All the 2019 news that’s fit to print – before it even happens

From Brexit day and Trump meeting Kim Jong-un to public toilets returning to Dublin

US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photograph: KCNA via KNS/AFP Photo

US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photograph: KCNA via KNS/AFP Photo



Budget 2019 measures kick in, including cuts to the top rate of USC, rises in tax-free inheritance thresholds and a rise in the minimum wage to €9.80.

New rules designed to tackle Ireland’s huge puppy farm industry come into force. The rules ban the use of portable crates or cages as kennels. More than 30,000 animals are bred here each year, with up to 500 “battery puppies” found in some intensive farms.

January may see the first GP-led abortion services in Ireland, following the passage of the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill. Legislation is also planned for “safe zones” allowing women unimpeded access to abortion services.

The United States raises tariffs from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on $200 billion (€176 billion) worth of Chinese imports, escalating the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

In Washington, Adam Schiff ascends to the chair of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, having promised to investigate the US relationship with Riyadh after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last October.

California Congressman Adam Schiff. Photograph: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
California Congressman Adam Schiff. Photograph: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

In Dublin, Capital Dock development, the city’s largest residential building, sees its first residents move into its apartments, which fetch rents of €40,000 per year. Commercial tenants include JP Morgan.

Capital Dock, Dublin
Capital Dock, Dublin

January 7th: The Golden Globes take place at the Beverley Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles. The Favourite, an Irish production from Element Pictures, is nominated for five categories, while Monaghan’s Caitriona Balfe is up for best actress for her role in Outlander.

14th: David Duckenfield, the commander of the South Yorkshire Police on duty at the time of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, stands trial at Preston Crown Court on 95 counts of gross negligent manslaughter.

21st: Special Dáil sitting to commemorate the centenary of the First Dáil in 1919, also the first day of the War of Independence, which continued until 1921.

22nd: Proceedings begin in the Friends of the Irish Environment’s High Court case, which accuses the Government of breaching its own 2015 Climate Act.

28th: Sentencing expected in the Special Criminal Court trial of Michael McDermott, who pleaded guilty last year to the murder of dissident republican Peter Butterly.

31st: An Post to close the last of 93 post offices in cutbacks targeting areas with fewer than 500 people, or within 15km of another post office.


Donald Trump is due to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It follows their unprecedented 2018 summit, in which the US president was criticised for unilateral concessions.

February 2nd: Ireland’s rugby team get their season under way with the visit of England to the Aviva Stadium.

4th: A Dublin teenager alleged to have launched a “completely unprovoked” attack on a Mexican national, in 2016, is due to come before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court charged with assault causing harm.

16th: Prof Brian Cox – a physicist from Manchester, avowed Europhile and “heir to Attenborough” – brings his live show, The Universal: Adventures In Space and Time, to the 3Arena in Dublin.

Prof Brian Cox. Photograph: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
Prof Brian Cox. Photograph: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

24th: The 2019 Academy Awards take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Academy Awards. Photograph: Ozgur Donmaz/Getty Images
Academy Awards. Photograph: Ozgur Donmaz/Getty Images

25th: Sentencing expected in the Central Criminal Court trial of a teenager found guilty of the attempted murder of a woman in south Dublin last Christmas.


Social welfare payments, including the State pension, increase by €5 per week.

March 21st: EU summit, with Brexit high on the agenda. Accession talks with Albania and the newly renamed Republic of North Macedonia could open.

25th: The Special Criminal Court trial of Patrick Hutch (26), accused of the alleged murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel, Dublin, three years ago is due to begin.

26th: Ireland’s footballers, under newly returned manager Mick McCarthy and assistant Robbie Keane, start the Euro 2020 qualifiers with the visit of familiar opponents Georgia, with clashes against Denmark and Switzerland also to come.

29th: Barring an extension of Article 50, the UK officially leaves the European Union and enters a transition period.

Under an agreement with Berlin, the UK will continue to withdraw almost all its troops from Germany, leaving just 240 military personnel, down from 25,000 15 years ago.

31st: Ukrainian presidential election takes place amid a smouldering war with Russian irregular troops. The 2014 runner-up, Yulia Tymoshenko, is a leading candidate to topple Petro Poroshenko. Both favour EU and Nato membership.

Yulia Tymoshenko. Photograph: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Yulia Tymoshenko. Photograph: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Judge Patrick Coghlin’s inquiry into Northern Ireland’s controversial Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme – “cash for ash” – is due to report back.


More than half a billion people vote in India’s general election. Early polls predict a cut in the parliamentary majority enjoyed by the NDA coalition, led by the increasingly sectarian Hindu nationalist party the BJP. Further gains by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress-led UPA Party could result in a hung parliament.

The first of Facebook’s 5,000 Irish-based staff are due to move into the former AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge. AIB corporate headquarters and 800 employees move to offices on Molesworth Street in Dublin 2.

Cork city’s 30th bridge opens, spanning the north channel of the river Lee between Merchant’s Quay and Harley Street.

Work is expected to finish on the new six-lane M7 motorway between Naas and Newbridge.

April 1st: The first physical shops begin legally selling marijuana in Toronto, following the ending of the Ontario provincial government’s online retailer’s legal monopoly.

1st: Ryanair is due to begin Dublin-Lourdes flights, part of a new schedule linking the capital with Kyiv and Thessaloniki among others. The airline also begins flights between Cork and locations such as Budapest, Malta and Croatia.

4th: Inquest is expected to reopen into the death of a 35-year-old father of two attacked by a machete-wielding gang at his home in Ballincollig, Co Cork.

15th: Free EU travel pass for 12,000 18-year-olds comes into operation.

21st (Easter Sunday): About 150 redundancies are expected at Bord na Móna, under decarbonisation plans that will see peat harvesting stopped in 17 of 62 active peat bogs.

27th: The White House Correspondents’ Dinner. In a bid to encourage President Trump to drop his boycott, a historian will give the keynote speech, in place of the usual comedic monologue.

29th: Trial expected to begin in the Central Criminal Court of two 14-year-old boys accused of murdering Kildare schoolgirl Ana Kriegel.

30th: Japanese emperor Akihito abdicates, the first to do so in more than two centuries.

Japan’s emperor Akihito. Photograph: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images
Japan’s emperor Akihito. Photograph: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images


May 2nd: Local elections take place across Britain and Northern Ireland, an early chance for the electorate to respond to Brexit.

8th: Earliest of four Wednesdays in May in which South African general election will take place. The opposition Democratic Alliance will hope to gain from the ebbing of ANC support under Jacob Zuma, predecessor to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the incumbent.

President of South Africa Jacob Zuma. Photograph: Phil Cole/Getty Images
Jacob Zuma. Photograph: Phil Cole/Getty Images

14th: Israel hosts the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time, in Tel Aviv. Some pro-Palestinian RTÉ staff refuse to cover the event. A total of 26 countries have hosted the Eurovision, most recently Ukraine, Turkey and Russia.

22nd: An inquest is expected to take place into the death of 16-year-old Reece Cullen, who died in 2017 after he was stabbed in the chest in Tallaght, Co Dublin.

24th: The Spice Girls play Croke Park.

The Posh-less Spice Girls reunion
The Posh-less Spice Girls reunion

24th : Local and European elections in Ireland. Voting across the Continent takes place May 23th-29th, with Brussels on guard against outside interference.

Ireland will have 13 European Parliament seats, taking two seats from the UK share. Sinn Féin and the SDLP are pushing for a further two additional MEPs for the North.

24th: referendums take place for directly elected mayors for Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Dubliners will not get their chance to vote on having a city mayor, however, after the Government referred the issue to a Citizens’ Assembly.

On the same day, voters will probably vote to reduce the waiting time for divorce in Ireland from four to two years. A referendum on granting the presidential election vote to the diaspora is also likely.


Cork City boundary change comes into effect, bringing the city population to 210,000.

Dublin City Council is due to finish construction of toilets in Dublin city centre, after 20 years without public conveniences.

Ian Bailey could be tried in absentia by the Paris high criminal court for the murder of Sophie Tuscan du Plantier. If a guilty verdict is reached, the presiding magistrate will issue a third European arrest warrant for Mr Bailey, who denies all wrongdoing.

1st: Proposed date regulations planned limiting Airbnb rentals to a homeowner’s primary residence come into force. Just under 10,000 people in the State live in emergency homeless accommodation.

7th: The Women’s World Cup takes place in France. Unlike Euro 2016, it will do so without Irish representation.

12th: The winner of the Dublin literary award, carrying a €100,000 prize, announced from a 10-strong shortlist. Previous winners include Colm Tóibín and Michel Houellebecq.

28th: The G20 Summit begins in Osaka. Hosts Japan are expected to stress multilateral approaches to trade imbalances, in a rebuke to Washington’s America First tariff policy.

30th: Drivers of electric and plug-in vehicles pay at public charging points for the first time.

The NTA is due to publish a revised version of the Bus Connects plan for Dublin, which envisaged seven core corridors of buses running across the capital.


Planning process is due to begin for a €650 million hydro-electricity plant in Silvermines, Co Tipperary, planned by Sligo Hydro – one of the largest private infrastructure projects in the history of the State.

15th-21st: The 148th British Open – officially The Open Championship – takes place in Royal Portrush Golf Club in Co Antrim, the second time in 160 years the event will take place outside England or Scotland. Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry lead the Irish hopefuls.


August 1st: Introduction of ban on purchasing diesel vehicles for Dublin Bus and other public transport utilities. The National Transport Authority buys 200 diesel vehicles per year.

17th: Official release date for journalist Tom Humphries, convicted in 2017 of grooming and sexually abusing a teenage girl.

25th: The G7 Summit begins in Biarritz, France. Host Emmanuel Macron plans to focus on climate change, security and the global partnership for education.

30th: Music festival Electric Picnic beings in Stradbally, Co Laois.

31st: The 27km-long M11 Enniscorthy bypass is due to open in Co Wexford, at a cost of €350 million.


The first 15 female-only third-level roles due to be filled under the Government’s Gender Equality Action Plan for Higher Education.

In Cork the 167,917sq ft Navigation Square on Albert Quay is due to be completed, part of a commercial property boom that includes developments at Horgan Quay, Penrose Dock, Trinity Quarter, City Gate and Westfield in Ballincollig.

Retired police officers Donald Denton (80) and Alan Foster (71) and retired solicitor Peter Metcalf (68) are expected to stand trial in Preston, charged with doing acts intended to pervert the course of justice in relation to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

29th: Ireland’s rugby team begin their ninth Rugby World Cup campaign, against Scotland in Yokohama, Japan. Ireland have never won a Rugby World Cup knockout game.

The Webb Elllis Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The Webb Elllis Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto via Getty Images


One Central Plaza, the site of the former Central Bank (and Occupy Dame Street), is due to be occupied by a different group in the fourth quarter of 2019: WeWork, a US firm offering shared workspaces to self-employed and freelance workers.

October 4th: The first guests are due to stay at the €233 million Center Parcs Longford Forest, near Ballymahon, which features 466 self-catering lodges amid 400 acres of woodland.

Center Parcs Longford Forest
Center Parcs Longford Forest

7th: Special Criminal Court trial begins for Alan Wilson (39), Liam Brannigan (37) and Joseph Kelly (35), charged with conspiring to murder Dubliner Gary Hanley, a target of the Kinahan crime gang.

9th: The Central Criminal Court trial of south Armagh man Aaron Brady, accused of the 2013 murder of Det Adrian Donohoe at a Louth credit union, is expected to begin. Det Donohoe was the first garda to be shot dead since 1996.

26th: Uluru, formerly known as Ayer’s Rock, permanently closes to climbers.

Uluru aka Ayer’s Rock. Photograph: Phil Noble/File Photo/Reuters
Uluru aka Ayer’s Rock. Photograph: Phil Noble/File Photo/Reuters

27th: The last time the clocks will go back in the EU, under provisional European Commission plans. Portugal, Greece and The Netherlands remain opposed to scrapping the biennial shift, which could see time zones diverge on the island of Ireland.


Parents of children aged 12 months and younger to receive two weeks’ paid parental leave.

Fáilte Ireland to announce tourist numbers, forecast to rise 3 per cent on 2018 figures, which showed there were 9.6 million overseas tourist visits.

Work begins on delayed flood relief work in Cork’s Lee Valley, stretching from the Lee Fields to the Inniscarra Dam, part of the OPW’s controversial €1 billion flood-defence scheme which, critics say, will destroy natural habitats across the country, replacing them with concrete waterbodies.

5th: Israelis go to the polls to elect the 21st Knesset parliamentary elections, with prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu seeking to increase his wafer-thin majority and reliance on the Jewish Home party.

11th-22nd: The 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UN Climate Change Conference. Brazil has pulled out of hosting the event.

18th: Sentencing expected of Wicklow woman Laura Byrne, who pleaded guilty to stealing a total of €30,413 from two wards at Clonskeagh Hospital.


The Environmental Protection Agency releases its carbon emissions figures for 2018. In 2017 Ireland was 95 per cent off course from its 2020 greenhouse gas (GHG) targets, partly down to a 25 per cent rise in the number of dairy cows.

The Energy Regulator GRU, meanwhile, has given Gas Networks Ireland a December 31st deadline to take action over the release of non-odourised gas from the Corrib gas refinery in north Mayo.

The redevelopment Dublin’s Iveagh Markets is due to be complete.

The first part of the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter is expected to open before the end of December in the form of a Poetry Ireland Centre, courtesy of the Irish Heritage Trust.

Finally, the world’s new tallest building, the Jeddah Tower, could be completed by the end of the year on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. It will tower 1km the Arabian sky.

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