Micheál Martin pledges to end Taoiseach Varadkar's "propaganda unit"

Micheál Martin pledges to end Taoiseach Varadkar's "propaganda unit"
Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin said the Taoiseach is "publicity obsessed". Picture: Gareth Chaney Collins

MICHEÁL Martin said that he will shut down Leo Varadkar's "propaganda unit" if he is elected Taoiseach.

The Fianna Fáil leader has called Mr Varadkar "publicity obsessed" and said he is ignoring the reality of the current Dáil.

"Fine Gael need to realise that they didn't win the last election. They lost a lot of seats. They were given a message. Fine Gael don't take that message and behave a bit arrogantly and dismissively of the opposition," he said.

He said that the Taoiseach and the government are refusing to respect the opposition and are using the Strategic Communications Unit to blur the lines between party politics and the civil service.

"We would shut it down. I think it's wrong. I'd be very concerned about it. We believe it's a propaganda unit. I don't think any other Prime Minister in Europe has that kind of budget centred in their office for communications or propaganda, as we would call it.

"There is a blurring of the lines between politics and the civil service. I don't mind giving out information, or putting in ads saying, "here's what you're entitled to after the changes in the budget," but it doesn't need to be accompanied by government campaigns. The Citizens' Information does that."

"There are going to be campaigns on the national children's hospital, the national planning framework, rural Ireland, and we would argue that this is all part of the government's political priorities. It's the blurring of lines," he said.

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