The year in review: 12 months of big stories
The year began with devastating weather and followed up with political storms over ‘homophobia’ remarks, those cancelled Garth Brooks gigs and water charges. Cian Traynor refreshes our memory
A succession of storms causes major damage, particularly in the west and south. Widespread flooding requires €70 million in reparation from the Government.
Ariel Sharon, Israel’s former prime minister, dies aged 85, leaving behind a controversial legacy. He had been in a coma for eight years, having suffered a stroke while in office.
Rory O’Neill, who performs under the name Panti Bliss, discusses homophobia on The Saturday Night Show. When RTÉ censors the video online, apologises and compensates the people mentioned, it sparks a huge campaign in support of both Panti and gay rights.
The Winter Olympics open in Sochi, Russia, amid criticism over the rights of LGBT people and the fact that it is the most expensive Olympics in history.
The US entrepreneur and TV personality Donald Trump buys Doonbeg golf resort in Co Clare, pledging to invest ¤45 million in its redevelopment as Trump International Golf Links and Hotel.
Belgium becomes the first country to lift age restrictions on the right to die, legalising permitted euthanasia for terminally ill children.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The largest and most costly search effort in aviation history fails to find any debris.
Ireland win the Six Nations in Brian O’Driscoll’s last international rugby match, a victory over France in Paris.
Following a referendum, the Crimean parliament declares independence from Ukraine before Russian president Vladimir Putin recognises Crimea as a sovereign state.
Hours after Martin Callinan resigns as Garda commissioner, it emerges that many Garda stations secretly recorded incoming and outgoing phone calls from the 1980s until 2013.
President Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, are welcomed by Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle to mark the first state visit to the UK by an Irish head of state.
The Islamist militant group Boko Haram kidnap 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from the northeastern village of Chibok. The online campaign Bring Back Our Girls harnesses international condemnation of the incident, although most of the girls remain in captivity.
A Korean ferry, MV Sewol, capsizes after carrying an unmanageable cargo load, killing more than 300 of its 476 passengers. The ship’s captain is later sentenced to 36 years in prison for gross negligence.
An explosion at a coal mine in Soma, Turkey, leads to an underground fire that kills 301 people, making it the country’s worst mine disaster.
It emerges that 796 children died at Bon Secours mother-and-baby home in Tuam, Co Galway, between 1925 and 1961 without burial records. The story generates widespread media coverage, leading the Government to establish a commission of inquiry.
A European Union court ruling on the “right to be forgotten” requires Google to remove irrelevant or outdated personal data from its search results upon request. More than 12,000 such requests are submitted to the company within the first 24 hours.
Three Israeli teenagers are murdered in the West Bank, triggering a chain reaction of Israeli bombardment, Palestinian rocket fire and more than 2,200 casualties (mostly civilians) in Gaza.
The Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suárez is expelled from the 2014 Fifa World Cup and suspended from football for four months after biting Giorgio Chiellini in his team’s 1-0 win over Italy. Germany go on to win the tournament.
Rolf Harris is convicted of 12 counts of indecent assault between 1968 and 1986. The 84-year-old Australian entertainer represents the most high-profile conviction under Operation Yewtree, a UK investigation launched following the Jimmy Savile sex-abuse scandal.
Joan Burton becomes the 11th leader of the Labour Party, after a landslide victory over Alex White. She becomes Labour’s first woman leader and is appointed Tánaiste the same day.
Five Garth Brooks concerts at Croke Park are cancelled after Dublin City Council refuses to license two of the shows due to objections from residents.
A landmark vote by the Church of England allows women to become bishops. Its governing body agrees to the legislation 22 years after first determining that women could be ordained as priests.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashes in Ukraine. The airliner is shot down by a missile while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing 283 passengers and 15 crew members.
A police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, fatally shoots an unarmed 18-year-old named Michael Brown. The incident prompts protests and civil unrest, leading to a state of emergency.
Robin Williams is found dead in California, having taken his own life. An autopsy finds that the 63-year-old actor and comedian showed signs of suffering from Lewy body dementia, a condition causing cognitive impairment.
Footage appears online showing James Foley, an American photojournalist taken hostage in Syria, being beheaded by Islamic State.
Hackers leak hundreds of private images belonging to celebrities after compromising their Apple iCloud accounts through targeted attacks.
Ian Paisley, former DUP leader and first minister of Northern Ireland, dies aged 88.
Oscar Pistorius is found guilty of culpable homicide and reckless endangerment following the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The South African athlete is later sentenced to five years in prison.
Scottish voters turn out in record numbers and vote No to independence, ensuring the country’s 307-year-old union with England and Wales remains in place.
A pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong escalates in response to a police crackdown. More than 100,000 people join the Umbrella Revolution, so called because umbrellas are used to shield against water cannon.
The financial institution JP Morgan Chase discloses that hackers accessed contact information from 83 million accounts in a prolonged cyberattack, making it one of biggest data breaches in history.
The World Health Organisation announces that 4,447 people have died from the Ebola outbreak and warns that the epidemic could reach 10,000 new cases a week within two months.
Maíria Cahill tells the BBC’s Spotlight programme that she was raped by a suspected IRA member as a teenager and then questioned about her allegations during an IRA internal inquiry. The Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams insists that no cover-up took place and that claims relating to him in the programme are untrue.
A spacecraft successfully lands on a speeding comet for the first time in history. The European Space Agency’s Philae probe touches down on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, 500 million kilometres from Earth and 10 years after its mission began.
In the face of sustained opposition to water charges, the Government announces a revised payment scheme that will cap rates until January 2019 and scrap the registration of PPS numbers. Protesters vow to continue until all charges are abolished.
President Obama announces sweeping plans to reform US immigration policy, shielding nearly five million undocumented migrants from deportation. Republicans promise to challenge the executive action.
Irish soccer player Stephanie Roche is shortlisted for Fifa’s Puskás Award, alongside Robin van Persie of Manchester United and James Rodríguez of Real Madrid, for scoring the year’s best goal.
A grand jury decides not to indict a New York police officer over the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man he put in an apparent chokehold for 19 seconds. Amid widespread protests, a federal civil-rights investigation into the incident is launched.
The US Senate releases a report detailing secret torture by the CIA in the years following the 9/11 attacks. It finds the agency misled the White House and the public about the nature of its interrogation techniques, which failed to yield life-saving intelligence.