Putting aside angels-on-a-pinhead arguments about the actual year in which a decade expires and a new one commences — is it January 1, 2020, or 12 months on in 2021 and, anyway, who really cares? — what we hope will be the peace and quiet of St Stephen’s Day brings an opportunity to reflect not only on the country’s 2019 but also on aspects of the Dáil’s less-than-adequate performance since 2010.
Since the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID) was created 22 years ago, it has lifted millions out of poverty, sent millions of children to school, and saved millions of lives through vaccination programmes and other innovative initiatives.
It is not generally known whether British prime minister Theresa May is a student of Irish history. Whether or not, she could do worse than reflect on the attempt by Michael Collins to persuade the Dáil to accept the 1922 Anglo-Irish Treaty.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have long lured foreign workers with the promise of a tax-free lifestyle, plan to impose a 5% tax next year on most goods and services to boost revenue after oil prices collapsed three years ago.
Bailout negotiators have returned to Greece to try and reach a deal by the end of the year on the terms for the next loan payout, as the debt-plagued country prepares to end eight years of rescue funding programmes next summer.