At approximately 2.30pm yesterday, Tuesday October 2014, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan TD took to his feet to announce the details of Budget 2015.
At Olytico, we monitored and analysed the reaction on Twitter to the Budget, its contents and changes.
We focused on the two main hashtags associated with the 2015 Budget (#Budget2015 and #Budget15). We tracked their use for 12 hours (midday to midnight) to capture the build-up, the Budget speech itself and reaction to it.
Key Numbers (midday to midnight, October 14th 2014):
Over 32,000 tweets published using the hashtags #Budget15 or #Budget2015
Over 10,000 unique Twitter accounts used the hashtags
Potential Reach of over 7.7 million users.
The word cloud below represents the Top 100 topics of conversation on Twitter, based on the 32,000 tweets sent yesterday (the larger the word the greater number of mentions).
The word cloud gives a strong insight into some of the major themes of online conversation.
Although two departments, – Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform – are involved in delivering the Budget, it is Minister Noonan that appears most prominently in the conversations on Twitter, almost three times as often as Minister Howlin.
The topic of taxation of alcohol, cigarettes and petrol are typically major talking points. This year’s social conversation is no different, with all three terms appearing in the word cloud above. However, it is other terms such as ‘water‘, ‘teachers’ and ‘Christmas’ that give an insight into the other Budget issues that got people talking online:
Water – The introduction of a water charge subsidy by the Government lead to the word ‘water’ appearing in over 1,200 tweets – putting it in the Top 20 words overall.
— Will Goodbody (@willgoodbody) October 14, 2014
‘Teachers’ – Minster Howlin’s announcement of the creation of 1,700 new teaching posts led to the word ‘teacher’ appearing in over 400 budget tweets yesterday.
1,700 new teachers announced – important for investment Irish education #budget15
— Ibec (@ibec_irl) October 14, 2014
‘Christmas’ – The partial return of the Christmas bonus resulted in over 400 tweets.
25% Christmas bonus this year, not guaranteed next year
Children's allowance up €5 per month
Living alone allowance up to €9#Budget15
— Ken Curtin (@kencurtin) October 14, 2014
Political Parties and Politicians
In addition to the two Ministers, other politicians also featured prominently in the Budget conversation on Twitter:
Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Féin) was asked to leave the chamber by the Ceann Comhairle.
Mary Lou McDonald accuses Ceann Comhairle of bias and is asked to leave the chamber – the enitre SF parliamentary party follows… #budget15
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) October 14, 2014
McGrath also features in the wordcloud, and reflects the comments of both Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael, and independent TD Finian, who dubbed the 40c hike on cigarettes, “the Nidge tax”
Independent TD Finian McGrath dubs the 40c hike on cigarettes "the Nidge tax" #Budget15
— Today FM News (@TodayFMNews) October 14, 2014
As the budget speech was being read most of the major Irish media outlets were live tweeting the details and reaction:
Michael McGrath on corporation tax: I hope the Irish football team in Gelsenkirchen show a lot more resistance to German pressure. #budget15
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) October 14, 2014
1,700 new teaching posts – 920 mainstream teachers, 480 resource teachers, 365 SNAs – announced #budget15
— TheJournal.ie (@thejournal_ie) October 14, 2014
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) October 14, 2014
— Independent Business (@IndoBusiness) October 14, 2014
In addition to the mainstream media, the Budget was also a topic for more light-hearted media commentary, with both Colm Tobin and Waterford Whisperers News both appearing in the Top 100 terms:
I miss those giveaway budgets of the McCreevy era. He'd stand there on the steps of the Dáil power-hosing everyone in champagne. #budget15
— Colm Tobin (@colmtobin) October 14, 2014
Noonan denies putting 1 billion of budget on bet with Merkel that Ireland will beat Germany tonight in the football #Budget15
— WWN (@WhispersNewsLTD) October 14, 2014
Glory in Gelsenkirchen
While the Budget was the main talking point in Ireland up until 7pm last night, the performance of the Irish football team in Germany quickly shifted the conversation. It was little surprise to see the two topics merge after John O’Seas last minute heroics sealed a point for Ireland.
Germans look shell-shocked. Hope it wasn't something in the #Budget15
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) October 14, 2014