Labour Senator and General Election candidate Ged Nash has lashed out at the government for a prominent advertising campaign launched this week promoting the new 30c rise in the minimum wage, which comes into effect on February 1.
Referring to a front page advertisement in today’s edition of the Sunday Business Post, Nash said the government were “wasting public money on their latest spin campaign.”
The advertisement has ran in a number of other national titles today while a digital campaign is also concurrently running online with a similar version of the same advertisement. Nash said this “takes the biscuit.”
“Minister Regina Doherty needs to explain why her Department is lavishing money on massive promotional ads right in the middle of an election campaign,” he wrote in a statement. “We need to know how much money that are wasting on their latest spin campaign.”
The Senator, who lost his Dáil seat in 2016 who is running again this year, previously served as the Minister for Business and Employment and he raised the minimum wage to €9.15 shortly before that election.
But Nash, who had established the Low Pay Commission in his time at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, says the difference between what he did and Minister Doherty’s actions is the “lavish” promotional campaign that has accompanied the latter.
“The difference between Labour and Fine Hael is we didn’t abuse tens of thousands of euros belonging to the taxpayer by taking out glossy ads in Sunday newspapers to tell everyone about it.
“There’s nothing wrong with public information campaigns highlighting important changes people need to know about, but this takes the biscuit,” he added.
Weeks before the 2016 election, I hiked the minimum wage.
I didn’t use lashings of taxpayers money on massive ads in the Sundays to tell voters all about it.
This abuse by Fine Gael need to be reined in.
(The Strategic Communications Unit hasn’t gone away, y’know). pic.twitter.com/JPVFdW45zU
— Ged Nash (@geraldnash) January 19, 2020
The Drogheda-born representative accused Fine Gael of being “obsessed with spin and image” and said they had “no shame” in spending public money for political gain. “They have crossed the line again, abusing taxpayers money to ingratiate themselves with voter less than three weeks from polling day.”
Nash called on the Secretary General of the Taoiseach Martin Fraser to instruct all departments to cease all but essential public service advertising before the election.
On the first weekend of General Election 2020 campaigning, all Louth candidates were out and about across Saturday and Sunday canvassing in seemingly every corner of the county. Nash was in Drogheda helped by volunteers including Labour Cllr Pio Smith and Deputy Mayor of Drogheda Michelle Hall.