Covid among Core’s top stories in 2021

The HSE cyber attack, Covid-19 and the Taliban seizure of power in Afghanistan among this year’s most important news stories in Ireland, a study undertaken by Core indicates. The research was based on interviews with 12,000 adults discussing 200 news stories. Interviewees were asked as to which stories they thought were the most important to them.

The top 10 stories captured the attention of up to 81 per cent of people, with stories about Covid-19, housing, climate, social issues and sport. The top five pandemic stories related to restrictions easing in April, Omicron variant detected in Europe, the June re-opening, the easing of restrictions in March and Delta becoming the dominant variant in June.

The top five general news stories this year were the HSE cyberattack, the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan, the Budget announcement, heatwaves nationwide and Electric Ireland raising prices of gas and electricity for the second time in four months. The top business story of the year was Ulster Bank’s announcement that it was leaving the Irish market.

Glenisk fire

Next up on the business story front was the news that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp had gone offline for a number of hours, followed by the headlines about the fire that gutted the Glenisk yogurt factory near Tullamore in Co Offaly. Core found that 67 per cent of people in Ireland were aware of the incident and three in four of them said it was important.

The two other top business stories of the year involved the Government announcing code of conduct to give employees the right to disconnect and Davy being fined €4.1 million after senior staff benefitted from bond trade. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar coming under investigation after leak of confidential documents emerged as the most important news story of the year.

Also making the top five political stories were President Higgins declining an invitation to the church service in Armagh marking the creation of Northern Ireland, questions asked about the appointment process of Katherine Zappone, the Zappone party raised questions about Covid-19 guidelines and Arlene Foster standing down as the North’s First Minister.

Boxer Kellie Harrington’s gold medal win in Tokyo was the top sports story, followed by Denmark footballer Christian Eriksen suffering cardiac arrest during a match at Euro 2020, Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy winning Olympic gold, England footballers being subjected to racial abuse and Euro 2020 kicking off with games across various countries.

Top five pop-culture stories of 2021:

  1. Late Late Toy Show raises over €6 million for charity
  2. Britney Spears conservatorship terminated after 13 years
  3. Electric Picnic 2021 is cancelled
  4. Harry & Meghan – Oprah interview
  5. Dublin City Council approves Garth Brooks Croke Park concerts for 2022

The full Core report is at


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