Taoiseach's Dail speech grabs the headlines globally
THE image of Ireland, and in particular of our politicians, has taken a battering in the international media over the past 24 months.
Sporting and cultural successes have gone a long way towards improving this image, but our economic and political woes have remained the subject of headlines around the globe.
Talk of bailouts and bankers has dominated the news across the world.
When Enda Kenny stood up in the Dail on Wednesday to deliver a speech on the Cloyne Report, nobody anticipated either its content or the reaction to it -- both in Ireland and internationally.
In less than 48 hours, more than 1,000 articles had been published in over 800 publications in 64 countries around the world, referencing the Taoiseach's speech.
To put these figures in some context, the coverage is more than double that in the wake of Brian Cowen's infamous interview on 'Morning Ireland' last September.
In addition to news agencies such as Reuters and AP -- who by covering the story ensured its global spread -- many international agenda-setting publications wrote about the speech.
These included the BBC, CNN, 'The New York Times', 'San Francisco Chronicle', the 'Financial Times', 'The Wall Street Journal' and 'The Sydney Morning Herald'.
The online editions of several Irish and international titles published full transcripts.
Mr Kenny's speech also sparked a strong reaction from the public -- as reflected in tweets and blogs on the internet -- as well as a high volume of readers' comments.
In a week where Mr Kenny's ratings reached their highest level since he took over as leader of Fine Gael in 2002, it is clear from the coverage of his speech that his popularity is not confined to Ireland.
In addressing such a sensitive topic in such a decisive manner, the Taoiseach ensured Ireland made global headlines for the right reasons.
Stephen O'Leary is a media analyst at O'Leary Analytics, an online media monitoring and analysis company