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Dáil party leaders mentioned in over 108,600 articles since GE11

From ETA’s ceasefire to the Queen’s visit, here the issues that saw members of the 31st Dáil getting media attention over the past 12 months.

The four main party leaders at a service in St Ann's Church, Dublin on 9 March 2011.
The four main party leaders at a service in St Ann's Church, Dublin on 9 March 2011.
Image: AP Photo/Peter Morrison/PA Images

WE’VE HEARD ABOUT the government’s progress in its first year of office and we’ve taken a look back over some of the politics-related hashtags that cropped up over that period.

But which of the TDs has managed to get their name into the papers most often? And for which issues?

Our friends at O’Leary Analytics have been running the numbers on media mentions of the government and opposition party leaders and deputies, both nationally and abroad. Over 170,000 news producing sources around the world were analysed, and the figures charted below indicate spikes in the number of articles published about a particular TD at different points over the past year.

Although you might expect Enda Kenny to lead the field of TDs in foreign media coverage, the numbers returned some surprising results in terms of the other politicians.

Commenting on the results, Stephen O’Leary of O’Leary Analytics noted that while much of the analysis reflected the major events of the past year, “the stand-out spike was in relation to the ETA ceasefire in October”.

“Gerry Adams received significant coverage in the wake of the peace conference in San Sebastian, most noticeably in the international media – with over 4,000 articles published around the globe.”

Party Leaders

Enda Kenny’s election as Taoiseach generated over 10,600 articles mentioning him in March, although the St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington and the announcement of Obama’s visit to Ireland also contributed to that figure.

The Queen’s visit gave Enda a greater boost in international coverage than did Obama’s visit of the same month, while his Budget address to the nation and his exchange with President Sarkozy over Ireland’s corporation tax during an EU summit in March also gave the Taoiseach extra media coverage.

Meanwhile, Gerry Adams’ involvement in the ETA peace process saw him getting additional coverage when ETA announced its ceasefire in October.

Here’s the total number of articles published about each of the four main party leaders worldwide:

  • Enda Kenny (Fine Gael): 64,813
  • Eamon Gilmore (Labour): 16,012
  • Gerry Adams (Sinn Féin): 15,565
  • Michéal Martin (Fianna Fáil): 12,252

Deputy Leaders

Fine Gael’s James Reilly led the field of deputy leaders with a total of 5,453 articles mentioning the health minister between March 2011 and March 2012.

Articles mentioning Reilly peaked between June and July with coverage of a range of health issues such as the closure of Roscommon Hospitals’ emergency department, the break-up of the VHI, and the ongoing National Children’s Hospital saga. Reilly led the field of deputy leaders with a total of 5,453 articles mentioning the health minister between March 2011 and March 2012.

Meanwhile, O’Cuiv’s resignation as Fianna Fáil’s deputy leader bolstered the number of articles referring to him toward the end of that first year of the 31st Dáil.

The designation of cabinet positions on 11 March saw Labour’s Joan Burton getting strong coverage at that time.

The Budget announcement in December saw a jump in the number of articles mentioning Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Independents/Others

(Note: the search for coverage of this portion of the Dáil was restricted to Irish publications only.)

As nominated speakers for the Dáil’s Technical Group, Joe Higgins and Shane Ross came out on top of the list of Independent/Other TDs, as shown below.

The graph below shows Tipp TD Michael Lowry was given a boost early on in the life of the 31st Dáil due to the Moriarty Tribunal findings. He also got a boost in coverage of the super-casino sought for Twomileborris.

Meanwhile, both Mick Wallace and Shane Ross featured more in the press in the wake of the ‘Miss Piggy’ incident in July.

How has the government REALLY done in its first year? This is how. >

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