The Public Accounts Committee is to invite the secretaries general of the Departments of the Taoiseach and Public Expenditure to discuss the business case for the establishment of the Government's Strategic Communications Unit.

The SCU has been at the centre of a controversy over recent paid advertorials in newspapers for Ireland 2040, the National Development Plan.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane also proposed that the committee hear from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the head of the SCU.

However, committee chairman, Fianna Fáil's Sean Fleming, said they should start with the accounting officers of the two departments.

Fianna Fáil TD Shane Cassells told the committee that there was clearly "a misuse of public money" in the advertorial campaign for Ireland 2040 and 'that demands to be answered'.

He said the fonts used by the papers in the paid advertorials were the same as those used in the news articles.

"The fact that it was flippantly tried to be disregarded by the Taoiseach in the Dáil is a goddamn disgrace. If we think that the Government can buy the news, not going to happen in this State," Mr Cassells told the committee.

Social Democrat's Catherine Murphy said the committee should examine the business case for the setting up of the SCU.

Labour TD Alan Kelly said the civil servants who were brought in to staff the unit were moved from other departments, and queried the cost of this "down the line".

"Essentially we need to go through the business case, the costs associated with it and the recruitment process … we need to see if taxpayers' money was appropriately utilised," Mr Kelly said.