Justice and Taoiseach's departments cease advertising on X/Twitter in 2023

Justice And Taoiseach's Departments Cease Advertising On X/Twitter In 2023
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that his own Department has spent ‘zero’ on advertising on X - formerly Twitter - in 2023. Photo: PA Images
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Gordon Deegan

The Department of Justice has spent nothing on advertising public awareness campaigns on Elon Musk’s ‘X’ social media platform this year.

In new figures provided to Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly TD in a written Dáil reply Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that his own Department has spent ‘zero’ on advertising on X - formerly Twitter - in 2023.


This followed his Department spending a cumulative €159,926 on advertising in X/Twitter in the prior four years including €15,064 in 2022, €55,558 in 2021 and €88,854 in 2020.

In his written Dail reply, Mr Varadkar stated that the bulk of the expenditure over those years related to the dissemination of information related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a separate reply, the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD (FG) confirmed that zero monies have been paid by her department to X formerly Twitter this year for advertising on public awareness campaigns.

This follows the Department of Justice paying €10,309 in 2022, €5,226 in 2021, zero in 2020 and €1,238 in 2019.


In her written reply, Ms McEntee said her department “selects media channels based on their suitability to deliver our communications to relevant people".

She said: “The public awareness campaigns currently underway by my Department are not promoted on X. My Department has also not incurred any expenditure advertising on X/Twitter in 2023.”

The confirmation that the two senior Government departments ceased advertising for public campaigns on X/Twitter this year comes as X/Twitter this week disputed claims by Minister McEntee that it did not engage with Government on the recent Dublin riots.

X’s global government affairs account stated this week on the platform that it had taken action on more than 1,230 pieces of content under its rules relating to the riots that occurred on November 23rd.


X officials met the social media regulator, Coimisiún na Meán, a day after the riot, on November 24th, to discuss its response, it said.

The X post stated: “The gardaí did not make any formal requests to us until late Monday, 27th November. We responded promptly.”

Before this week relations between X and Government had been frayed with its billionaire owner Elon Musk opposed to the proposed hate speech legislation and last week claiming in a post that the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, “hates the Irish people”.

In separate figures provided by An Tánaiste Micheál Martin to Sinn Féin TD O’Reilly, he confirmed that his Department of Foreign Affairs has paid X/Twitter €10,347 for the first 11 months of this year.


The €10,347 outlay is a fraction of the €60,440 paid by the Department of Foreign Affairs in advertising to X for 2022 and €49,773 for 2021.

In his reply, An Tanaiste stated that as with other Government departments, the Department of Foreign Affairs engaged the services of PHD Media for the purposes of advertisement placement and reaching audiences across a number of mediums including digital advertising, print media, radio, outdoor and TV.

In his role as Minister for Defence, the Tanaiste stated that X was paid €9,091 this year which was done by the Office of Emergency Planning to highlight the Be Summer and Be Winter Ready Campaigns.

Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan TD told the Sinn Féin TD that the Department of Transport has not placed paid advertisements on X since early 2023.


Minister Ryan stated that €5,775 was paid to X for advertising in 2023 and €9,155 in 2022.

The Minister for Education, Norma Foley confirmed that the spend by the Dept of Education on advertising on X totals €940 for 2023 compared to €4,230 in 2022.

However, separate figures provided show that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has this year increased its advertising spend on X.

Heather Humphreys told Ms O’Reilly that €42,320 has been paid in advertising to X to date in 2023 and this is double the 2022 spend of €21,271 and also well ahead of the 2021 spend of €29,242.

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