireland 2040 outlined above, the Strategic Communications Unit utilises all media in the course of the delivery of Government priority campaigns. The choice of media is informed by the nature, subject and reach of the campaign. As part of the Healthy Ireland Campaign, the SCU with their colleagues in the Department of Health, formed a media content partnership with a national daily newspaper to produce health supplements as part of the campaign. Similarly, the Unit worked with the Department of Education and Skills on a supplement in a national daily newspaper as part of the Action Plan for Education.

Costs for these media content partnerships are as follows:

Newspaper

Campaign

Cost

Irish Independent

Healthy Ireland

€96,300 ex vat

Irish Independent

Action Plan for Education

€8,600 ex vat

The Project Ireland 2040 campaign is ongoing and is subject to regular review. Therefore, the cost of media content partnerships is not yet finalised. It will be published once finalised.

Departmental Meetings

Ceisteanna (99)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

99. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach the newspapers with which his Department officials have engaged regarding promoting or explaining Government business in his Department; when these meetings took place; and if they are held on a regular basis. [10298/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

Officials from my Department engage with staff from newspapers and other media organisations, on an ongoing basis, in relation to a range of issues relating to Government business.

Freedom of Information Data

Questions Nos. 101 and 102 answered with Question No. 98.

Ceisteanna (100)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

100. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Taoiseach the number of freedom of information requests his Department has received in the past eight years; the number that were accepted without further escalation and not accepted, respectively; the number of requests not accepted that were escalated to the Information Commissioner; the number in respect of which the Information Commissioner ruled in favour of the person requesting the freedom of information; the number in respect of which the Information Commissioner ruled against his Department; the number his Department appealed to the High Court; the number in respect of which the High Court ruled against his Department in favour of the applicant; and the number which were then brought to the Court of Appeal by his Department. [9298/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

My Department received 1,619 freedom of information requests from the start of 2010 to 23 February 2018. During this period there were 57 requests for internal review and 17 appeals by requesters to the Information Commissioner.

In relation to the 17 appeals, the Information Commissioner affirmed my Department's decision in 5 cases while in 3 cases my Department's decision was varied or annulled. 8 appeals were either withdrawn by requesters or settled after they were referred to the Commissioner. One appeal is currently ongoing.

My Department has not appealed decisions made by the Information Commissioner to the High Court.

Questions Nos. 101 and 102 answered with Question No. 98.

Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements

Questions Nos. 107 and 108 answered with Question No. 98.

Ceisteanna (103, 104, 105, 106, 111)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

103. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has spoken with the leader of the DUP since 13 February 2018. [9351/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

104. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has spoken with the leader of the Alliance Party since 13 February 2018. [9352/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

105. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has spoken with the leader of the SDLP since 13 February 2018. [9353/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

106. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has spoken with the leader of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland since 13 February 2018. [9354/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

111. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meetings with the Northern Ireland parties on 18 February 2018. [9400/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103 to 106, inclusive, and 111 together.

During my visit to Belfast on 12 February, I met with the Sinn Fein, SDLP, UUP and Alliance Parties to discuss the negotiations on the restoration of the Executive. I did not have the opportunity to meet the DUP on that day.

I regret the fact that, in the intervening period, the talks process has stalled again. Power sharing and working together are the only way forward for Northern Ireland. The Government has consistently said that the restoration of the institutions is essential in the context of full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. The Government will continue to work very closely with the British government to support the northern parties to achieve this outcome.

The Tánaiste and I met with Mary Lou McDonald TD and Michelle O'Neill MLA on Monday evening (19 February) to review recent developments in Northern Ireland and events leading up to the breakdown in talks on Executive formation last week.

The Government has consistently affirmed our unwavering commitment to the Good Friday Agreement, and determination, as a co-guarantor of the Agreement, to secure the effective operation of all of its institutions.

The Tánaiste and officials continue to keep in close ongoing contact with the Northern parties and with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as part of the Government's ongoing engagement to give full effect to that commitment.

Questions Nos. 107 and 108 answered with Question No. 98.

Strategic Communications Unit

Question No. 110 answered with Question No. 98.

Ceisteanna (109)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

109. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the marketing budget of the strategic communications unit. [9398/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

The Strategic Communications Unit does not have a marketing budget. The Unit has a budget allocated of €5 million for 2018. This budget will be used on a variety of items within the strategic communications programme, such as the implementation of the new Government of Ireland identity, support of the migration to gov.ie and for various priority information programmes.

Question No. 110 answered with Question No. 98.