Strategic Communications Unit to be 'wound down' by July

Strategic Communications Unit to be 'wound down' by July

The much criticised €5 million Strategic Communications Unit is to be “wound down” by July, with staff to be redeployed within the civil service.

The Irish Examiner has learned that following a review by Martin Fraser, Secretary General to the Government, the SCU will see its functions transferred to over units with some reverting back to the Government Information Service (GIS).

That review was accepted by the Cabinet today and sources have confirmed the unit will now be run down until July.

The fate of the head of the SCU, John Concannon, is unknown but it is thought unlikely he would remain in Government if the unit is disbanded.

The Government lost a vote in the Dail last week which sought the abolition of the SCU but Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had resisted those calls, heralding the need to streamline Government communications.

Last year, the various Government departments spent €180 million on communications and there is an acceptance that efficiencies can be found.

The SCU has been embroiled in controversy over the placement of advertorials in local and national newspapers relating to the Ireland 2040 development plan.

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