PRII Certificate for Public Sector Communicators

Public Sector Organisations may operate at arm’s length to Central Government but they are a key element of public administration in Ireland. They operate in specialised areas of public service provision or the regulatory infrastructure yet all face similar service delivery and communications challenges. 

Start Date 24 September 2018
Course Dates 24 September 2018
25 September 2018
22 October 2018
23 October 2018
Presenter Alex Connolly FPRII,
Head of Communications at Fáilte Ireland, previous Head of the National Press Office, HSE
Venue Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, D.2
Fees PRII Members €1560
Fees PRII Non-members €1890

Communications Officers working in this environment have a uniquely challenging role, working to meet the expectations of colleagues, stakeholders, service clients, the wider public and the media, they have to balance a complex set of demands. 

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for communicators working in public agencies, in local government or semi-state organisations. Anyone working in a Public Relations or communications function (both external and internal) in this sector (excluding Civil Service Departments – see PRII Certificate for Civil Service Press Officers). 

Learning Outcomes

This programme will provide you with;

  • the skills to create and develop a communications strategy and plans in support of your organisation’s objectives;
  • the practical day-to-day skills necessary for PR in a busy communications office - from  responding to media requests to organising press conferences;
  • the ability to identify, prepare and respond to the needs of various audiences, including stakeholders and staff;  
  • the expertise and confidence to lead and advocate for improved communications within your organisation. 
  • a clear and thorough understanding of the Irish media landscape across print, on-line and broadcast platforms at both a national and regional level;
  • the ability to identify, prepare and respond to potential news stories from Governmental material such as Parliamentary Questions and FOI requests; and
  • the expertise to comfortably execute the demands of your role.

Topics Covered:

  • Making the case for communications in a public sector body — opportunities and challenges;
  • What does a typical public sector communicator need to do their job?;
  • Establishing a communications function within a public sector body, functions of a communications office - media monitoring and measurement to press queries;
  • Media Landscape and Communicating for Impact;
  • Proactive (pitching and promoting) and reactive (incoming queries and issues management) PR;
  • The journalistic environment - the needs of journalists across, print, broadcast, and online media, deadlines, dos and don'ts of interacting with them;
  • Developing relationships and processes to respond quickly to media requests and developing good relationships with media;
  • Stakeholder engagement within the public sector and effective stakeholder communications;
  • Stakeholder mapping and the channels available to reach stakeholders;
  • Internal Communications;
  • Planning and developing a communications strategy;
  • Building key relationships with other agencies and relevant bodies

Course Director:

Alex Connolly FPRII, is Fáilte Ireland's Head of Communications. He is responsible for developing a strong communications capability within Ireland’s national tourism development authority as well as ensuring that Fáilte Ireland's key messages are communicated effectively both outside and within the organisation.

A Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, Alex previously worked at a senior level for many years within the health services having served as Head of the National Press Office with the Health Services Executive (HSE), as a director of Communications with the former East Coast Area Health Board and as a Senior Press Officer in the Department of Health and Children.

Alex holds a Higher Diploma in Education from the University of Dublin, Trinity College and an M.A. in English Literature from University College Dublin. 


Courses are taught by a combination of intensive and participative classroom sessions which include a variety of approaches including lectures, group discussion and practical exercises / case studies, along with personal study.

Teaching takes place between 9.30am – 4.30pm on Monday and Tuesday 24, 25 September and Thursday and Friday 11,12 October 2018.

Classes are supplemented by contributions from industry guest speakers who share their expertise and practical experience of the issues touched on in lectures.

Participants are encouraged to share their experiences and question presenters and guest speakers.

Assessment & Accreditation:

Assessment is by continuous assessment taking account of attendance and participation in class.

Participants are encouraged to apply learning from the readings, modules and discussions and show how these apply to their own work situation and public sector communications challenges.

Final assessment is by way of a 3,000 word case study / report-style assignment applying the learnings to forthcoming initiatives (real or imagined).

This assessment must be completed and submitted six weeks after completion of the course.

This course is accredited by the Public Relations Institute of Ireland - the professional body for communications and PR in Ireland.

The PRII Certificate for Public Sector Communicators will be awarded on successful completion of the course assessment.


Queries should be addressed to Annmarie Jordan at Turn on Javascript! or call (01) 661 8004.

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