Reeling in the Years review: 2016 was the year of shock votes in Britain and America

Brexit, Donald Trump and the Rio Olympics dominated the headlines in 2016. Here are the moments that had us talking from this week’s episode
Reeling in the Years review: 2016 was the year of shock votes in Britain and America

Donald Trump and Boris Johnson appeared on Sunday night's Reeling in the Years, which looked back at 2016.

General election 

Enda Kenny speaking to Fine Gael supporters and canvassers during the general election campaign in 2016. Picture: RollingNews.ie
Enda Kenny speaking to Fine Gael supporters and canvassers during the general election campaign in 2016. Picture: RollingNews.ie

This week’s episode opened with Enda Kenny’s best impression of a GAA selector’s last-ditch changing room speech at halftime to turn around a team’s failing fortunes by slating the other side. “After 14 years of Government, they [Fianna Fáil] blew everything that we had,” he roared at a press conference. “I don’t take from them their newfound concept of fairness.

It came ahead of a general election that saw Fine Gael’s five-year coalition with Labour come to an end in 2016. Instead, smaller parties and independent candidates came to the fore after highlighting health, housing, water charges and the economy during their campaigns. Fine Gael lost 16 seats while Labour won only seven.

Whispers began of a possible coalition down the line between the Civil War parties and after 70 days, a government was formed thanks to the support of independent TDs: a minority government led by Fine Gael that would last until 2020.

Olympic Games and ticket touting scandal 

Paul and Gary O'Donovan celebrate winning a silver medal in Rio. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Paul and Gary O'Donovan celebrate winning a silver medal in Rio. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The Olympic Games took place in Rio in 2016 and had more than a few moments of note outside the sporting arena. Following revelations of doping by Russian athletes, Cork’s Rob Heffernan was awarded a bronze medal for the 2012 London Olympics and Galway’s Olive Loughnane received a gold medal for the 2009 World Championships.

In Rio, an Irish man was arrested and accused of ticket touting. Kevin Mallon distributed tickets allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland, sparking concerns about how Irish allocations were arranged and distributed.

President of the OCI Pat Hickey was arrested in a high-profile operation arranged by Brazilian police, taken to hospital and then a jail. He and Mallon were released on bail and returned home after several months. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

Athletes of note who won medals in the Rio Olympics included runner Usain Bolt, swimmer Michael Phelps and Cork brothers, Paul and Gary O’Donovan, who “pulled like a dog in the rowing finals to bring a silver medal home to Skibbereen.

Brexit 

Boris Johnson with the Vote Leave campaign bus as the Leave campaign has been given a fresh rebu. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Boris Johnson with the Vote Leave campaign bus as the Leave campaign has been given a fresh rebu. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Remember David Cameron? In 2016 he oversaw a referendum in the UK to decide their future within the European Union. You might have heard of it… 

The Brexit referendum in June of that year was two sides campaigning for and against being part of the EU. The ‘Remain’ side was strongly supported by Britain’s three main political parties. They warned of economic recession upon leaving the EU.

The Leave side, which included Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, promised the public more control over spending and immigration in the country. The DUP in Northern Ireland was the only party there to support a ‘Leave’ vote.

After 33 million people cast their vote, a slim majority chose to leave the EU with 52% of the public choosing that option. David Cameron resigned, with Theresa May stepping in as Prime Minister.

Probably the only surprise political result that year, right? Right?!

President Trump 

Donald Trump during his walk-through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Picture: REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo
Donald Trump during his walk-through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Picture: REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

Wrong. After eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, American voters went to the polls to choose a new president.

The main contenders were the Democratic Party candidate, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and Republican Party nominee, billionaire businessman Donald Trump.

Trump promised to ‘make America great again’ and took part in bitter and divisive election debates with Clinton in which he threatened to put her in jail if he were made president.

Although Clinton won the ‘popular vote’ among the public by nearly six million votes, the electoral colleges voted in Trump’s favour that November, making him America’s president-elect.

What a year.

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