Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (157)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

157. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the contracts with public relations agencies and consultants entered into by his Department; and the remit of these contracts including the costs in tabular form. [29353/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

My Department has not incurred expenditure on external public relations. From time to time, consultants or companies with a public relations and communications background are commissioned to provide other professional services such as project management, logistics and event management.

In 2019, following a competitive tender process, my Department signed a contract with Zero G for professional consultancy services to advise on the development of a Global Reputation and Communications Strategy for Ireland, related ancillary communications strategies and activities. Project work commenced in early 2020, to date EUR 39,237 has been spent to cover all consultancy work up to and including March 23 2020. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the contract has been temporarily paused for a six month period, with effect from March 23 2020.

In 2020, the Department of Foreign Affairs entered into a contract with the public relations and public affairs agency, DHR Communications, for the provision of professional services for the coordination and communication of Africa Day supports and events for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022. Africa Day, which falls on 25th May annually, is the official day of the African Union and marks African unity. The Department of Foreign Affairs has supported a programme of events to celebrate Africa Day since 2006, through financial support and the provision of information and coordination services. The Department has engaged the services of DHR Communications to plan, manage and execute an information campaign for local authorities and community groups; promote, support and publicise the range of Africa Day events taking place; update and maintain the Africa Day website and social media channels; and facilitate engagement with relevant stakeholders.

Since 2010, DHR Communications has administered the Simon Cumbers Media Fund on behalf of the Department. The Simon Cumbers Media Fund (SCMF) was established by Irish Aid in 2005 to improve the quantity and quality of media coverage of the developing world. Management of the Fund involves promoting two funding rounds each year, including through national and regional information workshops and targeting of key editorial staff, managing and administering the application process, organising the judging process and providing detailed feedback to all applicants, maintaining and updating the SCMF website and managing the SCMF student competition.

To date in 2020, fees incurred in relation to the above mentioned projects are as follows:

Company

Expenditure

DHR (Africa Day)

€9,840.00

DHR (Simon Cumbers Media Fund)

€26,429.36

Zero-G

€39,237