In a busy news month, the two stories which had the most impact on Irish people in October both centred on strike action.
The threat of Garda industrial action loomed large over the Irish public, with an Ignite Score of 75. The vast of us (89%) were aware of the plans for 10,500 rank-and-file Gardaí and 2,000 Garda sergeants and inspectors to withdraw from work, while it scored a high importance of 84.
The ASTI Teachers’ strike was also to the fore of peoples’ minds, but with a lower impact score of 65.5. There was a similar level of awareness for both strikes, but the Teachers’ strike was not considered quite as important. However, the gap between the two stories was narrower among those aged 35-49, who are more likely to be the parents of the 250,000 students directly affected by closures.
Global humanitarian crises
Three major humanitarian crises around the world dominated media attention in October. Irish people were very engaged with the dismantling of the Calais Jungle migrant camp, with an impact score of 57.5 and high awareness and importance. At the end of the month, the Dáil began debating Ireland’s response to the 1,616 unaccompanied minors still left at the camp, with some activist groups calling for the state to take in 200 children.
Similar awareness and importance was attributed to the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Bahamas and the U.S. The storm impacted greatly on Haiti, where several Irish charities have worked since the 2010 earthquake.
While the plight of civilians trapped in Aleppo was considered the second most important story this month, there was a comparatively low awareness of the latest developments in the complex Syrian civil war.
Big commercial news had less impact on the public
Although there was extensive business coverage of the removal of Marmite and other Unilever products from supermarket shelves over price rows, it seems that with a score of 38.5 with both low awareness and importance, Irish consumers were less engaged with the issue.
On the other hand, there was stronger engagement on reports of safety issues with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 with high awareness, but it was considered less important than many other prevalent stories from the month.
US President Election not important
While 93% of the Irish public were aware that we were heading into the final weeks of the U.S. Presidential election, it was considered somewhat less important than many less prevalent stories. Although 81% of those asked were aware that Kim Kardashian had millions of dollars worth of jewellery stolen in an armed robbery in Paris, its importance was only 35%.
Budget 2016's big giveaway had a relatively low impact on the Irish public, scoring only 49.4. Just over half of people under 35, who are the main target group for the initiative, were aware of it. However this group considered the topic to be somewhat more important than their older counterparts did.
Remembering Number 8
Ireland was rocked by the news of the sudden and tragic death of Munster rugby head coach Anthony Foley in Paris while away with the team for a match, with men and women of all ages across the country feeling the impact similarly.
While only two thirds of Irish people knew of the deaths of elderly deaf brothers Daniel and William McCarthy, those who were aware considered it to be among the most important news of the month. With activist groups for the deaf and the elderly calling for greater support for those in similar situations, it seems that a portion Irish people are concerned with how our society interacts with our isolated elderly.