5. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of staff assigned in his Department to the press office, public relations or communications roles in each year since 2015; the positions by staffing grade and designated role; when each new position came into existence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11700/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): There are currently 2.25 whole time equivalents in the press and information office in my Department comprising a shared Clerical Officer, an Executive Officer and an Administrative Officer, who is the designated Press Officer, reporting to an Assistant Principal Officer. These staff are responsible for all press, media, communications and information functions within the Department. In the period concerned, the number of whole time equivalent staffing of the unit has varied year on year, reflecting both the duties in the wider work area and work patterns within the area. In 2015, 1.73 whole time equivalents staffed the unit; in 2016, 2 whole time equivalents; and in 2017, 2.25 whole time equivalents.