The Year in Pictures

The Year in Pictures

JANUARY

Sit-in: The occupation of the Vita Cortex plant in Cork continued into the new year.

The peaceful protest on the Kinsale Rd began on Dec 16, 2011, after workers were made redundant. The dispute led to nationwide protests, television appeals, and debates in the Dáil.

The strike received support from former president Mary Robinson, human rights campaigner Noam Chomsky, and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Taxing times: Consumers faced a barrage of price increases, including a 2% hike in the top Vat rate to 23% and an interim €100 household charge.

A rise in motor tax hit hard-pressed motorists who already faced huge increases in fuel prices and motorway toll fares. Public transport users did not escape, either, with increases in rail and bus fares.

Down but not out: Former billionaire Seán Quinn, who was declared bankrupt by the High Court on Jan 16, accused the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) of pursuing a vendetta against him and his family.

IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, brought the application on foot of orders by the Commercial Court directing the businessman to repay loans of more than €2bn.

Paying up: Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Ireland had no alternative but to pay €1.25 billion to Anglo Irish Bank bondholders by Jan 26.

“To say you don’t pay is nonsensical,” Mr Kenny said during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil. He claimed it would lead to a catastrophe and a decimation of public services, such as in Greece.

Trawler tragedy: Divers continued to search for the bodies of fishermen missing since their trawler, the Tit Bonhomme, sank in Glandore Bay in West Cork with five men on board.

Egyptian crewman Abdul Mohammed was the only survivor of the sinking which claimed four lives, including that of skipper Michael Hayes. Prayers were said at Mass in Union Hall for the trawler men.

Money madness: The Taoiseach said that Irish people “went mad borrowing” from a banking system that spawned greed.

Enda Kenny made the comments during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He also said that the eurozone debt crisis wasn’t helped by the incompetence of a number of governments and a lack of trust and wrangling between countries.

Oil embargo: The EU agreed to impose an embargo on Iranian oil.

France had stressed the importance for sanctions and an embargo as a way to get Iran to halt uranium enrichment and end its efforts to amass nuclear weapons.

FEBRUARY

Twit tweets: Victoria Beckham inadvertently caused the Irish Hospice Foundation’s website to crash.

In a tweet to Bono and Ali Hewson — who sent her a book he had illustrated — she said: “Thanks Bono and Ali for Harper’s supercool Peter and the Wolf book!”

The tweeted message included an appeal for donations and a link to the Irish Hospice Foundation’s website.

Within hours of the tweet the hospice’s website was overwhelmed with traffic from some of Beckhams’ 2.5 million followers.

Ó Cuív quits: Éamon Ó Cuív resigned as Fianna Fáil’s deputy leader and communications spokesperson after a dispute with party leader Micheál Martin over the Fiscal Compact Treaty.

Speaking after Mr Ó Cuív’s resignation, Mr Martin said: “Éamon’s refusal to support the parliamentary party’s position on the Fiscal Compact meant that it was no longer feasible for him to occupy these roles.”

Cairo riots: At least 73 people were killed on Feb 1 in a fight between fans of rival teams at a soccer match in Port Said, Egypt.

Two days later, thousands protested against authorities in Cairo and other cities over the match deaths.

More than three days of street fighting in Cairo between police and protestors led to the deaths of 12 people.

Vita Cortex protest: Up to 5,000 people took part in a protest march in Cork city centre to highlight the ongoing plight of the Vita Cortex workers.

Among the unions which took part in the rally were the INTO, the INWO, TEEU, Impact and SIPTU.

Gardaí said it was one of the largest protest marches they had seen on the city’s streets in recent years.

After the march, protesters also gathered on the Grand Parade, where they were addressed by a number of the workers as well as members of ICTU.

Schools protest: Almost 3,000 people took to the streets in counties Mayo and Donegal to protest against proposed cuts in education that would affect small rural schools.

More than 2,000 took to the streets in Castlebar and more than 700 people protested in Gaoth Dobhair.

Teachers, pupils and parents marched from the Gaoth Dobhair industrial estate to the office of Dinny McGinley, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs.

Red letter days: The Chinese vice president visited Ireland for three days, saying that he aims to deepen mutual friendship and take bilateral relations forward.

Xi Jinping brought a 150-strong Chinese delegation of business leaders and government officials.

He was greeted by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who said that the visit was significant and would lead to increased trade with China.

During his stay, the future Chinese leader visited the farm of James Lynch in west Limerick, and had a newborn heifer named after him.

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