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Lise Hand: Portraitgate, Lisbon, abuse reports, floods and F-bombs -- it really was some year

TIS the day after Christmas, when all through the House, not a creature is stirring, not even to grouse. The corridors of Leinster House are deserted as politicians of every stripe are recovering from 2009 -- 12 months described by the Taoiseach this week as "the most difficult I faced in my political lifetime".

But perhaps Brian Cowen shouldn't regard 2009 as his annus horribilis, but as his annus mirabilis -- for many political observers regard it as nothing short of a miracle that his Government has made it through intact into 2010.

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