The year in pictures

MAY

The year in pictures

* Brady accused: Cardinal Seán Brady was under renewed pressure to step down after a television programme alleged he failed to hand over a list of children being abused by Brendan Smyth — the country’s most notorious paedophile priest — to the victims’ parents or the gardaí.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter described the testimony of an abuse victim, who claimed to have handed over a list of victims to the cardinal in 1975, as “tragic and disturbing”.

* Vive le president: François Hollande defeated Nicolas Sarkozy to become president of France.

With the victory, Hollande became the country’s first socialist president since François Mitterrand’s term ended in 1995.

Hollande’s victory was seen as a sign that France had grown weary of Germany’s dominance with the economic austerity policy in the eurozone.

* Non-Teflon Taoiseach: An unemployed bus driver described Enda Kenny as an “arrogant git” after the Taoiseach told him to find a job.

Gordon Hudson, 54, demanded an apology from Mr Kenny following a heated exchange on the campaign trail for the EU fiscal treaty.

Mr Hudson, an anti-household charge campaigner, said he was “taken aback” when told by Mr Kenny: “You could do with a day’s work, I’d say.”

He accused the Taoiseach of being an “arrogant git”.

* Putin is back: Vladimir Putin became president of Russia for the third time on May 6.

He won the election with 63% of the vote.

The day before his third inauguration as Russia’s president, demonstrations turned violent with 20,000 anti-government protesters battling police near the Kremlin.

While Putin officially took office, the protests continued and police arrested 120 people. Demonstrators used smoke bombs, bottles, and sticks to make their point.

* No, but yes, but ... Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton raised the prospect of a second referendum if the fiscal treaty was rejected on May 31.

Mr Bruton said delaying the referendum would put Ireland in the same category as Greece.

When he was asked how the Government would explain a no vote to its colleagues in Europe, Mr Bruton said Ireland might be seeking the option to vote on the treaty a second time.

* Rough justice: The Justice for Magdalenes campaign group discovered that women were transferred from state-funded mother and baby homes to Magdalene Laundries, where they were held against their will and without their children.

The group said the evidence strengthened the case for compensation.

Last year the UN Committee Against Torture strongly criticised the Government’s failure to apologise to and compensate former detainees of the State’s 10 Magdalene Laundries.

JUNE

* Mubarak jailed: Controversial former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, was sentenced to life in prison for being an accomplice in the killing of unarmed protestors during the Jan 2011 demonstrations.

The judge dismisses corruption charges against Mubarak because the statute of limitations has run out. Lower level officials are acquitted.

Angry over the verdict, thousands of demonstrators hit the streets in Cairo and other cities. Egypt’s military-led government announced that it would appeal the verdict.

* Turf wars: Peace reigned after a stand-off ended between up to 200 turfcutters, gardaí, and officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Services near Woodford in Co Galway.

Representatives of the Turf Cutting Contractors’ Association, a machine of which was seized by NPWS, were allowed by gardaí to remove the vehicle from the bog.

Association chairman Michael Fitzmaurice said the local turfcutters had won the battle and would continue to cut turf.

* Syria in turmoil: After being attacked by a mob, the UN monitors left their fact-finding mission in Syria.

A UN official declared that Syria was in a state of civil war while US secretary of state Hillary Clinton accused Russia of giving the Syrian government helicopters to use against the rebels.

Meanwhile, Syrian military forces shot down a Turkish military jet and Turkey responded by threatening retaliation.

* In congress: Pilgrims from around the globe gathered for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress at the RDS in Dublin.

In a pre-recorded address, Pope Benedict said the legacy of Irish Catholicism had been shaken by the clerical sexual abuse of children.

The Pope praised the Church in Ireland for its heroic missionaries but he said this joyful legacy had been shaken by the systemic abuse of children by priests, brothers, and nuns.

* Cashiered: Ulster Bank revealed that more than 100,000 people had been affected by what began as a one-day delay in processing certain payments.

Initially, it said some payments to customers and social welfare claimants would not be paid until the following day as it battled to solve technical problems.

The fault also affected transactions at NatWest, its sister bank in Britain.

In the end, the debacle went on for several weeks and thousands had to be compensated.

* O’Reilly riled: Health Minister Dr James Reilly handed over power of attorney to his solicitor in relation to his business interest in a Co Tipperary property.

It follows reports that Dr Reilly is set to be named with a number of business partners on a debt defaulters’ list from Stubbs Gazette, for failing to pay €1.9m.

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War of Independence Podcast

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Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence