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Leo has borrowed an idea or two from Dragon's Den for this new video

Fancy making a ‘pitch’ on how to improve the country to a panel of Fine Gael ministers?

LEO VARADKAR HAS been coming under fire in recent weeks over the activities of his  Strategic Communications Unit – but that hasn’t stopped the Taoiseach from launching a slick new marketing pitch of his own.

The Fine Gael leader is starring in this ’Dragon’s Den’ style video in a bid to attract more members to his party. It’s titled ‘Make Your Pitch’.

Varadkar explains that he wants to hear from people interested in joining his party – but particularly, people with good ideas.

Perhaps playing the role of ‘Dragon’ Gavin Duffy (who moderated last year’s Fine Gael leadership debates), Varadkar is promising to listen to ideas put forward by new members of the party.

“It can be something big that will make a difference to the whole country, or something on a smaller scale that will improve your local community,” the video intones.

Fine Gael wants to hear from people who “petition, discuss, who tweet, who organise, who inform and who inspire others”.

Filling out the rest of the panel of would-be Dragons will be Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Heritage and Gaeltacht Minister Josepha Madigan and European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee.

People can make their pitch in a short online video.

The best ideas will then be pitched live to the panel of politicians at an event which will be broadcast live on Facebook.

It’s doubtful the Taoiseach will be committing any of the pitched ideas on the spot (in fact, there’s no commitment that the ministers will back any of the pitches).

leo1 A still from the new video. Source: Fine Gael

The whole campaign has a whiff of gimmick about it, but Fine Gael is assuring people that this is just a new way for the party “to hear a cross section of pitches on all sections of Irish life” and to “attract new members of all ages and all backgrounds.”

In a week where the Taoiseach’s style of communications is under the spotlight, there’s little doubt the opposition will have a thing or two to say on his party’s latest attempt to market itself online.

If you haven’t been keeping up to date with the controversy over the Strategic Communications Unit, by the way – the unit has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks as a result of the fallout from a government advertising campaign around the Ireland 2040 plan.

Questions were raised last week about how advertorials in newspapers were presented during the €1.5 million rollout of the plan. The Ireland edition of The Times reported that regional newspapers were directed by an ad agency to ensure the ads appeared as regular news items.

The Taoiseach admitted yesterday that the debate around his unit was becoming a distraction, telling the Dáil:

I appreciate that the unit that I set up to better explain how government works and what it does has now become a distraction from the work of government.
I appreciate that mistakes were made, that controls were too loose and as a result, problems arose.

Read: Leo admits ‘mistakes were made’ and ‘controls were too loose’ with his communications unit >

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