Oliver Callan: predictions for the Chinese year of the Rooster

Des Cahill does the splits, Dr Eva is in choc shock and someone moons at Rose of Tralee

January is a quiet month, apart from dreadful things continuing in the usual parts of the world. Nobody really notices because Des Cahill just did the splits on Dancing with the Stars and Des Bishop appears to kick him in the head while he's down. Cahill's concussion turns out to be the only time anyone sees actual stars during the series. The controversy dominates February as the public debates whether or not Bishop's tap-dancing shoe deliberately glanced off Cahill's forehead.

Dancing with temptation

In March, the mid-west suffers its worst floods for 75 years. The devastation makes third item on the news, after Donald Trump makes it illegal to impersonate him on television. The second story is Dr Eva Orsmond's dramatic withdrawal from Dancing with . . . after someone offers her a Mars Bar backstage. It followed a particularly energetic can-can. She explains she had to take a stand given her lifelong campaign against sugar. The audience boos her and she becomes a national hate figure.

Chocolate Dr Eva icons become a massive hit and a SuperValu is burned to the ground in Cork for refusing to stock them. Taoiseach Enda Kenny's personal approval ratings hit a 12-year high, after he condemns Dr Eva, while drinking a can of Lilt. Leo Varadkar, realising that Enda will never step down in his lifetime, announces his resignation from politics to become a music presenter on RTÉ 2FM.

Robot news

The State broadcaster hits the headlines in April, as talks between unions and management over the outsourcing of children's TV break down. Staff stage an all-out strike and refuse to make any live TV. Ratings actually increase as management broadcasts the 1990s Reeling in the Years on a loop. RTÉ News stays on the air as Sharon Ní Bheolatron is a cyborg operating on Windows 10 and thus deemed not part of the human strike.


Marian Finucane crosses the picket line and stubs out a cigarette on Ronan Collins' head, mistaking it for the lid of a wheelie bin. She explains on air that she didn't know there was a strike on as she doesn't recognise any of what she calls "the weekday help".

The strike ends after staff complain they shouldn't have to protest during their three-week Easter break. Others say it's almost impossible to read the Racing Post outdoors during a particularly blustery April. Several strikers tell The Irish Times that going on strike was actually harder work than being in RTÉ. Live programming resumes and ratings plummet. Management lay off hundreds, including new DJ Leo Varadkar.

May poll dancing over EU votes

In May, the Netherlands' new right-wing government announces a referendum to leave the EU. Pressure mounts on Theresa May to lay out her Brexit timetable. The plan was due in March, but May has not been seen in public for two months, claiming to have a heavy cold. Jeremy Corbyn's satisfaction ratings fall to minus 15 per cent, despite debating an empty dispatch box during Prime Minister's Questions.

There are reports May is refusing to outline her plan until HBO announces broadcast dates for Game of Thrones season seven and whether the dwarf survives to the end. HBO warns it could take up to 10 years to wrap up the series and said further delays cannot be ruled out, blaming judges, Nigel Farage and dodgy opinion polls. They admit it may have been a mistake to put the words "Winter is Coming" on billboards, saying they could no longer guarantee that winter would in fact arrive.

Later in May, the Guns n’ Roses concert at Slane is abandoned after Dr Eva storms the stage spraying a low calorie citrus smoothie into the eyes of Axl Rose. The crowd boos her and throws Cadbury’s Roses at her in protest. She returns fire with kale and coconut energy balls but collapses due to a drop in her blood sugar levels.

Ailing health minister

In July, Des Cahill is revealed as the winner of Dancing with the Stars and is given his trophy in hospital. The event is overshadowed by the worst ever A&E crisis as wards are overwhelmed with copycat splits injuries.

A pale and frightened Minister for Health Simon Harris appears on television in August to apologise. Despite being only 30, he is now completely bald, has trouble hearing Bryan Dobson's angry questions and appears to fall asleep. His ill health wins him public affection and he overtakes Enda Kenny in approval ratings.

Kenny cuts short his 17th foreign visit of the year to return to Ireland for a one-on-one interview on Prime Time. His ratings collapse during his first media appearance in months. Varadkar is invited onstage at Justin Bieber's RDS concert and announces his return to politics. He intends to run in the by-election caused by his own resignation and wins by a landslide. Harris is rushed to the Mater A&E and joins the queue that starts outside Supermac's in Phibsborough.

Mooning at the Rose of Tralee

The rest of the year continues as usual. Dreadful things happen in the usual parts of the world. Dunkirk turns out to be the only decent new film. There's a terrorist attack in a major tourist spot but the news is second to the death of a rich celeb who took drugs all their life.

A mooning incident at the Rose of Tralee overshadows everything. Donald Trump eventually shows up to work in mid-September. Ireland loses the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid but narrowly qualifies for the football World Cup with a cheating handball incident at the expense of Iceland that is quickly forgotten.

By December, everyone complains that 2017 was the worst year ever. Then some screwy columnist makes sarcastic predictions for 2018.