231. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the newspapers his Department officials have engaged with in promoting or explaining Government business in his Department; when these meetings took place; if they are held on a regular basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10296/18] Amharc ar fhreagra
The information requested in relation to my Department is currently being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy in accordance with Standing Orders.
The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
The Press Office of my Department liaises with the media on my behalf and on behalf of the Ministers of State and the Department. On occasion, and in order to assist the understanding of Departmental policies, officials may give a technical briefing to the media. These briefings are not held regularly but are considered, where appropriate, with a view to outlining and explaining the technical elements of some of the policies being introduced or implemented by my Department. Details of key briefings during 2017 and 2018 are set out below.
In April 2017, the Irish Independent was given a technical briefing on the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Land Map. In August and September 2017, the same newspaper was briefed during one meeting and in a number of phone calls on housing issues, primarily the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund, and planning policy.
During 2017, officials from Met Éireann have engaged with a number of scientific correspondents in relation to its work. In addition, in November 2017, articles were commissioned by newspapers for events such as Science Week or as part of RTÉ managed events in association with the ‘Weather Live’ programmes.
Given that Project Ireland 2040 is a Government of Ireland initiative, the Department of An Taoiseach, through its Strategic Communications Unit, had overall responsibility for arrangements surrounding its launch, including arrangements for media and other briefings. As part of such arrangements, my Department’s National Planning Framework team supported a number of briefing sessions with different media commentators on 14 and 15 February and again on the morning of the launch in Sligo on 16 February. As my Department did not arrange these briefings, it does not hold a record of which newspapers were represented.