Diarmaid Ferriter: 50 things we’ll need in Ireland in 2017
Priorities include an end to direct provision, child poverty – and Roy Keane’s beard
‘Homelessness should be treated as an emergency and more Nama-owned vacant properties occupied.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne
On this New Year’s Eve, it is time to be ambitious, frank and irreverent, so here is my list of 50 things I think we need in Ireland in 2017.
1 A big slice of nostalgia pie on the centenary of the birth of John F Kennedy in May, to remind us how low our stock has fallen.
2 Those who repeatedly misuse the word “literally” on the airwaves to be chased out of the studios. Literally.
3 Dog owners who refuse to clean up their dog dirt to be deported to Donald Trump’s US for two years; and dog owners who collect their dog dirt and then fling the dirt bag on the ground or into the bushes to be sentenced to four years there.
4 Rural broadband, especially in Longford.
6 Social partnership.
7 Enda Kenny to tell us where we are going and where he is going.
8 An answer to the question of what Brexit means.
9 Sterling to steady.
10 An Irish soccer team comfortably qualifying for the next World Cup.
11 Roy Keane to shave off that horrible beard, regardless of whether the soccer team qualify.
12 News that the Irish North/South bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 has been successful.
14 Nathan Carter to stop performing Wagon Wheel.
15 Helicopter parents who use WhatsApp to stop sending personal messages (supposedly) intended for one member of the class group to all 29 harried and disinterested group members.
16 Croke Park to be full for the women’s football and camogie All-Ireland finals.
17 Mayo to win the All-Ireland football final and put that curse to rest.
18 A ban on wealthy former senior civil servants talking from the south of France about their “moral duty” to warn against Irish public sector pay claims.
19 Fewer doughnut and cake shops opening. We are already far too fat.
20 Chocolate bars to keep getting smaller.
21 The disappearance of protein bars and their propagandists who claim they repair muscle. Boil an egg instead.
22 Fewer food fads and chefs talking about kitchen hell.
23 The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council to be listened to for a change.
24 Much less celebrity depression. Periods of stress, unhappiness, anxiety and feeling down in the dumps or experiencing growing pains do not always equate to depression.
25 Some clarity about the difference between being transsexual, pansexual and gender-fluid. There are many who want to understand this better, including those who are cisgender.
26 Micheál Martin to laugh in public.
27 Those promoting products and services to stop using the words “our passion” in their advertisements. It might be understandable for an artisan bakery, but a phone alarm company insisting “your safety is our passion” is just nauseating.
28 A survey to establish why Kerry cows do not fart, as seemed to be suggested by certain climate-change-denier sleeveens in the Dáil.
29 Climate change to be made a compulsory subject at all levels of schooling.
30 Fair school admission policies that suggest this is a republic.
31 Flood defences that would suggest lessons have been learned from past floods.
32 Michael O’Leary to shut up about everything except Ryanair.
33 People who have not booked train seats to stop sitting in the seats of those who have booked train seats. It is not that complicated.
34 People who revel in doing their business and pleasure loudly over the phone on public transport to be reminded that they are rude, ignorant and arrogant.
35 Cyclists and motorists to kiss and make up and then stay out of each other’s way.
36 Finian McGrath to light up a cigarette at a Cabinet meeting as a contribution to “new politics” and to show that the Independents in government are truly that.
37 House prices and rents to be reduced.
38 Real progress to be made in tackling child poverty.
39 Direct provision centres to be abolished.
40 A break from commemoration.
41 Fewer new words when they are not required. We already have words for “mansplaining”, for example: they include “sexist” and “patronising”.
42 A vibrant RTÉ, not an RTÉ that is an administrative centre for the outsourcing of creative talent.
43 Libraries that are staffed by librarians at all times
44 Christmas in December, not October or November – and no Black Friday.
45 A calm, mature debate on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
46 Homelessness to be treated as a national emergency and more Nama-owned vacant properties to be occupied.
47 Proper recognition and relief for carers.
48 Less photographing the moment; just experience it instead.
49 Less blogging, tweeting, Facebook liking and online immersion; more conversation, eye contact, and embrace of the physical world.
50 The truth to out.