Individual portfolio: Pamela Duncan (Irish Times Data)

Individual portfolio: Pamela Duncan (Irish Times Data)

Organisation: The Irish Times (Ireland)

Publication Date: 04/10/2015



1. Sinn Fein’s Money: Making details of 14,879 individual political donations filed over a 20-year period publicly accessible is no mean feat. Although the filings made by Friends of Sinn Féin, the Irish political party’s fundraising wing, are publicly available on the US Department of Justice website the format and quality of the records make them effectively inaccessible to those seeking to calculate the amounts given by individual donors. Over a period of four months I worked on uploading and cleaning the filings before enlisting the help of journalists Erin McGuire, Ciarán D’Arcy and Zara Zhuang to help check each line of information, 60,000 cells in all, and create an electronic spreadsheet which now allows anyone to search, sort and analyse the data set. The full methodology for the project can be seen here: The spreadsheet formed the cornerstone for a wider collaborative project with US-based Irish Times journalist Simon Carswell. 2. Data raises concerns of ethnic segregation in Irish schools: An investigation by Irish Times Data examined whether long established school admission policies were causing segregation in Ireland’s primary schools. The analysis of the State’s 3,286 primary schools for the 2013/14 school year found that just 23 per cent of primary schools educated almost four in five immigrant children. In a small number of schools more than two-thirds of pupils were recorded as being of a non-Irish background while, on the other end of the spectrum, 29 per cent of Irish primary schools had no immigrant-origin children enrolled. The article was accompanied online with an interactive map showing the percentage breakdowns of school pupils in every Irish primary school allowing readers to access information on schools in their area in an accessible and user-friendly way. 3. Is your name going out of fashion? 10 years of data provided by the Irish Central Statistics Office showed the varying popularity of Irish boys’ and girls’ names in that period. The information was fed into an easy-to-use interactive graphic to allow readers to see whether their name remained (or ever was) fashionable. Readers could also download the wider data sets containing over 3,800 babies' name registered in Ireland between 2004 and 2013 (2,184 girls' names and 1,665 boys' names in all). The tool proved a huge hit attracting almost 200,000 clicks to date. 4. Ireland’s guilty secret: enumerating the deaths in Ireland’s mother and baby homes This series of stories did not generate interactives, maps or graphics but were stories which were nonetheless data-driven. In 2014 Galway historian Catherine Corless revealed that 796 children died in a Galway Mother and Baby home between 1925 and 1960. The home was one of several such institutions where unmarried mothers and their children were housed from the 1920s onwards. Analysis of records contained in the Local Government and Public Health reports housed in the National Library of Ireland and the original returns, kept on file in the Department of Health, uncovered 2,001 further deaths which occurred in addition to the Tuam deaths. In one institution - Pelletstown in Dublin - 662 infants and children died in the seven-year period to the end of March 1930. 5. Most homes for people with disabilities fail to meet standards An in-depth analysis of inspections reports carried out by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) revealed that just 2 per cent of nearly 200 hundred residential centres for people with disabilities complied fully with regulations when checked by inspectors while over a fifth failed to fully comply with any of the regulations inspected by the body.
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