A spokesperson for the party admitted the individuals were paid “a modest sum”, believed to be €200, but stressed those involved were not actors. Labour rejected claims the payment had influenced their views and insisted “that’s not the way these things work at all”.
Since late last month, Labour has published a series of videos on jobs, small businesses and families on YouTube to highlight how “the economy is beginning to pick up” and things were not as bleak as some suggest.
The videos include a message from Tánaiste and party leader Joan Burton saying “things are getting better” and, also, “getting here has been tough, but Labour has brought us to this point”.
However, the upbeat message has sparked controversy with homelessness support groups such as Twist Soup Kitchen and Focus Ireland claiming the party was out of touch, and the videos did not acknowledge the difficulties many people still face.
Responding, a Labour spokesperson confirmed participants in the videos were paid modest sums for “their time” to take part. However, he stressed: “They’re not actors, they are ordinary members of the public.”
The party said payments or making the final edit of the videos were not linked to positive comments about the party’s impact on the country.“That’s not the way these things work at all,” he said, adding nobody specifically says in the video that the party was solely responsible for improving their lives only that their lives had been improved.
The spokesperson said while homeless and other matters remain a genuine issue, foreign holidays and new car purchases are up 15%, showing an “underlying undercurrent” of economic improvement.
The videos were drawn up and produced by production firm Marmalade Films alomg with Bloom Advertising, with the latter behind the party’s ‘every little hurts’ newspaper adverts before the 2011 general election. It was claimed the participants had been chosen by Marmalade and Bloom.