The 2020 news before it happens: trials, elections, festivals

Awards, elections, trials, boycotts, summits and festivals over the coming year


January 1st: European Commission deadline for Ireland's National Energy and Climate strategy. With high per-capita greenhouse gas emissions, Ireland is ranked 41st out of 57 countries in the global 2020 Climate Change Performance Index, trailing Belarus.

Budget 2020 has now kicked in: A carbon tax adding 2 cent to a litre of petrol and diesel; a €5 increase in the Living Alone allowance; and a €15 increase in the earnings disregard for One-Parent Family and Jobseeker’s Transitional payments.

The vacant site levy also rose this week, from 3 per cent to 7 per cent, which will affect, among others, the Office of Public Works (OPW), which owns 30 vacant sites.

The Judicial Appointments Bill is expected to pass the Dáil this month after narrowly passing through the Seanad. Senator Michael McDowell has criticised it as unconstitutional.


The Central Criminal Court trial continues of Aaron Brady, a Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, man charged with murdering a garda more than 6½ years ago at a credit union in Louth.

January 3rd: Greta Thunberg leads global climate strikes on her 17th birthday. Greenhouse gases have risen 4 per cent globally since 2015.

January 5th: Golden Globes awards, hosted by Ricky Gervais. Irish interest centres on Saoirse Ronan and Andrew Scott, nominated for Little Women and Fleabag respectively.

January 6th: Harvey Weinstein goes on trial in New York charged with rape and sexual assault. Revelations in 2017 of his alleged sexual misconduct sparked the worldwide #MeToo movement. A settlement last month will not affect this trial.

January 7th: Jamie Quilligan (23) appears before Cork District Court charged with robbing a petrol station armed with a machete.

January 8th: Dundalk woman Lisa Smith appears at Dublin District Court by video-link from Limerick Prison, charged with membership of Islamic State.

The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition takes place at Dublin’s RDS.

January 10th: A penumbral lunar eclipse is visible over Ireland.

Kinahan cartel associates Irishmen Gary Vickery (36) and Daniel Canning (41) appear at Cannock Magistrates Court in the English midlands charged with conspiracy to import drugs worth over €5 million, as well as arms offences.

January 10th: School secretaries mount a one-day strike in a bid to end a two-tier pay system which union Fórsa claims results in them earning less than €12,500 a year.

January 11th: Taiwan's general election, with independence-minded Tsai Ing-wen expected to retain the presidency.

January 13th: Deadline for the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive. Also the day by which the new Tory-dominated Westminster must regulate to provide for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.

January 14th: Dublin District Court trial begins of William Garnermann, accused by Dublin City Council of creating a nuisance by feeding wild pigeons at his home on Manor Street.

January 17th: The trial begins of Soldier F, accused of murdering James Wray (22) and William McKinney (27) in Derry on Bloody Sunday, 1972.

January 21st: Wicklow County Council decision on former Anglo-Irish Bank chief Sean FitzPatrick's application to build a new house.

World Economic Forum annual meeting begins in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

January 25th: Edward Bransfield, a forgotten Irish master mariner who made the first confirmed sighting of the Antarctic continent, is commemorated by a monument in Ballinacurra, east Cork.

January 27th: In The End, the final album from Limerick band The Cranberries, is up for Best Rock Album at the Grammy Awards in LA, just over two years since the death of lead singer Dolores O'Riordan.

January 31st: The UK is due to leave the European Union, entering a transition period due to last until the end of December.

That day a three-month period of emergency accommodation on Achill Island ends for 38 asylum seekers. Due to protests by 150 people on the island, none have arrived.

Also on January 31st, the Peter McVerry Trust takes over Avalon House on Aungier Street, Dublin, with a view to turning it into a 30-suite hub for homeless families. Protests led by Cllr Mannix Flynn stymied plans to house 100-plus rough sleepers there.

Today also sees the eviction of over 20 adults and children from properties in Fairview Avenue, Dublin, owned by Galway-based firm Everyday Finance DAC.


US astronaut Christina Koch returns to Earth after 335 days in the International Space Station, the longest ever recorded by a woman.

Scouting Ireland’s interim safeguarding manager Ian Elliot to submit to the Minister for Children a report into 995 allegations of historical abuse at the organisation.

February 1st: After another disappointing World Cup, Ireland's rugby team dusts itself off for the Six Nations championship, beginning at home to Scotland.

February 2nd: Retirement of Dr Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland archbishop of Armagh and the primate of All-Ireland.

February 3rd: Sentencing hearing at the Central Criminal Court of Alexander Whelan (19), convicted of the manslaughter of Italian national Bruno Rolandi in a "domestic incident" in Offaly in 2017.

February 4th: Proceedings begin against former South African president Jacob Zuma, charged with more than 18 counts of corruption linked to a multibillion arms deals dating to the late 1990s .

February 7th: Sentencing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of Garda Sean Lucey, convicted of assaulting an RTÉ cameraman during street protests in Dublin three years ago.

February 8th: Opening ceremony for Galway's year as European Capital of Culture. The festivities are the culmination of a week-long celebrations of Imbolg (February 1st, also known as St Brigid's Day).

February 9th: Academy Awards, featuring Gaza as Ireland's entry for Best International Feature Film.

February 14th: First full meeting of the new Citizens' Assembly on gender equality on St Valentine's Day.

In Sydney, Irish men Nathan Kelly and Christopher McLaughlin appear at New South Wales Supreme Court charged with the murder of a 66-year-old indigenous man in Sydney.

February 25th: Proceedings begin to extradite Julian Assange, currently on remand at Belmarsh Prison, to the US, where he faces 18 charges.

February 28th: Sentencing of Joshua Allen, son of celebrity chef Rachel Allen, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in connection with the possession of €22,000 worth of cannabis at Ballymaloe Cookery School.


In Cork, An Board Pleanála decides on an appeal to Cork’s Events Centre, long dogged by delays involving the developer BAM.

Commercial Court proceedings begin in which Virgin Media is seeking an injunction banning Eir from broadcasting free Virgin Media channels on its new Apple box.

Repossession by Allied Irish Mortgage Bank of the Clontarf, Dublin, home of Mick Wallace MEP. Priory Hall developer Thomas McFeely to exit bankruptcy.

The Book of Kells again goes on public display at Trinity College Dublin, after a gap of four months.

March 13th: The five-day St Patrick's Festival starts, featuring a festival village in Dublin's Merrion Square, and gigs at Liberty Hall Theatre and the National Concert Hall.

March 20th: Centenary commemorations begin in Cork marking the War of Independence. On this day 100 years ago Cork's lord mayor Tomás MacCurtain was assassinated by RIC officers. The year also saw death of his successor Terence MacSwiney on hunger strike, and the burning of Cork.

March 26th: Mick McCarthy's Ireland team travel to Bratislava for a Uefa Euro 2020 qualifying play-off semi-final against Slovakia. Ireland play Bosnia or Northern Ireland away in the playoff final. Euro qualification would bring a much-needed cash boost for the FAI.

Quarterly European Council summit in Brussels, with the EU budget, trade talks, Nato, and Russia high on the agenda.

March 31th: Westminster deadline for new legislation governing the provision of abortion services in the North.

Also due is the inquiry report examining the €45 million sale of Siteserv to media billionaire Denis O'Brien in 2012.


Construction begins on the €15 million Midleton-Youghal Greenway in east Cork.

The Environmental Protection Agency releases its a wideranging State of the Environment Report, released every four years.

Reopening of Dún Laoghaire baths.

April 30th: Deadline under the Government's €3 billion national rural broadband plan for the opening of the first of 298 digital hubs offering free high-speed internet access at libraries, schools, community centres and sports clubs.


EU-western Balkans summit in Zagreb, Croatia, exploring EU intentions in the region following the French veto of Albanian and North Macedonian accession.

May 1st: Fashion boycott by Extinction Rebellion.

May 7th: Election for London's mayor and some other English councils, an early test of Tory support on the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day – the surrender of Nazi German commanders to American and Soviet representatives.

May 9th: The 133rd All-Ireland senior hurling championship begins, sporting a new yellow sliotar.

May 11th: Sentencing at Hamilton Sheriff Court in Scotland in the case of former Ireland footballer Anthony Stokes, the subject of harassment orders by his ex-girlfriend.

May 12th: Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Hungary has withdrawn.

May 20th: Elections in Burundi amid claims of intimidation by the ruling party. The 2015 election sparked a coup, violence and an ongoing refugee crisis.


Department of Health to release abortion figures from 2019.

The first of 100 cases against the State from patients alleging they developed narcolepsy from the swine flu vaccine.

Redundancies begin at Cork Harbour pharmaceutical company Novartis. Some 320 job losses are sought out of a 550-strong workforce.

June 10th: G7 summit at Camp David, Maryland, US,featuring six European leaders and those of the US, Canada and Japan. The White House insists climate change is not on the agenda.

June 12th: Uefa Euro 2020 soccer championships kick off across 12 countries. Dublin's Aviva stadium will host four matches.

On the same day, the South American equivalent, the Copa América, begins.

June 13th: Sunstroke Festival begins in Punchestown, Co Meath.

June 14th: Full dossier on on glyphosate to be submitted to the EU's Member States Assessment Group. The weedkiller is facing bans in several EU states. Irish local authorities and Coillte spray over a tonne annually.

June 21st: The three-day Body and Soul festival ends on the summer solstice.


Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven – the world’s oldest – begins its tricentennial celebrations.

Construction to begin on Dublin City Council’s proposed €23 million white-water rafting and polo pool facility at George’s Dock.

July 17th: Planned launch of Nasa's Mars 2020 mission to study the habitability of Mars in preparation for future human missions.

July 24th: Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Irish hopes centre on Gary and Paul O'Donovan, Thomas Barr, and Annalise Murphy.


Humpback and silver-back whales visit Ireland’s southern coasts.

Forty years from the murder of John Lennon, his killer Mark Chapman comes up for parole in New York.

August 7th: Deadline for acceptance of new "round zero" CAO offers for mature students.

August 30th: End of the annual ban on hedge-cutting and burning.

The All-Ireland Football final takes place at Croke Park amid continuing controversy over unqual funding of the GAA in Dublin and other counties.


Secondary schools to provide 400 Junior Cycle hours for Wellbeing, which combines CSPE, PE, SPHE, and Personal Educational and Vocational Guidance.

September 4th: Electric Picnic in Co Laois plays host to 70,000 people, seven times its original capacity

September 30th: Report due from a commission looking into the funding and regulation of Irish public service broadcasting.


CSO publishes suicide statistics for 2018. Over 300 men and 73 women committed suicide in 2017.

Full pay restoration due for all public service personnel earning up to €70,000.

October 31st: The second full moon of the month, also known as a blue moon. The next one will fall in 2023.


India plans a third attempt to land on the moon with the launch of Chandrayaan-3.

November 3rd: US presidential election.

November 9th: COP26, a UN climate summit, begins in Glasgow, Scotland.

November 21st: Croke Park marks the centenary of the 1920 Bloody Sunday with the second leg of the International Rules series with Australia.

Saudi Arabia hosts a G20 summit.


Exhumations begin at the former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway. The Bon Secours has committed €2.5 million to the cost of exhumations, estimated at up to €13 million.

An Post staff due move to temporary premises due to renovations at the GPO.

ESB due to close its peat power plants at Shannonbridge, Co Offaly, and Lanesborough, Co Longford. Peat produces 9 per cent of Irish emissions (agriculture produces over 30 per cent).

December 31st: Current public sector pay agreement expires. Today is also the deadline for Irish Water to have cleaned 18 water supply schemes currently at risk of bacteria.

Finally, the transition agreement between the UK and the EU is due to end, sparking fresh fears of a no-deal Brexit.