*Farmers march: Around 20,000 farmers attended a demonstration in Dublin over their concerns about EU and government funding for the sector.
Many streets around Leinster House and Government Buildings were closed as the farmers marched through the city to Kildare Street.
The “day of action” by the Irish Farmers’ Association was its biggest demonstration in the capital for several years.
*Band girl released: A court in Moscow freed one of the three members of Pussy Riot, the punk band convicted of hooliganism for protesting in a cathedral last February. Yekaterina Samutsevich was released after judges accepted her lawyer’s argument that she played less of a role in the protest performance that landed her in jail with her band mates. The ruling maintained the guilty verdict against all three women on charges of hooliganism.
*Trap defiant: Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni said he will stay despite a 6-1 World Cup qualifier humiliation by Germany in Dublin.
“There are other managers who wish to go, but we have done our job very well and we want to continue,” he said.
*Taliban shoots teen: Taliban gunmen shot and seriously wounded a 14-year-old Pakistani girl for defying them. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck while she was on her way home on a school bus. Two other girls were wounded. She had written about the importance of education for females which the Taliban opposes. She underwent a lifesaving brain operation in London and is still recovering.
*Rights violated: A damning report on St Patrick’s Institution in Dublin has found a culture that led to the human rights of some children and young adults being either ignored or violated.
Inspector of Prisons Michael Reilly also raised concerns about prison healthcare and education, as well as the use of control and restraint techniques. Justice Minister Alan Shatter described the findings as shocking.
*Derry aired: Derry was named as one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2013 by guidebook company Lonely Planet. The city was placed fourth in a list in the annual Best in Travel 2013 guide. The top three were San Francisco, Amsterdam and Hyderabad in India. The guide said: “This vibrant, historic walled city is undergoing a renaissance”.
*Student protest: More than 1,000 students took to the streets of Cork in the first of a series of regional rallies to highlight opposition to fee increases and cuts in student grants in the budget.
Students from UCC and CIT marched on the offices of Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer.
The rally was organised by the Union of Students in Ireland.
*Vote tainted: The Supreme Court ruled that certain sections of the Government’s booklet and website on the children’s referendum are not “fair, equal or impartial”. The decision followed an appeal by engineer Mark McCrystal who claimed that €1.1m of public money used in the Government’s information campaign breached the 1995 Supreme Court McKenna judgment which requires referendums to be explained to the public impartially.
*Gaza attack: In one of its biggest attacks on Gaza since the invasion four years ago, Israel launched an aerial attack, hitting at least 20 targets.
One of those was a Hamas military commander, Ahmed al Jabari, who was killed while travelling through Gaza in a car. The air strikes were in response to repeated rocket attacks by Palestinian militants in Gaza.
A ceasefire was later agreed between the two sides.
*Referendum passed: The children’s referendum was passed with the support of 58% of voters, with just three of the country’s 43 constituencies rejecting the proposed amendment.
However, only 33.5% of those eligible to vote did so, which was the lowest turnout since 1996.
*Pregnant woman dies: A pregnant woman, who begged for an abortion, died in Galway University Hospital after doctors refused, allegedly telling her: “This is a Catholic country.”
Savita Halappanavar, aged 31, pleaded for help after she began to miscarry her baby 17 weeks into her first pregnancy.
Her husband Praveen claims that although she was in pain, doctors refused to intervene for almost three days because her baby still had a heartbeat.
*Hard-boiled protest: Students protesting against the prospect of fee hikes in the budget and cuts in grants threw eggs at Taoiseach Enda Kenny during an event at UCD.
The Taoiseach was not hit by the eggs but UCD vice-president for students Martin Butler was struck.
*Budget blues: The most savage budget of the recession hit ordinary families for €1,000 a year. Property tax, cuts to child benefit and changes to social insurance were among the measures.
No section of society was left unscathed. Pensioners lost out with cuts to the household package that helps pay utility bills.
In the wake of a package of cuts and taxes worth €3.5bn, there were scuffles between gardaí and protesters outside Leinster House.
*More babies: Figures from the ESRI show that Ireland has the highest birth rate of any of the 27 European Union countries.
Over 74,000 babies were born in the country last year, representing a slight fall at 16 births per 1,000 of population.
The Perinatal Statistics Report 2011 also shows a 27% reduction in the number of babies who died during or shortly after birth over the past nine years.
*School slaughter: 27 people, including 20 children, were shot dead by a lone gunman at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, USA. Adam Lanza, 20, forced his way into the school before silently walking through it and opening fire — leaving among his victims, 20 children aged five to 10. He too died after finally turning a weapon on himself. His mother Nancy was found dead at her home.
*European court fine: Ireland was fined €3.5m by the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with environmental law — the first time such penalties have been imposed.
The cases relate to Ireland’s failure to regulate septic tanks, and to correctly transpose an EU directive on environmental impact assessments.
The court imposed a lump-sum fine of €2m, as well as a daily fine of €12,000 for each day of delay in implementing a court judgment from 2009.
*Star dies: The GAA football legend Páidí Ó Sé passed away suddenly of a heart attack, aged just 57.
The Kerry star won eight senior All-Ireland Football medals during a superb playing career and added two more as manager of his native county. He also took Westmeath to a Leinster title.
He was found dead at his home in Ventry on Saturday, Dec 15. His funeral drew huge crowds and tributes were led by President Michael D Higgins.
*End not nigh: The earth is still safely on its sphere despite doomsday predictions of an impending apocalypse to coincide with the end of the Mayan age.
The human race successfully navigated the 11.11am deadline on 21.12.12, with no reports of the globe being besieged by raining fire or killer earthquakes.