Fintan O’Toole: The problem isn’t the SCU. It’s Leo Varadkar

The Taoiseach prefers strategic communications to communicating a strategy

“Leo Varadkar comes from a generation that places an enormous premium on being connected and being in touch, that is locked in the feedback loop of approval.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

“Leo Varadkar comes from a generation that places an enormous premium on being connected and being in touch, that is locked in the feedback loop of approval.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

John Concannon, head of the Government’s now notorious Strategic Communications Unit (SCU), is not Josef Goebbels. The SCU is not, as one might think from some of the more hysterical Dáil exchanges in recent days, the ministry of truth from George Orwell’s 1984.

Its launch of the Government’s Project 2040 capital plan did not use taxpayer’s money to promote Fine Gael election candidates in the paid-for advertorials that ran in virtually every regional and national newspaper: as Harry McGee reported in The Irish Times “only one newspaper, the Longford Leader, featured a Fine Gael candidate, and the paper took that decision entirely by itself”.

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