Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Ceisteanna (77)

Barry Cowen


77. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the amount spent on public relations, promotion and advertising, including multimedia, in his Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48247/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

My Department engages in public awareness advertising where there is important information that needs to be brought to the attention of citizens.  Examples of where my Department has advertised during 2019 have included public information campaigns in relation to the Online Passport Renewals Service and on the theme of ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’. Details of such advertising and commercial firms that have assisted in this regard to date are as follows:

- Online Passport Renewals Service

In November 2018, my Department expanded the Online Passport Renewal Service to allow for online renewal of children’s passports, a passport card for children and a wider cohort of adults eligible to renew online.  This expanded service means that all Irish citizens can now renew their passports online 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

Throughout 2019 my Department ran a number of national public information campaigns which highlighted the Online Renewals Service as a fast and secure way for adults and children to renew their passports, including through advertisements on social media platforms and via print and radio channels. The success of this campaign has led to a significant increase in online renewal applications.

The direct costs of advertising to raise public awareness in this regard so far in 2019 are set out in Table 1 below.

- ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’

The objective of the Government’s Brexit preparedness public information campaign to date has been to ensure that key audiences are aware of the potential impact of a No Deal Brexit and the mitigation measures that they can take, with the support of Government where appropriate and with particular reference to the website.

My Department has worked closely with the Department of the Taoiseach and other Government Departments on this information campaign which has been underway since September 2018. Costs incurred so far during 2019 in relation to campaign activities across TV, radio, print, internet and social media platforms are outlined in Table 1 below:

- Rugby World Cup 2019 Consular Awareness

The State’s duty of care towards Irish citizens was the pre-eminent concern of my Department during the Rugby World Cup. As the third-largest sporting event in the world, an estimated 20-30,000 Irish citizens travelled from Ireland and elsewhere to attend the tournament.  

In this context, the initial phase of the public awareness campaign aimed at an audience of rugby fans who were likely to travel to the tournament.  The goal of that campaign was to reach this core audience with messaging about the Department’s travel advice, as well as information on what measures to take in the event of a consular emergency or crisis while in Japan. This information remained available and was updated on the dedicated Rugby World Cup page on my Department’s website over the tournament.

- 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. My Department has since continued to promote public awareness of Ireland’s ongoing campaign through online channels and costs incurred so far in 2019 in this regard are set out in Table 1 below.

- St Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a unique opportunity to engage with the global Irish community and to promote Ireland’s economic and political interests overseas, with levels of publicity and media attention unmatched by the National Day of any other country.

This year’s programme had the largest number of countries ever visited for St. Patrick’s Day. The Taoiseach and I, along with 13 Ministers, 19 Ministers of State, the Attorney General, Ceann Comhairle and Cathaoirleach visited 56 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and the Asia-Pacific region.  These programmes allowed us to promote trade, investment and tourism with Ireland, to increase visibility in new markets, and to promote our values and our influence in global institutions, notably in support of our campaign to become a member of the United Nations Security Council.   It also allowed us to deepen our connections with Irish people and friends of Ireland all over the world.

Team Ireland overseas delivered a total of 1,796 events in support of Ireland’s interest over the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day period in this context. To coincide with and complement these activities, a small amount of expenditure was incurred by my Department in relation to online promotion of an accompanying St. Patrick’s Day video as outlined in Table 1 below.

- Global Ireland: Ireland’s Strategy for the US and Canada 2019-2025 and Global Island Summit

‘Global Ireland’ is an all-of-Government programme which aims to double Ireland’s impact in the world by 2025. The programme was launched by the Taoiseach and myself and Ministers Humphreys, Madigan and McEntee in June 2018 and sets out Ireland’s ambitions in relation to how we trade, the bilateral and multilateral partnerships that we seek to build and our wider contribution to the world.

Global Ireland: Ireland's Strategy for the US and Canada 2019–2025 is Ireland's first whole-of-Government strategy for the US and Canada. Its aim is for Ireland to build strong, strategic political partnerships with the US and Canada and assume a lead role in building stronger transatlantic relations.

To coincide with the programme of St. Patrick’s Day-related activities held there earlier this year, a small amount of expenditure was incurred by my Department in relation to the online promotion of a video that outlined the Strategy’s key objectives insofar as the US is concerned.  

In July, to mark the 1st anniversary of the launch of Global Ireland programme, my Department held the Global Island summit in Dublin Castle.  At the summit it was announced that Ireland plans to double its impact in the Asia Pacific region, as part of the next phase of Global Ireland 2025. Alongside myself and the Taoiseach, Government Ministers, Ambassadors and key stakeholders spoke at the Summit.  To coincide with this event a video was produced and promoted via social media.

- Other Projects

My Department has also engaged in public information advertising via print and social media channels to build awareness of certain other initiatives and projects that relate to Ireland’s foreign policy priorities and activities.  So far in 2019 these have comprised:

- Recruitment of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Cultural Director

- Promotion of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Irish Aid-supported Simon Cumbers Media Fund

- The launch of Ireland’s new policy for international development, ‘A Better World’, on 28 February.

Details of expenditure in each case are set out in Table 1 below.

Total Expenditure for 2016, 2017 and 2018 are outlined in Table 2 below

Table 1: Public Information and Awareness Advertising Expenditure - 2019 to date



Cost to date in 2019  

Online Passport Renewals

PHD Media, TBWA and Outsource Media  

€ 568,166.49

'Getting Ireland Brexit Ready'

PHD Media, TBWA and Irish Times (re 12 April Brexit   Supplement)


Rugby World Cup 2019 Consular Awareness

Outsource Media


UN Security Council Public Information

PHD Media


St. Patrick Day 2019

PHD Media & Adventure Publishing


Global Ireland: Ireland’s Strategy for the US and Canada 2019-2025 and Global Island Summit

PHD Media and BigO Media 


Recruitment of Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade Cultural Director



Simon Cumbers Media Fund & ‘A Better World’

Facebook & Twitter


Table 2: Public Information and Awareness Advertising Expenditure – 2016, 2017 and 2018





€210, 324.15