The election on the web - a selection, with emphasis on dot ie

Obama did it in the US three years ago – now Ireland is having its first fully digital election. We will be sampling the digital offering of campaign news and views, and after 25 February will assess just how important the internet and other platforms were in influencing the outcome.

For the first time, news, commentary and current affairs websites are a developed presence in an Irish general election.

Four years ago, online was a scattered and low-quality sector. There were blogs and discussion boards, of varying quality and accessibility. All the main news organisations (RTE, the Irish Times, the Independent group) had websites, but were still learning how to use them. The middle ground was still pretty empty.

Since then, the emerging .ie has come to embrace websites from the serious end of the spectrum, through a range of aggregators, to a flurry of celebrity sites.

And the election has also spawned or accelerated political analysis sites such as, a joint project by a number of political academics at third-level institutions.

This weekend it featured a piece questioning the logic of Labour's 'Gilmore for Taoiseach' posters, with Eoin O'Malley of Dublin City University arguing that it made more sense for Labour to aim for leadership of the opposition during the next few painful years. "This would mean that it could not be blamed for the inevitable cuts that any incoming government will have to implement and can hold off any threats from the left flank – Sinn Féin and ULA," O'Malley writes.

For a lighter take, has very little political news, akin to the tabloids' treatment of the political scene. There was a straightforward explainer piece about the 18,000 or so registered postal voters, referring in passing to the issue of the three million Irish passport holders living abroad who are not allowed vote in Irish elections., a straightforward news aggregator site, had a poll to find what is the most popular political song to have emerged during the campaign so far. Dublin candidate Mannix Flynn has a rap.

Mannix has even made it to the international music site,, a blog, featured footage of Enda Kenny's heckling at his vital townhall meeting in Leitrim, which was subsequently outed as a stunt by 'Bobby Channels', the heckler, who is associated with a spoof councillor and election candidate called Terry Ghusto.

And on's Irish Business Blog, Lisa O'Carroll revived the Fondue Fiasco, when a junior Fianna Fail minister told the country late last year that free cheese would be distributed to the deserving around the country. O'Carroll used a photo of a message, complete with cheese slice, that one disgruntled Cork voter had left on the front door for canvassers. This led into a piece on the rise in mortgage interest rates, spearheaded by Permanent TSB, this week. Cheesed off? That's only the half of it.