Repeal of 8th Amendment was most important news story of 2018 according to Core Cultural Index

Stories that generated greatest public awareness included ‘Beast from the East’ and the looting of Lidl

Brexit only placed 35th on the list of most important stories


The repeal of the Eighth Amendment, the CervicalCheck story and homelessness were the three most important news stories in Ireland in 2018. This is according to research undertaken over the past 12 months as part of the Core Cultural Index 2018, compiled by Ireland’s largest marketing communications company, and based on the views of 10,000 participants discussing 198 news stories across 20 categories.

Core’s research asked interviewees which stories they deemed most important, and of which they were most aware. Analysis of the responses indicated that the top ten stories for public awareness captured the attention of over 90% of the population, with stories in March relating to the ‘Beast from the East’ dominating the list. These included the looting (and subsequent re-opening) of Lidl, and the selling out of slice-pan bread as a result of the snow.

Another brand-related story that scored well in awareness was Ryanair’s cancellation of flights due to staff strikes in June – on a par with the World Cup in Russia and the wedding of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle.

Stories that received less attention included the announcement of the winner of Love Island, Facebook’s decision to change its newsfeed settings, and Westlife saying they were ‘speechless’ after tickets to their Croke Park concert sold out in 10 minutes.

While the most important stories often did not rank as highly in terms of public awareness, participants highlighted the importance of stories focusing on social issues, particularly with regard to women, health and housing. Despite being consistently in the news, Brexit only placed 35th on the list of most important stories, as younger adults have been less engaged with the ongoing developments around the UK’s exit from the European Union.

In sport, the most important story was the victory of the Irish men’s rugby team’s over New Zealand, followed closely by the death of footballer Liam Miller and the Belfast rape trial. In technology, while participants highlighted the importance of child safety and data privacy (including GDPR and the hacking of Facebook), fewer people were aware of these stories.

Other stories that resonated strongly and scored highly for awareness included the death of Dolores O’Riordan in January, and the opening of the first Krispy Kreme outlet in Blanchardstown in October.

Finian Murphy, Strategic Planner at Core, says: “While search engines can show us what information people are looking for, and social media can show us what people are sharing, the Cultural Index is unique in allowing us to understand which news stories have the greatest emotional connection with Irish people.  

“Often we ignore the quiet and personal stories that resonate most with people, and focus more on the stories that get the most attention. But we cannot ignore the stories that impact on people personally – these influence the fabric of our culture.”

Top 10 most important stories of 2018

  1. May-18: Eighth Amendment is repealed from Constitution
  2. May-18: HSE apologies over CervicalCheck
  3. Nov-18: Number of homeless adults living in emergency accommodation rose in October by 130
  4. Apr-18: CervicalCheck story
  5. Jan-18: Research finds one third of children are in regular contact with strangers online
  6. Apr-18: The Eighth Amendment is debated
  7. May-18: Justine Valdez abducted and murdered
  8. Jun-18: Children’s Ombudsman warns about ‘invisible’ homeless children
  9. May-18: 13-year-old boy charged with murder of Ana Kriegel
  10. Feb-18: Homelessness increases again


Top 10 stories with greatest awareness in 2018

  1. Feb-18: Lidl is looted during the snow
  2. Feb-18: The Beast from the East
  3. Jun-18: Boys football team rescued from Thailand cave
  4. Feb-18: Bread sells out during the snow
  5. Jun-18: Ryanair cancel flights due to strikes
  6. Oct-18: Michael D Higgins re-elected as President
  7. Nov-18: Ongoing Brexit negotiations
  8. Jun-18: World Cup takes place in Russia
  9. May-18: Royal Wedding takes place
  10. Jun-18: Ireland has its longest heatwave since 1976


Core is a collective of nine practices – Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy.

Core has been voted Agency Network of the Year for the last six years at the Media Awards and the company was also recently voted one of the top workplaces in Ireland by the Great Place to Work Institute for the ninth year running.