Taoiseach defends making social media video on Government jet

FF leader Micheál Martin says government press secretaries should not do party work

Leo Varadkar rejected a claim by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in the Dáil that he had brought “a party person’’ with him on the trip. Photograph:   Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Leo Varadkar rejected a claim by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in the Dáil that he had brought “a party person’’ with him on the trip. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

 

Leo Varadkar defended the making of a video about his work as Taoiseach while flying on the Government jet to Tallinn, Estonia.

The video was issued last week as part of his weekly message on social media.

“In terms of my video, it is 2017,’’ he said. “People do videos fairly regularly now.’’

Mr Varadkar said it was the equivalent in the past of what a taoiseach or minister attending a summit would issue in a press statement.

The Taoiseach rejected a claim by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in the Dáil that he had brought “a party person’’ with him on the trip.

“He might be referring to the Government press secretary, Mr Nick Miller, who travelled to Tallinn,’’ said the Taoiseach.

“Historically, the government press secretary has travelled with the taoiseach ever since they have been appointed.’’

‘Things are different’

When Mr Martin said government press secretaries did not do party work, Mr Varadkar said the holder of the position had always travelled with taoisigh to summits.

Mr Martin said a political party should not politicise government officials.

Mr Varadkar said in the past a press officer would type up a press statement and then send it out.

“Things are different now,’’ he added.

“One’s press officer may take a video of the taoiseach and one sends out that on the internet instead.’’

He said it negated the need to type up a printed statement which was what would have been done in the past.

Mr Martin claimed the Taoiseach was missing the point.

“One does not party politicise Government officials,’’ he added. “One cannot do that.’’

Mr Martin said that practice had been dispensed with.

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