Irish politics in 2020: An earthquake election, an unlikely marriage, a scandalous dinner

2020 in review: A momentous year in politics will keep the historians of the future busy

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald during the final TV leaders’ debate at the RTÉ studios on February 4th, 2020 in Donnybrook, Dublin, Ireland. Photograph:  Niall Carson/Getty Images

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald during the final TV leaders’ debate at the RTÉ studios on February 4th, 2020 in Donnybrook, Dublin, Ireland. Photograph: Niall Carson/Getty Images

It was a year of big events at home and abroad, sure to keep the historians of the future busy; they won’t skip over 2020. There was an earthquake election, a great shift in the Irish political landscape, a global pandemic, the triumph over Trump, and at its end, Brexit.

The year began in a slow-motion countdown to a general election. Billed in advance as a Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil shootout, the election campaign was instead about Sinn Féin. To its own surprise as much as anyone else’s, the party surfed the wave of the public’s desire for “change”.

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