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Miriam Lord gazes at 2017 through her crystal ball

Enda finds his va-va-voom, O’Brien sues nobody and Boyd-Barrett is incandescent


On New Year’s Day, as temperatures across the country plunge, a select group of financiers and property developers gather at the Central Bank Plaza on Dublin’s Dame Street to mark the 15th anniversary of the launch of the euro.

They are joined for the occasion by representatives of “fully-tax-compliant” multinational corporations.

They light €500 notes and dance around the Tree of Gold in the courtyard. Because they can.

When the Dáil returns, Taoiseach Enda Kenny tells aghast TDs that he has rediscovered his va-va-voom.


Turns out it was in the back of the same press where he found his mojo, right beside the shpuds.

Leinster House is closed indefinitely due to “a severe outbreak of the winter vomiting bug”.


There is widescale panic in the ESB group of unions when Brendan Ogle announces he is retiring from trade union activism to pursue a full-time career in light entertainment.

“I can’t describe the feeling when I stand on a platform and hear the crowd chanting and applauding. It’s such a rush” says the celebrity firebrand.

"People know me best as an MC, but I see myself as an all-round entertainer in the Des Bishop meets Damian Dempsey mould."

Senator Rónán Mullen complains again to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland over RTÉ's continuing disgraceful treatment of certain groups. He tells the Seanad why.

"Conservative Catholics such as myself are routinely ignored by the national broadcaster. I would contend that the Montrose heathens are pursuing a deliberate policy of denying a platform to me and others of a similar bent.

"I said as much to Rachel English on Morning Ireland yesterday, and I raised it on Today with Sean O'Rourke and there was a great reaction when I voiced these concerns during a recent appearance on Mooney Goes Wild.

" I sat in all day yesterday and nobody called from RTÉ – radio or television. Then they put Marie Louise O'Donnell on Oireachtas Report. It's an outrage. As I said to David Quinn and Cora Sherlock on the way out of Prime Time the other night, we're virtually invisible."


In response to criticism from the opposition, the Real Taoiseach appoints Bertie Ahern as Ireland's special envoy to the Brexit negotiations.

Micheál Martin says Taoiseach Enda Kenny agreed immediately to his proposal “because he knows who wears the trousers in this House”.

In America, the Ancient Order of Hibernians is forced to alter the route of the St Patrick’s Day parade.

The organisers say they have no choice as a large number of participants are “undocumented” and afraid to march past Trump Tower in case they are arrested and deported.

Enda goes to the White House and meets President Trump. They go out for Kentucky Fried Chicken. The bowl of shamrock goes up on eBay.

“This is the happiest day of my life,” says the Taoiseach.

At the end of the month, in a star-studded finale, Mick Wallace and Clare Daly emerge triumphant as the winners of the hugely popular television show Dancing with the Stars.

The judges declare Mick’s rumba “fab-u-lous”, while Clare’s paso doble is danced “with the agility of a whistleblower jumping the perimeter fence at Shannon Airport”.

Leinster House is en fete when they return with the glitter-ball trophy.

“I voted for them. Sure you’d have to” says Kerry’s Michael Healy-Rae. “But only the once. I swear.”


Denis O’Brien sues nobody. In the Dáil, Richard Boyd-Barrett is incandescent.

“It is totally and utterly unacceptable and a betrayal of decent ordinary people who will now have nothing to protest about except water and rubbish and repealing the Eighth.”

The future of Enda Kenny’s minority administration hangs in the balance when the Garda Commissioner reveals the six Garda stations she has decided to reopen on foot of a commitment in the programme for government.

Stepaside is not amongst them. Transport minister Winston Churchtown, aka Lord Ross, says he is going on immediate hunger strike because the Taoiseach reneged on a promise made during negotiations for government.

Winston is observed in a chipper in Windy Arbour ordering curry chips and a batter-burger in a bun. He pleads ignorance.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before. Is it really food? Where’s my amuse bouche? Pass the vinegar Boxer, like a good chap.”


Gerry Adams sets the date for his retirement. He tweets the momentous decision. "I will be stepping down as Sinn Féin president on the Twelfth. The Twelfth of Never. And that's a long, long time."

"Maith thú!" tweets Pearse Doherty, beside a line of weeping emojis. "I believe Gerry," sobs Mary Lou McDonald. "Honest, I really do this time."

Micheál Martin says Fianna Fáil is supporting the Fine Gael Government for the long haul. At least until the finances start looking healthy again.

Behind the scenes, there is all-party agreement against holding a general election any time soon – they’re still trying to restock the coffers after the 2016 outing.


Ugly scenes at the annual Gay Pride parade in Dublin city centre. Gardaí are called to the scene after fighting breaks out on the reviewing platform.

There aren't enough rainbow flags for the politicians to wrap themselves in. Enda Kenny, Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams are given one on arrival, leaving just three for Fine Gael's leadership hopefuls, the Labour party leader, representatives of AAA-PBP, senators Jerry Buttimer and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, and independent deputy Mattie McGrath.

It's vicious. Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar beat each other to a pulp, only for Frances Fitzgerald to nip in and take the prize.

The six members of the AAA-PBP actually had a flag, but their Socialist Party TDs and Socialist Workers' Party TDs couldn't agree on joint ownership. As they were arguing, Brendan Howlin swiped it.

The final flag was snaffled by Jerry Buttimer, following fisticuffs with O’Ríordáin, who stopped to take a selfie because he couldn’t resist himself.

Mattie McGrath hadn’t a clue what was going on. “I only came up with herself to do a bit of shopping. I saw the platform and microphone and naturally had to climb up on it. Then they took the ladder away.”


Government deputies are furious when there are further breaches of the Dáil’s sartorial protocol.

The Fianna Fáil leader stands up at Leaders’ Questions and opens his suit jacket to reveal a T-shirt with the message “Ban Coleslaw”.

Micheál Martin is noted for telling people that the side-salad staple, steeped in heavy mayonnaise, is not a healthy option.

It vanishes from the canteen that very day.

The next day, Barry Cowen, doing Thursday stand-in for Micheál, wears a T-shirt that simply says “Wusses”.

Government TDs across the floor are outraged. Cowen just laughs.

Chief Whip Regina calls an emergency meeting of the business committee to discuss the rules, forgetting that the committee has been disbanded because no business was being done because of it.


Last year, Pat Hickey and the Olympics tickets in Brazil saved the summer silly season.

This year, it's the Fine Gael leadership contest and RTÉ's Dancing with the Stars competition, won earlier in the year by Wallace and Daly, who have since turned professional and are now touring the country as part of the Brendan Ogle show.

Documents obtained by The Irish Times show that the director general wrote to Denis Naughton, Minister for Communications, complaining about undue pressure from certain Fine Gael ministers.

Dee Forbes includes a strongly worded letter sent by Minister for Housing Simon Coveney complaining that Leo Varadkar’s one-night stint before Christmas as a radio DJ was a “disgraceful show of favouritism” and amounted to “outright cheerleading” for a particular politician.

"I demand redress. I'm a lovely dancer so if I can become a contestant on Dancing with the Stars we'll say no more about it."

Dee Forbes writes back to say she cannot accede to his request. "I have already had to turn down Paschal Donohoe and Simon Harris. "

In other news, the Dáil is recalled to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.


Donald Trump keeps a promise he made to Enda in March and visits Ireland.

He is met at Dublin Airport by the cabinets of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the cast of Riverdance, the Palestrina Choir and President Flatley. (Michael D refuses to attend so Michael F is recruited to stand on the gold carpet. Trump, none the wiser, is bigly delighted.)

Vice-president Mike Pence visits later in the month for bilateral talks with fellow climate-change denier, Danny Healy-Rae.

“We’re on the same wavelength,” says Danny.

The women’s national rugby team, newly crowned world champions following Ireland’s hugely successful hosting of the tournament in August, decline Trump’s request for an exhibition match, despite his generous offer to provide the little hotties with a new team strip.


In the week before the budget, there is a major row between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, which supports Enda’s minority Government from the sidelines.

An inadvertent leaflet drop by eager FF supporters in Cork finds non-plussed householders wondering how the party can produce literature claiming credit for the main budget giveaways before the event.

Headquarters insisted it was just a template for their post-budget leaflet. “We’re very good at guessing,” said a spokeswoman.

After the budget statement, Fianna Fáil duly claim the credit for all the nice bits of the budget and the leaflets don’t have to be changed at all.

Fine Gael backbenchers eye their leader’s back and mutter darkly.


The intensive Garda operation to locate missing Senators is stood down after a schoolchild wanders into a distant side room in the National Museum and finds Seanad Éireann. They disappeared months ago, but nobody remembered they relocated next door so renovations could be carried out in their chamber.

It's like they never went away. Gerard Craughwell is still talking.

Independent Alliance junior minister John Halligan is so conflicted he drives to Waterford and meets himself on the way back.

“If Lord Ross leaves Government, I will go with him, probably, maybe,” he vows.


A group calling itself "Occupy Oireachtas" takes over a vacant property on Kildare Street.

“This chamber has been idle on and off all year,” says one of the celebrity activists involved in the initiative.

“We are going to take public representatives off the streets this Christmas. It isn’t safe for them on the doorsteps.

“This chamber is warmed by hot air, and despite suffering severe water damage, it is generally fit for purpose. Hopefully, in the new year, they’ll be able to get on with their lives and provide some legislation, which is all they want to do.”