DUBLIN: Ireland's main right-wing political party Fine Gael has
scrapped its director of communications and policy post following the
sudden departure of Brian Looney.
The former Irish Examiner editor quit as the party's main PR strategist
and special adviser to Fine Gael leader Michael Noonan after just six
And Fine Gael this week confirmed it will not be replacing Looney or
filling a similar PR role, which was created as the first of its type
within the party.
A Fine Gael spokeswoman said: 'Looney was employed as a consultant so
there is not a vacancy as such. The party is not going to look for any
consultancy along the same lines.'
The news comes two months after Fine Gael announced it was considering
ditching its £100,000 contract with political PR firm Carr
Communications as part of a cost-cutting drive.
Looney left amid industry rumours that conflict arose between himself
Close sources suggest Fine Gael ignored some of Looney's publicity
Looney was not available for comment as PRWeek went to press and it is
not known whether he will return to a role in the PR industry. It is
understood he may return to his roots in journalism.
Looney joined Fine Gael - the second largest group in the Irish
parliament and the leading party in opposition to the coalition of
Fianna Fail and the smaller Progressive Democrats - last month after six
years at the Irish Examiner (PRWeek, 13 July).
He was taken on to fill the role, created outside the party's existing
in-house PR team.
All Fine Gael PR will now be handled by the four-strong PR team, under
national press and PR officer Niall O'Muilleoir.
O'Muilleoir's team continue to report to the party's general-secretary