Department’s advertising expenditure up 30% in 2016

The amount of money spent by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on advertising and publicity in 2016 jumped by 30% on the previous year.

This equated to an increase of €73,309 last year, bringing the total spend to almost €312,000.

The figures were revealed by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, in response to a parliamentary question from Labour TD Brendan Howlin.

Deputy Howlin asked Minister Creed to clarify the level of expenditure by his department – or organisations under the aegis of his department – for each of the past five years. This was across photography, advertising, communications advice, public relations and website development, as well as media interview training and preparation.

In total, the department’s advertising and publicity costs accounted for over €1.2 million between 2012 and 2016.

Costs relating to photography are regularly updated on the department’s website and, wherever possible, the department avails of internal photography skills, Minister Creed explained.

“The vast bulk of my department’s advertising consists of press notices in the specialised farming press, provincial and national newspapers.

“This expenditure includes the publication of statutory notices that are required to comply with various national and EU legislative requirements.

“Decisions on the placement of notices are made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature of the advertisement and the target audience,” he said.

In general, public relations advice is provided by the department’s own press office, Minister Creed continued.

However, from time to time, it may be necessary to engage the services of an outside provider for media interview training and preparation purposes.

“My department has not engaged the services of a public relations advisor during the period in question. There has been no expenditure on website development in the past five years,” he concluded.

Only €4,700 was spent on media interview training and preparation in 2016; no other costs of this nature were recorded in any other year since 2012.

To date in 2017, nearly €101,000 has been spent by the department on advertising and publicity.