NI Office scouts for comms chief

The Northern Ireland Office is hunting for a new comms director following Robert Hannigan’s move to boost the department’s political operation.

Hannigan, who has been in the post for more than three years, is to switch to the political directorate.

The move comes as a fresh round of talks start over re-establishing the devolved government in Northern Ireland, involving Tony Blair, Irish PM Bertie Ahern, Northern Ireland secretary Paul Murphy and the leading political parties.

The office aims to have a replacement for Hannigan in place by the autumn.

The role, which commands a salary of around £80,000, is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Government’s communications work in Northern Ireland.

Hannigan’s successor will oversee a team of 30, including a deputy director, and will work closely with Murphy and 10 Downing Street.

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