Following on from an oral question on the topic, the Taoiseach has this morning furnished Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD with a breakdown on his department’s spending on advertising online, through publications, broadcasting and the production costs associated with advertisements.

The spending by the Department of An Taoiseach was largely to do with public health measures, restrictions, the green list, job stimulus and business support. Over €4 million was spent on ‘advertising in publications’, nearly €6 million on broadcast advertising, over €700,000 on online advertising, €148,000 on social media and €469,000 associated with production costs.

Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín said: “There need to be controls and checks in place to monitor online spending by the Department. Questions remain over how beneficial this spending is, for example the €1.5 million spent on the ‘Community Call’ campaign – how productive was that campaign? We also know that despite the fact cancer screening services were paused by the State at the start of the pandemic online advertising for the non-existent service continued. I have submitted a question to the Department of Health seeking the breakdown on spending on the ‘Ireland on Call’ campaign, which saw over seventy thousand people sign up but only a handful employed. Many of the people who signed up were nurses and doctors who had travelled home from places like Australia but were then left in limbo here without employment and without the pandemic unemployment payment. How much was spent by the Department of Health on that campaign?”, concluded Deputy Tóibín.