Farewell 2016, you’ve put years on all of us

The wicked year that began with the General Election, a mix of Brexit and the Olympics in the middle and ended with Trump taking over

IT will be remembered as a black year for so many reasons — but it was a rather good 2016 for an orange man (Trump) and a certain ginger one (Enda).

It began in Ireland with the longest and most boring General Election campaign ever.

Fein Leader Gerry Adams ,Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin and  Joan Burton as they lined up for their last TV Debate

Fein Leader Gerry Adams ,Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin and  Joan Burton as they lined up for their last TV Debate

Fine Gael’s terrible slogan, “Let’s keep the recovery going” was made even worse when Enda Kenny started speaking out loud.

Firstly, he didn’t really seem to understand what the phrase ‘fiscal space’ meant, telling us: “I don’t want to use economic jargon which the vast majority of Irish people don’t understand.”

There was the 11 times he re- fused to rule out doing a deal with Michael Lowry — until he finally did — and then the icing on the cake: “We have world champion whingers in Castlebar.”

He was given the chance to row back on that too when asked, “Do you regret that comment?”

He replied “No, I don’t”, followed by a moronic smile and cheers from Blueshirt gombeens. He apologised a day later.

The campaign debates were so dull, the most exciting moment was when Micheal Martin dropped his notes and tried to footsie them back.

Then Gerry Adams’ creaking past crept up on him during the Prime Time debate, prompting jokes about WD-40, while #TheCreak trended on Twitter.

Finally, the election came along with the expected wipeout of the Labour Party, losing 26 TDs. They had to hand back the keys to their Mercs, but at least the entire parliamentary party can now fit into a Nissan Qashqai.

President in waiting Donald Trump tried to wow voters 

President in waiting Donald Trump tried to wow voters 

After their ‘Recovery’ slogan bombed, Fine Gael’s early solid showing in the polls slumped, and big names were among the 16 who lost their seats.

In the process, Paschal Donohoe invented the Mannequin Challenge while celebrating a narrow election victory in Dublin. And Alan Kelly showed the entire country his sex face as he took the last seat in Tipp, displaying empathy for his fallen colleagues by screaming like he was at a Guns N’ Roses gig.

The only actual recovery was for Fianna Fail, up 23 seats on 2011, but to be fair they were so very humble about it, like when Conor Lenihan grinned “We’re baaaack”.

The story of the election, though, was the success of Independent candidates, led by Shane Ross’s Sunday Independent Alliance.

Or should that be Shane Fein? The people had spoken, but we had no idea what they were saying as many of them were speaking in thick Kerry accents.

Enda became acting Taoiseach, after being labelled a “political corpse” by his soon to be partner in power Ross. The country settled into a holiday from politics and the President got wreath rash while marking the centenary of the Easter Rising.

Despite some dodgy TV dramas, rows over chocolate bars and celebrating it a month too early, it turned out to be the best and proudest moment of the year for the entire country.

Then came Brexit. Middle England was leaving Europe quicker than its football team. The vote was close, 52-48, which was also Nigel Farage’s blood alcohol level the morning after the count.

The calamity-shambles wasn’t over yet. With Boris Johnson favourite to become PM, Michael Gove shafted him and then he pulled out, some old goat said something horrible about women who don’t have children and Theresa May became Margaret Thatcher in kitten heels.

If the London Olympics was Britain giving the world a hug, Brexit was its kick in the hiney. As Bill Bailey put it, every time May smiles, an angel dies.

It was a great moment for anyone who bet on the Leave side remaining. Sadly, though, the Sterling slump meant their winnings were only worth half a farthing.

Best headlines were ‘Brexit Wounds’ and ‘Rue Britannia’ and there was a fantastic meme showing Thomas the Tank Engine being bricked into the Channel Tunnel.

And Scotland said it might need another indepen- dence referendum or else it’d end up like a Third World country. Which was being overly optimistic.

Brexit is a major fear for the Irish economy and the peace process — but it may have rescued Kenny, who is no longer seen as our biggest problem.

The summer gave no respite to a troubled atmosphere when Ireland’s Olympic Games collapsed into a ticketing farce.

Given our history of emigration, it was no wonder our only success was in rowing and sailing — just two of the best ways to get off the island to a better future.

Like most Irish people we send abroad, some did well for themselves in Rio, and some ended up in jail. We came home with three silver medals. The closest we came to seeing bronze was Pat Hickey in a bathrobe.

President Michael D. Higgins laying a wreath at the Easter Sunday Wreath-laying ceremony in Kilmanham Gaol

President Michael D. Higgins laying a wreath at the Easter Sunday Wreath-laying ceremony in Kilmanham Gaol

The autumn was dominated by the second shell shock of this most hectic news year when a certain Busy Fingers McOrangeface grabbed America by the polling place. Bigly.
He’s going to make America great again, even if he has to burn it to the ground.

The Budget proved to be more fudgey than the Great British Bake Off but it did make a household name of Fiscal Donohoe.

The year stuttered to a close for the go-slow 32nd Dail, with such important bills debated as prolonging hedge cutting season by a month, er . . . recognising Irish sign language for the deaf, medicinal ganja and putting curtains over alcohol in small shops.

Kenny’s satisfaction rating has surged so much he’s now as popular as he was in the pre-Irish Water days.

Difficulties for Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Ross and Adams have turned Enda into the Dulux Taoiseach. His colour can weather any storm and still that distinct shade of Cidona auburn hasn’t faded.

All the attention was focused on who might succeed him, but Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar are as far away as ever.

Simon ends a patchy year with a significant success on his rental bill, while Leo completes 2016 by DJing on late night radio.

So 2017 looks certain to be dominated by Irish Water, abortion, Donald Trump and Brexit.

A bit like ‘New Politics’, the new year is shaping up to look a lot like the old one.