Dáil Éireann - Volume 643 - 11 December, 2007

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Defence the number, rank and pay of all civil servants in his Department and ministerial staff, personally appointed by him or otherwise, who are engaged in media monitoring; the nature of the work done; the persons who the information is circulated to or the people who have access to this information; the cost of this service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33505/07]

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Defence the number of press officers and press advisers in his Department; the rank and pay of each; the description of work done; the persons to whom the information is circulated or made accessible to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33535/07]

[1193] Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Defence the number of press advisers employed by his Department; the cost of such advice for each year since 1997 to date in 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33565/07]

  Deputy Willie O’Dea: I propose to take Questions Nos. 808, 810 and 812 together.

My Department currently employs the services of private media monitoring companies to provide it with copies of articles relating to Defence matters in local and national newspapers. Copies of these articles are circulated by the Press Office to myself and senior officials within my Department and are also available to all members of staff on the Department’s intranet. The average annual cost of the service is €29,368.19.

The following are the details of the staff employed in the press office:

Number

Position

Salary Scale

1

Press Officer

€62,990–€78,543

1

Press Advisor

€82,016–€101,446

The role of the Press Adviser and the Press Officer in my Department is to provide, in conjunction with the Defence Forces Press Officer and the Government Information Services, a high quality press and information service to the media and the general public. The Press Officer is also the Information Officer and the Freedom of Information Officer while the Press Adviser advises me on media matters. Information is circulated by both the Press Adviser and the Press Officer to myself, officials within my Department, members of the Defence Forces, other Government Departments, members of the media and the general public as required. No Press Adviser was employed in my Department in the period prior to 1 November 2004 when the current holder of the post was appointed.