Neale Richmond is one of those people that every time he opens his mouth shit comes out of it.
Fine Gael’s top tweeting TD Neale Richmond has said social media influencers should be paid €20,000 to educate young people about Covid-19.
And Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris has told Dublin Live there’s money in the pot.
The government is desperate to get through to youngsters as crowds gathered to rave outdoors over the weekend in a Covid hotspot.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the government needs to “intensify” the effort in communicating with young people stating influencers could be the key to hitting home the message.
Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has called on the government to “invest in and prioritise proper communication” which he says is vital in battling a second wave.
He said spending €20,000 or more would be “a drop in the ocean” compared to what has been spent already.
He told Dublin Live: “It is good that the Taoiseach has identified the possibility of using social media influencers going forward.
“If needs be the Government should invest in the key figures that feature across platforms such as tiktok and snapchat to spread the message of how to tackle Covid19.
“As effective as the Taoiseach or figures like Simon Harris have been in engaging with so many, we should realise that there are simply better, non political, communicators on the social media that have the reach.
“We don’t need politicians or public health experts inadvertently talking down to young people or indeed people of any age but we have to be comfortable enough to outsource this messaging where needs be.”
Minister Simon Harris has said social media influencers seem to be willing to help out with communicating important Covid messages to young people.
But said there is a budget there to pay them if that is what is necessary.
He told Dublin Live: “We’re at a moment where the Covid pandemic where it’ll really benefit us to ask everybody and anybody who has an audience, a reach to help get the messages out.
“We’re at a crucial moment, we really need all hands on deck.
“I think that would be really, really good.
“It could help save lives.
“I’ve heard lots of people with large platforms willing to help.
“There are budgets there, whether it’s necessary or not I’m not sure.”
Mr Harris said it is “not inevitable” that the country could end up witnessing the high death rate and Covid cases like we did in April.
He said there’s a window now where people can try “turn it around again.”
He said: “The only way we’re going to get everybody to buy into that is by making sure we have as many different people as possible and echoing those messages to reach everybody.
“Whether that audience is on TikTok or Twitter, anybody that has a platform we need them to try and use that platform to talk to people of all sorts of different ages.”