2013 The year Rory reveals: Actually, I really feel more like an American...
Published 06/01/2013 | 06:00
Ireland takes up Presidency of the EU. To mark the occasion, Europe's leaders present the cabinet with novelty commemorative mugs and unveil plans to benchmark the EU's top government, banking and public service posts against those in Ireland. Germany's Angela Merkel gushes: "What you've achieved took great neck, if that's the English word I'm looking for."
To send another signal to Europe that Ireland takes its EU Presidency seriously, all government and public service buildings have been painted with go-faster stripes. A union spokesperson says: "This will form a major plank of Croke Park II."
The Y2K bug is discovered in a hospital, 13 years after it was thought eradicated on January 1 2000. Some victims of the so-called Millennium Bug hide under their beds in fear of falling aircraft, while others form syndicates to buy holiday homes in Bulgaria.
Nursing bodies already hit with pay cuts say this is the last straw and announce their withdrawal from the Irish market. A HSE spokesperson says: "We've planned for this day. The nurses were a financial black hole, draining money from the administration side. From now on we'll be concentrating on our highly profitable hospital car-park business."
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar declares The Gathering "a complete triumph", despite the best efforts of "begrudgers" to derail it. On St Patrick's Day he announces that, applying the grandmother rule, over three billion people have taken part so far, dozens of them in Ireland itself.
The Minister says: "Wherever two Irish people shake hands anywhere in the world, or Skype each other, or just wear a green jumper, that all counts as part of The Gathering. If there's no place for wishful thinking in this country, well sod that." Newly appointed as the Minister for New Announcements, Varadkar also announces that he's preparing "the most comprehensive list of new announcements" Ireland has ever seen.
An exasperated Pat Rabbitte clarifies the Labour Party's position on election promises. He tells the Irish people: "You're supposed to be the most sophisticated electorate in the world, so would you ever cop on! What part of 'it was just a throwaway remark' don't you understand?" He adds that if politicians are to be held accountable for their promises "the whole system would collapse".
Blaming "public opinion gone mad" for making Ireland look "ungrateful" to the French and Germans, Enda Kenny warns: "If the people don't regulate public opinion responsibly, the Government will be forced to step in with legislation."
With hundreds of rural garda stations closing, the police authorities launch a nationwide series of seminars entitled Taking The Law Into Your Own Hands. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice announces an investigation into claims that gardai have been secretly nominating favoured sports stars, celebrities and judges for the People Of The Year Awards.
Speculating that these could be the actions of "one do-gooder, like Batman", Justice Minister Alan Shatter assures the public: "It is perfectly legitimate for gardai to acclaim deserving public figures, but there is no place for blatant flattery."
Mary Lou McDonald is appointed the new leader of Sinn Féin after a ballot of the party's parliamentary party rubber-stamps a secret decision made back in 2004. Gerry Adams announces that he will not be stepping down as party leader since he is not, and never has been, a member of Sinn Féin or any other republican organisation.
Nationalists and Loyalists join forces on the streets of Belfast in a flag protest, after golfer Rory McIlroy declares he "feels" more American than Irish or British. He explains: "My accent has been leading me that way for a while, and I'm happy to go with the flow."
The Oireachtas embraces the annual summer 'silly season' with its usual gusto, although the mood darkens when Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett tells Deputy Ming 'Luke' Flanagan: "I don't like the cut of your jib." This prompts head-scratching and a walk-out. Order is restored when members set up a joint Oireachtas committee to investigate the meaning of the word 'jib'.
One FG TD also seeks clarification of the term "the elephant in the room". He complains: "There were no elephants in the room when I was first elected and personally I've never seen one. If this is the price we have to pay for multiculturalism I'm against it and so are the people I represent."
After a 9-0 defeat by an Albanian schoolgirls' team in a warm-up friendly, travelling Irish fans boo Giovanni Trappatoni off the pitch. The manager complains that the burden of expectations placed on his shoulders have been too high. He says: "When this game was arranged I promised that I would get this hapless Irish team to Albania, which I did without a single piece of luggage going missing. Anything after that was going to be a bonus."
To mark the fifth anniversary of the bank guarantee scheme in 2008, Ireland's banks hold a one-day-only 'Celtic Tiger Crazy Giveaway', offering customers cheap finance for 30-tier wedding cakes and first communion helicopter hire, plus 110pc mortgages with no questions asked. (Minimum applicant income level €200,000 per annum. Always read the small print.)
After a newspaper labels him "accident-prone", a furious Health Minister James Reilly tells the Dáil: "I am not accident-prone. On the contrary, I am too big to fail." Minister Reilly adds: "Let me assure my constituents that even if I was ever accident-prone, I intend to have the best medical facilities in Ireland close at hand. That's a promise – and not just one of those pretend election promises that Pat Rabbitte was talking about."
Regaining his composure, the Minister announces that next year's Cork Jazz Festival and Galway Arts Festival will take place in his north Dublin constituency.
RTÉ announces that Pat Kenny, Joe Duffy and Marian Finucane are to be sold with immediate effect on the grounds that "they're an extravagance". Others to face the axe will be selected by a text poll of listeners, who'll be presented with a shortlist of the most irritating wafflers on radio and TV.
With The Late Late Toy Show coming up, Ryan Tubridy will be let go quietly in the lull after Christmas to avoid upsetting the nation's children.
Wishing them well, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte says: "I really, really wish there was something we could do, but, you see, it's the bloody troika again ... "
As the year ends there are no takers for Kenny, Finucane or Tubridy, but Joe Duffy's Liveline is snapped up by Ireland's small band of CB radio enthusiasts whose regular callers include Rubber Duck from Drimnagh and Smokie Bear from 1976.
Lawyers for a number of senior bank executives succeed in having the 'get out of jail free' card removed from the standard Monopoly game sold in Ireland. They argue that potential jurors exposed to the cards over the Christmas may be prejudiced, and that owing to the huge popularity of the game in Ireland, all judicial investigations into the banking sector should be dropped as a matter of urgency.
As the last person leaving the country turns out the lights, the ESB hikes its standard reconnection charge by 18pc.