Newsaccess Media Intelligence was commissioned by the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) to undertake a Media Analysis of the Formation of the 32nd Dáil. Newsaccess undertook an in depth media analysis with a specific view on election coverage across the key period (Mon 2nd May – Thurs 12th May) which finally witnessed the formation of a government in Ireland.

Newsaccess tracked all key press publications & websites, alongside all leading social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.).  From this bank of information, Newsaccess have ascertained which parties / leaders were mentioned most frequently during the evaluation period, as well as the sentiment of these mentions in terms of tonality.

As one might expect the two leading political parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, dominated column inches, followed by Labour and then Sinn Féin.

Water charges are still at the forefront of the public’s mind according to Newsaccess Twitter analysis, with the vast majority of tweets being negative in tone towards both parties, but especially Fianna Fáil who had a significantly higher volume of negative tweets aimed their way.

In terms of sentiment Fine Gael had an edge over Fianna Fáil, who received slightly more negative press than positive press.

While the Independent Alliance & Rural Alliance did not get as much coverage as some of the political parties, they scored the highest in terms of sentiment from the media with a higher positive percentage than the parties in the running.

Media coverage peaked the day following announcement of interparty agreement (May 5th).

Findings for Print:

Fine Gael was the Party most frequently mentioned during the analysis period. Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil were mentioned in the press over 900 times each, however not all of these articles referred to the election which took place. In terms of articles relating to the election, see breakdown below:

Fine Gael & Enda Kenny – 723 press articles

Fianna Fáil & Micheál Martin – 597 press articles

Labour & Joan Burton – 209 press articles

Sinn Fein & Gerry Adams – 177 press articles

Overall coverage for both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil peaked on May 5th following the release of the interparty agreement for government on May 4th.

Labour mentions peaked on the 11th May with Joan Burton announcing her resignation as Labour party leader on the previous day. Sinn Féin generated a marginal amount of press articles, 177, across our monitoring period, as it became increasingly clear that they would not be part of the ruling coalition in the 32nd Dáil.

Findings for Social (Twitter focus):

Unlike print media social platforms gives the public an opportunity to react in real time to breaking news stories.

As part of the research that contributed to the white paper, Newsaccess monitored Twitter mentions across the 2nd to the 10th of May in relation to the formation of the government. The two leading parties were mentioned in very high volumes of tweets, over 11,000 each in Ireland.

When focusing solely on the water charges issue, Fianna Fáil were mentioned in 75% more tweets than Fine Gael during the analysis period, with both parties receiving in the region of 90% negative tweets.

Following the release of the details of the interparty agreement for government on May 4th, negative tweets peaked for both parties, with almost 3 times as many negative tweets directed at Fianna Fáil over Fine Gael on that day.



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