How 2016 unfolded in Ireland: month by month

News review of 2016

 

January

Parts of the country, including Cork, Kerry and the areas around the Shannon basin, suffer severe flooding, with the Government coming in for criticism that its response is too slow. It is estimated the bill for the damage will exceed €100 million.

Molly Martens Corbett and Thomas Michael Martens, the wife and father-in-law of Limerick man Jason Corbett, are charged in the US in connection with his death in North Carolina.

Former Government press secretary PJ Mara dies aged 73. Golfing legend Christy O’Connor Jnr dies aged 67.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan launches a year-long programme of commemoration events for the 1916 Rising in the US.

The National Lottery machines and website are brought down overnight by a cyber attack.

Irish entrepreneur Kevin Abosch claims to have sold a photograph of an Irish potato for €1 million to a European businessman .

Saoirse Ronan wins the best actress award for her role in the movie Brooklyn at the New York Film Critics’ Circle Awards.

February

The general election takes place on February 26th, with the outgoing Fine Gael-Labour coalition falling far short of an overall majority to form a government. Labour is reduced to just seven seats, with several ministers among the high-profile losses. Renua, a new political party led by former Fine Gael junior minister Lucinda Creighton, fails to win any seats.

Limerick-born broadcasting legend Terry Wogan dies aged 77. David Byrne (32) is shot dead in a gangland-style attack at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, when three men in police-style uniforms open fire at a boxing match weigh-in. Byrne, from Crumlin, was a member of an Irish-led crime cartel based in the south of Spain. Eddie Hutch, a brother of Gerry “The Monk” Hutch, is shot dead the following week in an escalation of the feud.

Brooklyn, director John Crowley’s adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s novel, wins the best British film award at the Baftas.

The Special Criminal Court sentences prominent republican Thomas “Slab” Murphy to 18 months in prison for tax evasion estimated to be worth almost €190,000.

Actor Johnny Murphy, aka “Joey the Lips” from The Commitments film, dies aged 72.

March

Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman dies suddenly aged 64. Chief Justice Mrs Susan Denham describes him as a “colossus of the legal world”.

The action for damages by Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita Halappanavar against the Health Service Executive over her “tragic, untimely and premature” death in 2012, is settled in the High Court.

A Eurobarometer survey suggests the Irish are the most optimistic people in the EU, with nearly two thirds expressing confidence in the future.

The homeless crisis continues to escalate with some 1,700 children homeless in Dublin alone.

Former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm arrives in Dublin following his extradition from the US to face 33 charges, including conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.

Actor Robert Carrickford, best known for his role as Stephen Brennan in the RTÉ TV series Glenroe, dies aged 88.

Five people die when their SUV slips off the pier in Buncrana, Co Donegal. Seán McGrotty, his sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), his mother-in-law Ruth Daniels ( in her 50s) and Ruth’s daughter Jodie Lee Daniels (14) lose their lives. Davitt Walsh (29) from Kerrykeel saves four-month-old baby Rionaghac-Ann McGrotty when she was passed through the window of the sinking car.

A series of events takes place over the Easter weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of the Rising, with a parade through Dublin city as its centrepiece.

April

Late talks on April 29th seal the eventual “confidence and supply” agreement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, more than two months after the general election.

Planning permission is granted for a €700 million-plus national children’s hospital at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.

A 21-year-old woman in Belfast, who bought abortion pills on the internet, is given a three-month suspended jail sentence after her housemates claim to have found a foetus of 10-12 weeks’ gestation in a bin and called the police.

Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, wins seven awards – including best film – at the Irish Film and Television Awards. Brooklyn wins two awards at the event, with best lead actress gong for Saoirse Ronan and best supporting actress for Jane Brennan.

Former property developer Kevin McGeever (71) is given a suspended two-year sentence for falsely claiming he was kidnapped at gunpoint three years earlier.

Taxi driver Michael McGibbon (33), a man with no criminal record, is murdered in Belfast in an attack the PSNI says bears “all the hallmarks of a paramilitary murder”.

May

Enda Kenny is elected Taoiseach on May 6th, 70 days after the general election.

Two men die in a house fire in Macroom, Co Cork and a woman is seriously injured. They are named as Kenny Relihan (26) and Noel O’Mahony (64).

Independent Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae says he does not agree with all the talk about climate change because only God controls the weather. “God above is in charge of the weather and we here can’t do anything about it,” he says in the Dáil during a debate on climate change.

David Mahon (45) is found guilty of killing Dean Fitzpatrick, the son of his wife and older brother of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick.

Debenhams retail chain places its 11 Irish stores into examinership, putting 2,265 jobs at risk.

Nicky Byrne does not reach the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm.

The biggest secondary teachers’ union in the State votes to stop working additional hours.

Politicians mingle with newlyweds, families and Yes campaigners in Dublin Castle on May 22nd to celebrate the first anniversary of the passing of the marriage equality referendum.

Canadian ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers tackles a protester at an event to remember British soldiers who died in the Easter Rising.

Bruce Springsteen plays a three-and-a-half hour show at a packed Croke Park in Dublin.

Britain’s National Crime Agency arrests two people in Co Down in connection with the Project Eagle fraud investigation into the sale of Nama loans to Cerberus in 2014 for €1.6 billion.

June

Politics watchers stay up through the night on June 23rd as the results from the Brexit vote roll in from the UK. With the tight referendum decision by Britain to leave the European Union, Ireland also begins facing up to a series of consequences and choices. There is a surge in enquiries from Britain about Irish passports.

A scandal breaks at the suicide prevention charity Console when it is revealed that founder Paul Kelly, his wife and son had run up credit card bills of almost €500,000 on items such as groceries, designer clothes and foreign trips. The charity eventually closes.

Two former bankers with Anglo Irish Bank, John Bowe and Willie McAteer, are found guilty of criminal conspiracy in the longest trial in the history of the State. They appeal the decision.

The long Luas dispute ends after workers and the company, Transdev, accept a Labour Court recommendation on pay increases. The four-month row had led to 12 days of all-out strike action

July

Twenty-two members of a Dublin Bus syndicate scoop the EuroMillions jackpot. Five of the 22 winners turn up for work the next day after winning the €23,845,060 prize – €1,083,866.36 each.

Up to 15,000 Irish holidaymakers are hit by the sudden collapse of online travel agent Lowcostholidays, with many already overseas having to pay the full cost of their accommodation.

Dee Forbes from Co Cork, whose CV includes high-ranking management positions with some of the biggest names in the international TV industry, becomes the first female director general of RTÉ.

John Rice (49), who claims he suffered injuries and his life was ruined after a bread delivery man allegedly punched him in the bottom, loses his High Court action for damages.

August

Clodagh Hawe (37) and her children Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) are brutally murdered by their husband and father Alan Hawe (41) at their home in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan.

Pat Hickey temporarily steps aside as Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president after being arrested over his alleged involvement in the Rio games ticket controversy. He is detained in Brazil following the arrest of Irishman Kevin Mallon on August 5th.

There is shock and disbelief for Bray boxer Katie Taylor when she exits the Olympics having been beaten in her opening bout in the women’s lightweight competition by 35-year-old Finn, Mira Potkonen.

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin decides to stop sending trainee priests from the diocese to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth because of what he describes as “an atmosphere of strange goings-on there”.

An Irish woman and her friend live-tweet her journey to the UK to have an abortion via the twitter account @twowomentravel

The High Court approves a restructuring of Debenhams allowing the stores to continue trading, saving up to 1,330 jobs.

Chicago woman Maggie McEldowney (27) is crowned Rose of Tralee.

The European Commission rules the Irish Government must recoup €13 billion in unpaid taxes from tech giant Apple.

September

A series of strikes at Dublin Bus is suspended after an agreement on an 11.25 per cent pay rise for drivers over three years.

Nicola Kenny (26) from Thurles, Co Tipperary, is killed when she is hit by a lorry after she pulled in on the hard shoulder of the M8 to take a call from a hospital about her sick one-day-old daughter.

Celebrated chef Kevin Thornton announces he is to close his restaurant on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green at the end of October.

Limerick rower Ailish Sheehan (23) dies in hospital in Poland from a fall after competing at the World University Championships.

October

The world of Munster Rugby is devastated by the sudden death in Paris of head coach Anthony Foley, on the eve of the Champions Cup fixture, at just 42.

The Fiscal Advisory Council warns that a €1.3 billion package of spending increases announced by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the budget may breach key EU rules.

Secondary school teachers of the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) announce details of seven days of strike action which would close two out of three secondary schools on various dates up to December.

A confidential report warns that a number of rail lines may close as Iarnród Éireann is threatened with insolvency. The draft given to Minister for Transport Shane Ross says the rail network needs investment of more than €600 million.

November

Mayo couple Tom (75) and Kitty (72) Fitzgerald are found dead at their home in Mayo; their son Paul is in the house with head injuries. Gardaí believe Tom Fitzgerald killed his wife before taking his own life.

Doctors of the Irish Medical Organisation become the latest group to threaten industrial action as pressure grows on the Government over public service pay.

Gardaí defer a planned strike at the last minute following recommendations on pay issued by the Labour Court. The ASTI, meanwhile, suspends its action at hundreds of schools.

FAI chief executive John Delaney resigns as vice-president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI).

December

Dissident republican Aidan O’Driscoll (37) is shot dead in Blackpool in Cork city. O’Driscoll was a chief of staff of the Real IRA for less than a year after the murder of former leader Alan Ryan in Dublin in 2012.

The Government announces proposals to prevent landlords in Dublin and Cork from increasing rents by more than 4 per cent a year over the next three years.

The Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in Dublin, one of the world’s oldest tennis clubs, elects Helen Shields as its first woman president in its almost 140 year existence.