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Taxpayers foot €2K bill for three-hour mayor media lesson

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Lord Mayor Nial Ring

Lord Mayor Nial Ring

Lord Mayor Nial Ring

The Mansion House has forked out more than €2,200 in taxpayers' money for a three-hour media training session for Lord Mayor Nial Ring.

The training module delivered by former presidential candidate Gavin Duffy included him conducting an interview with Mr Ring.

After the interview, Mr Duffy delivered his verdict on the responses made by the north inner city councillor.

When contacted over the €738-an-hour payment to Gavin Duffy and Associates, Mr Ring said he had not known the cost before agreeing to the training session.

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In total €2,214 was paid for the one-to-one training, according to expenditure details obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Gavin Duffy

Gavin Duffy

Gavin Duffy

The payment was made out to Dorland Training Limited T/A Gavin Duffy and Associates on July 18, 2018.

Dublin City Council, which oversees Mansion House spending, said such training is offered to all those who are in office at the Mansion House.

"Given the profile of the office, each incoming lord mayor is offered media training during the first few weeks of their term of office," a statement from the council said.

Mr Ring told the Herald the training took place on the morning of Monday, July 9. It was conducted before Mr Duffy launched his presidential campaign last year.

The media guru received the lowest number of votes of all six candidates in the race.

While Mr Ring said he was taught some useful tips during the training, he believes the cost is something that the council should review in future.

"If I had been informed of the cost of it, I would never have availed of that offer," Mr Ring said. "I don't want to impede on anything the next lord mayor does but from the point of view of value for money, it's something the council could look at."

Asked if he learned much from the training, Mr Ring said "there were some useful tips".

When asked about Mr Ring's comments, Mr Duffy said his business charges €1,800 for a three-hour session but would not comment further, citing client confidentiality reasons.

It's understood the figure he quoted is before VAT.

On the Gavin Duffy and Associates website, details of the media training are provided.

"Media interview training shows you how to plan your strategy and deliver your message in a calm, confident and memorable way," it says.

"It helps you to understand the journalist's game plan, and allows you to respond with an effective one of your own."