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The Department spent more than €70,000 on social media in 2018, despite incurring no costs in this area in either 2016 or 2017, the data reveals.
According to Minister for Health Simon Harris, last year’s costs were incurred “in the dissemination of information campaigns in support of mental health services and the Health and Wellbeing Programme”.
He added that the Department does not yet have a projected spend on social media for 2019.
Minister Harris issued the explanation in response to a parliamentary question (PQ) by Fianna Fáil Deputy Brian Cowen, who sought information on social media spending by the Department.
Separately, in response to another PQ by Deputy Cowen, Minister Harris revealed details on advertising, marketing and public relations (PR) spending by his Department in recent years.
The data shows that spending in these areas increased significantly in 2018 compared to 2016 and 2017.
In 2016, almost €10,400 was spent on advertising, marketing and PR, while in 2017, €22,300 was spent in these areas.
But in 2018, more than €37,500 was incurred on advertising, marketing and PR alone, while over €319,000 was spent on promoting Healthy Ireland. These figures do not include the €70,000 social media spend in 2018.
In total, more than €426,000 was spent on media and marketing projects by the Department last year.
According to Minister Harris, advertising includes advertising of board vacancies and public consultations. The Minister’s response did not contain any further details or breakdown on spending.