While the fingers are being pointed and denials of any wrongdoing abound concerning the Project Ireland 2040 advertising in both national and regional papers – there is one solution. There’s no need to set up a committee to investigate what happened when we already have an instrument to deal with this – the Advertising Standards Authority.

They set-out, clearly, the rules governing the treatment of ‘advertorials’ in newspapers. Section 3.33 states ‘Advertorials should be clearly identified, should be distinguished from editorial matter and should comply with the Code’.

Furthermore in a ruling against Irish Life and IN&M in 2016 where an advertorial was marked ‘Commercial Report’ the committee dealing with the complaint concluded ‘the Committee considered that the wording ‘Commercial Report’ had not clearly indicated that the material was advertising’. I’m sure that someone in one of the political parties is considering such a complaint.Full details here.

And, as FF et al try and blame FG and their spin unit, spare a thought for the Newspaper advertising departments who let this happen! Any advertising staff worth their salt would know that this contravenes the Code and should have had it pulled/amended.