Nurses strike year’s top news story

The nurses strike, the Amazon rainforest fires and the death of RTÉ broadcaster Gay Byrne (above) were some of the most important news stories in Ireland during the past year, research undertaken for the Core Cultural Index 2019 shows. The findings are based on the views of 10,000 participants discussing 176 news stories across nine categories.

Core’s research asked interviewees which stories they were aware of across the year and which they believed were most important to them personally. Analysis of the responses showed the top 10 stories for public awareness captured the attention of over 80 per cent of the population, with stories on health, climate and local news dominating the list.

Top 10 most important stories of 2019:

  1. Nurses strike
  2. Amazon rainforest fires
  3. New Zealand mosque shooting
  4. 39 bodies found in trailer linked to Irish company
  5. Hurricane Lorenzo on course towards Ireland
  6. Terror attacks kill hundreds in Sri Lanka
  7. Two boys found guilty of murder of Ana Kriegel
  8. Journalist Lyra McKee shot dead in Derry by New IRA
  9. New Children’s Hospital costs increase
  10. Local and European elections and referendum

Stories around health and well-being topped the list with 94 per cent of Irish people aware of the nurses strike and 87 per cent saying it was important to them. In addition to the nurses strike, another health related story that scored well in awareness was the cost of developing the new Children’s Hospital being built on the campus of St James’s Hospital.

Top five health and well-being stories:

  1. Nurses go on strike
  2. Children’s Hospital costs increase
  3. HPV vaccine campaigner Laura Brennan dies aged 26
  4. HSE launch HPV vaccine programme to include boys in secondary school
  5. HSE warns people about Meningitis

Climate change and the green movement also scored high in awareness with 90 per cent aware of the Amazon rainforest fires while 85 per cent said it was important to them. It happened two months after the Green Party won significant seats in the local elections and a month after Europe experienced one of the highest heatwaves on record.

Similarly, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who Time magazine has named its Person of the Year, generated a greater consciousness about our planet. The story resonated strongly with 78 per cent aware she addressed the UN in September, while 72 per cent of young adults – people under 40 with no children – regarded it as important.

Top five green and climate change stories:

  1. Amazon rainforest fires
  2. Hurricane Lorenzo on course towards Ireland
  3. Heatwave across Europe
  4. Europe experiences heatwave
  5. Greta Thunberg speaks to UN about climate crisis

Global stories that scored well in awareness included the Christchurch mosque shootings where two consecutive terrorist shooting attacks resulted in 51 people being killed, capturing the attention of 90 per cent of people. Another tragic story that generation much interest was in October when 39 bodies were found in a trailer linked to an Irish transport company.

Top five global stories:

  1. New Zealand mosque shooting
  2. 39 bodies found in trailer linked to an Irish company
  3. Terror attacks kill hundreds in Sri Lanka
  4. Nora Quoirin’s body is found in Malaysian jungle
  5. Plane crash involving Emiliano Sala

Stories in Irish life that dominated the list included the murder trial of Ana Kriegel with 88% of the population aware of the outcome. The story has ignited the debate about bullying, pornography and teenager’s use of mobile phones as a result. Other stories that resonated with the people of Ireland was the murder of journalist, Lyra McKee who was shot dead in Derry by the new IRA.

Top five local stories of 2019:

  1. Two boys found guilty of the murder of Ana Kriegel
  2. Journalist, Lyra McKee, shot dead in Derry by new IRA
  3. Local and European elections and referendum take place
  4. Young men die in tragic Donegal car crash
  5. The annual Darkness into Light walk takes place

In culture and entertainment, the top story was the death of Gay Byrne.

Nine in 10 Irish people were aware of Gaybo’s passing followed closely by the death of comedian Brendan Grace. Entertainment stories that received less attention included the Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney clash, the sale of Coppers Face Jacks, Spice Girls playing in Croke Park and the announcement of this year’s Love Island contestants.

Finian Murphy, marketing director, Core, said Ireland’s culture is influenced by traditions from the past, but also stories of today. Irish people read, watch, listen and share news stories which shape thinking and the culture of the nation. Core analyses monthly news stories, by asking people what stories they were aware of and what connected best with them.

For Cultural Index 2019 in full, go to


Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy