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Storm Lorenzo, a shock court ruling, and microplastics: The most read articles on this year

Thank you for reading.

AS EACH YEAR draws to a close, we pull together a list of the most-read articles on

There’s always a couple of surprises, but the 2019 list reveals a particularly disparate range of pieces. They either represent the biggest stories, the information you – our readers – wanted to seek out, or the stories that struck a chord.

Here’s the top 10 most read – thank you for reading.

1. Who is my local councillor? Here is a full list of all the seats

count 317 Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

  • Views: 798,895

Cast your mind back to May and you might remember the local and European elections, which saw – predictably – Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil come out on top as the largest parties, but with Sinn Féin taking a significant hit and the Green Party rising up the ranks as part of the European-wide ‘greenwave’.

Hundreds of thousands of you checked in on this handy resource, put together by team, which shows every councillor elected across the country, broken down by location. It might be worth clicking in now to get a refresher on who your local politicians are…

2. Poll: Would you support sanctions against Turkey over its assault in Syria?

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  • Views: 589,453

Surprised to see this near the top of the list? So were we.

In October, Turkish troops poured over the Syria border in a new offensive against Kurdish forces in the north of the country. The Kurds – inhabiting what’s considered to be the world’s largest stateless nation – were considered a key player in the fight against the Islamic State.

However, the Turkish government don’t see it that way: Erdogan has long been an opponent of Kurdish nationalism, and Kurdish militias are viewed as a security risk along the border. Once Donald Trump unexpectedly pulled US forces providing support to the Kurds out of the area, Turkey went in.

This results of this poll are skewed wildly in favour of a yes vote – receiving 96.3% of the votes – having been shared among anti-Turkish or pro-Kurdish groups.

3. Irish teenager wins global science award for removing microplastics from water

Fionn Ferreira / YouTube

  • Views: 445,133

The Irish public has a huge interest in seeing young people lead the way in the field of science, and Fionn Ferreira’s achievement was no exception.

From Ballydehob in west Cork, Fionn was named the overall winner of the 2019 Google Science Fair, a prestigious annual global science competition in July.

His project examined a new method for extracting microplastics (plastic particles less than 5mm in diameter) from water. At present, no screening or filtering for microplastics takes place in any European wastewater treatment centres, and as the amount of plastic in our oceans is likely to grow before the problem is brought under control, Fionn’s solution could prove to be vital.

4. Shock ruling says citizenship cannot be granted if applicant has spent a day outside Ireland in past year

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  • Views: 427,591 was the first to publish this surprise ruling. The judge’s decision left thousands of people scrambling for information about their future in Ireland.

To sum it up: foreign nationals wishing to naturalise as Irish have to be legally resident in the State for at least five years out of the last nine (or three out of the last five if married to an Irish citizen). This includes one year of “continuous residence” in the 12 months up to the date of application.

Previously, there was some discretion allowed. Mr Justice Max Barrett took a very literal view of the legislation, and ruled that no discretion was permitted.

The ruling was later overturned in the Court of Appeal.

5. Boil water notice issued for 600,000 people in parts of Dublin Kildare and Meath

shutterstock_1049160185 Shutterstock / Wojmac Shutterstock / Wojmac / Wojmac

  • Views: 384,928

This quickly turned into a major headache for Irish Water.

The boil notice was issued in October for thousands of Irish Water customers after it was suspected that the disinfection process at the plant in question may have been compromised. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that Irish Water failed to respond promptly to alarms which activated at the plant.

The boil notice soon returned due to bad weather - and it could happen again.

6. Post-mortem to be carried out on body of Nóra Quoirin in Malaysia

nora-quoirin-2 Lucie Blackman Trust / Family Lucie Blackman Trust / Family / Family

  • Views: 375,655

On August 4, Irish teenager Nóra Quoirin was reported missing by her family.

What ensued was a major search operation in dense jungle to find the 15 year old, involving hundreds of people and backed by helicopters, drones, sniffer dogs, and divers.

However, after ten days, the family received the news they had been dreading.

Nóra’s parents believe that questions remain over their daughter’s death, and met with Irish government officials earlier this month to appeal for an in-depth inquiry to be carried out.

7. Ana Kriegel case: Boy A given life sentence with review after 12 years. Boy B sentenced to 15 years, with review after 8

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  • Views: 286,205

This was the most high-profile case of the year, and one of the most unprecedented, resulting in a conviction that made Boy A and Boy B the youngest murderers in the history of the State. They were sentenced in November.

In her victim impact statement, Ana’s mother described how loving a teenager she was, and said that their life without Ana “is no longer, nor is it even an existence”.

How can there by any solace in this conviction for any of us? Ana’s death is irreversible. reporter Garreth MacNamee was present in court throughout the trial – he spoke to The Explainer podcast about the experience.

8. ‘I am not going to stay in country where this is allowed’: Couple from supermarket ad leave Ireland after online abuse


  • Views: 280,338

Fiona Ryan, her fiance Jonathan Mathis, and their 22-month-old son Jonah appeared in an ad campaign for German supermarket chain Lidl earlier this year.

This led to them being subject of abusive and racist online posts.

The couple spoke to The Late Late Show about their intention to leave Ireland after the abuse, which included a death threat.

9. Storm Lorenzo: Emergency group chair says we don’t need to stock up on bread and bottled water

3435 Storm Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

  • Views: 272,735

If Ireland even gets a whiff of a status red weather warning, we’re off to the shops to strip them of essentials, and so we had to be held back when Storm Lorenzo was announced.

It was one of the strongest hurricanes on record in the eastern or central Atlantic and one that brought back memories of Ex-Hurricane Ophelia.

It was a serious storm in early October, resulting in the damage you’d expect from gale-force winds, but the impact was relatively minor, with no deaths and few injuries.

Met Éireann – who, at the time, couldn’t rule out a status red warning – later pointed the finger of blame at the media for hyping up the storm. Evelyn Cusack also explained the thought process inside the forecaster in the run-up to the storm.

10. Man (60s) and woman (30s) killed in two-car crash in Dublin

download (7) Cllr Alison Gilliland Cllr Alison Gilliland

  • Views: 266,858

This crash took place in the early hours of a morning in March, just before a tree-lined avenue in Drumcondra, Dublin.

Both of the deceased were the sole occupants of their vehicles.

Now turn the clock back: What were you reading about five years ago?