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Fianna Fáil’s decision to avail of former Fine Gael agriculture minister, Ivan Yates for communications advice has been endorsed by the county’s Clare TD.

As reported by The Irish Mail, Yates was hired by Fianna Fáil in an advisory capacity to improve its political message.

Newly appointed Head of Communications with Fianna Fáil, Siobhán Russell made the move to appoint the Wexford man.

Since leaving politics in 2001 at a time when he was among the favourites to replace former Taoiseach John Bruton as Fine Gael leader, Yates began a career as a bookie and later a broadcaster with Newstalk and Virgin Media, he co-presented The Tonight Show with Matt Cooper which was produced by Ms Russell.

His new company, Media Masterclass is believed to charge €1,500 for the day-long class, with the option of paying an extra €450 for a personal Zoom call and a grilling on a topic of your choice.

Among the politicians to attend one of his workshops was Clare TD, Cathal Crowe (FF). He said that in the wake of the 2020 General Election, several members of the party’s communications team left the offices to take up new roles with Ministers leading to “a total erosion” of their communications team.

Deputy Crowe outlined that Siobhan Russell is now leading the rebuilding of their communications team. “All political parties go outside their own staffing to enhance media skills. I first underwent Fianna Fáil media training over a decade ago as a councillor. It is no surprise to have media or pr gurus advising the party, Ivan Yates just happens to be on this occasion”.

Crowe confirmed to The Clare Echo that he attended one workshop with Yates for three hours on media interview skills. “I found it good. This isn’t unique, there is interest this time is because it’s Ivan. I think it was good because he understands the inter connected worlds of media and politics. He was a hard ball interviewer himself, he played out interview scenarios with those of us in attendance”.

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