#ge16 Louth Newspapers – Sinn Féin & Ged Nash Big Winners

Constituency map of Louth General Election 2016


Each week we are going to examine how the main media outlets in Louth report on #ge16 and matters pertaining to it. This week we looked at the three traditional Louth newspapers – The ArgusDrogheda Independent and Dundalk Democrat – from 2 & 3 February. These papers all went to print before the election date of Friday 26 February was officially called. The elected representatives per political party break down as follows; 

Louth Publicly Elected Representatives
Elected Reps – Louth Papers

FINDINGS – DROGHEDA INDEPENDENT – Munster & Nash Feature Strongly

  • Nash (again) & Munster get a lot of coverage and it is very positive coverage.
  • Fianna Fáil feature negatively or not at all – Pg 11 does an election spread and features Labour, Sinn Féin, Fine Gael, Independent Kevin Callan and even DDI but no mention of Fianna Fáil.
  • Politicians are protected from local issues. All of the stories below made page 2 & 3 and obviously concern local residents quite seriously. Residents made contact with the Council about these matters and claim to have been ignored. However, the paper has no comment from local politicians.
    • Lourdes Hospital – Helipad
    • Rathgory Road – Dangers on Road
    • Moneymore Path – Mudbath
  • However, the proposed €800,000 repair bill spending on a controversial historical monument, got the attention and comments of two local Councillors and featured on page 2. This must be where elected representatives priorities lie.
  • Split in Fianna Fáil, while in on page 9, gets a lot of coverage.

FINDINGS – DUNDALK DEMOCRAT – Sinn Féin Steal Limelight &  Nash Credited with Dunleer Fire Station

  • Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams TD feature very strongly here. The story on Gerry’s wax model gets 2/3 of a page whereas, just beside it, Peter Fitzpatrick’s election launch gets half that coverage. Is this relevant?
  • However, the story I wrote on Fitzer’s launch – see here – differs greatly from that of the Democrat.
  • They give Ged Nash credit for the Dunleer Fire Station while the Argus gives that to Peter Fitzpatrick.
  • The strike at DKIT gets a small word count on page 2 and no politician comments – strange given its importance to the region.
  • Adams is portrayed very well in the Woodlands eviction story.
  • Sinn Féin launch gets a lot of coverage – 2 pages with large photos.

FINDINGS – THE ARGUS – This Time Fitzer gets Credit for Dunleer Fire Station 

  • Adams does well on Woodlands.
  • Peter Fitzpatrick got the new firs station for Dunker, apparently.
  • Fianna Fáil split covered again.
  • The strike at DKIT gets a small word count on page 2 and no politician comments – strange given its importance to the region.
  • Quite light this week on politicians.
  • Mary Moran launch buried on page 24.
  • 1916 Louth launch – Savage gets a lot of coverage here as County Chairman.
Louth papers findings
Louth papers findings
Louth papers findings
Louth papers findings
Louth papers findings
Louth papers findings

The focus of this analysis is different to the last analysis as it looks at what and how each newspaper decided to cover a story. Therefore it will not be as simple as the last round – how many times was a candidate’s name mentioned – instead it looks at the main sections of each paper (News, County News and Election coverage);

  • Number of times a story was given to one candidate/party.
  • Number of times where majority of story is given to one candidate/party.
  • Main stories could a politician have been asked to comment on, but weren’t.
  • Front Page lead.

Next week’s edition should prove more interesting as they will have covered the start of the official campaign. And even more interesting as the weeks progress.


About Peter Kearney 10 Articles
Freelance Journalist

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