Predictions for 2016 - Donald Trump wins, Bertie back, and a coalition of coalitions...

Fergus Finlay shares his predictions for 2016.
Predictions for 2016 -  Donald Trump wins, Bertie back, and a coalition of coalitions...

WHEN shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”

It’s familiar, that cackling greeting — maybe even more familiar in a Christmas season that has seen all those elements in our weather.

But it’s what you hear if you go to meet Macbeth’s three witches in the dead of night. I visit them every year at this time, armed with all the ingredients for their bubbling cauldron — “eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog”. As terrifying as they are, I know that if I listen carefully, I’ll be able to bring you entirely accurate predictions for the year ahead.

I could just wish you a happy new year. It’s what you deserve after all these years of austerity. But there’s a hell of a rollercoaster year in store.


Fianna Fáil launches its general election campaign. Its slogan — “The Party that showed the way to national recovery” — causes some discussion. Micheál Martin insists, however, that history will prove that Ireland would never even have needed economic recovery in the first place if it wasn’t for Fianna Fáil. “We will never repeat the mistakes of the past,” Martin says, “with foolish election promises.” The manifesto commits FF to the abolition of property tax, water charges, road tax, Vat, and inheritance tax.


Rumours sweep the country as tanks and armoured cars are seen in Stephen’s Green and Merrion St. David Davin-Power tells RTÉ News that the Taoiseach has decided to extend the Dáil term by a further two years and to cancel any election. “Paddy likes a little joke,” Enda Kenny tells the Dáil on February 3, before sending the troops back to the Curragh and dissolving the Dáil, with a general election to be held on February 26. Immediately, Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, and Fine Gael all issue press releases saying they will refuse to serve in government with each other.


Fine Gael fails to secure an overall majority and a vote of no confidence is immediately tabled in leader Enda Kenny. “Nothing to do with me,” says Leo Varadkar, who nevertheless declines to say how he will vote. Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin announce that, on mature reflection and in the national interest, they might be prepared to work together to offer an alternative to the people. Both sides will need support from smaller parties, however.


Easter, and the 1916 commemoration, are both postponed until June to enable a government to be formed. The new Social Democrat party meets to decide who it will support in government, who will lead its negotiations, and who will be a minister. At the end of a three-day meeting, the three TDs in the party announce they cannot agree on any of these matters and have decided to resume their status as independents. “I never knew politics would be this hard,” a grim-faced Stephen Donnelly tells reporters.


As discussions on government formation drag on interminably, Fianna Fáil appoints Bertie Ahern as chief negotiator. After six hours of negotiation with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, Ahern announces a deal is definitely a possibility. Mick Wallace joins the discussions, and hopes rise that an overall majority might be in sight. Talks break down when it is revealed that Wallace is insisting on appointing Clare Daly as Garda commissioner. “We have someone else in mind for that job,” Adams tells the media.


At last a government is formed. The Dáil meets for the first time in three months against a backdrop of 11% economic growth — “proof that strong government works”, as re-elected Taoiseach Enda Kenny says. He recalls Phil Hogan from Europe to manage relations between the eight government parties. Tánaiste Lucinda Creighton immediately resigns, and is replaced by Shane Ross, leader of the newly formed Nearly Always Independent Party, who is also appointed to the key role of Minister for Planning the next Hundred Years. Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland advance to the knock-out stage of the European Footballs Championships in France. The population of Lille more than doubles for the clash between Ireland and the unexpected winners of Group F, Iceland.


Enda finally wins the vote of confidence within Fine Gael, and presides over a tumultuous welcome home for the Irish team, who are just pipped for a place in the Euro 2016 final. World attention, however, quickly switches to Ohio, where Donal Trump is declared the Republican candidate. “When I am leader of the free world,” he tells his rapturous audience, “we’re really going to clamp down on those pesky Russkis, Mexicans, and other immigrants.”


The Taoiseach announces that Minister Shane Ross, who has lobbied hard for the job, will lead the Irish delegation to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Sport Minister Paul Murphy threatens to lead the Anti-Austerity Alliance out of government unless this “gross insult to the ordinary working man and sports fan” is reversed. Minister Ruth Coppinger immediately accuses Murphy of sexism. Trouble is averted when Ross agrees to stay at home for some important meetings. Murphy and Coppinger take the government jet to Rio together, where they are joined three days later, after an intensive round of diplomatic dinners, by the Irish team.


There is consternation when it is discovered that Bertie Ahern is now advising Donald Trump. “This guy knows how to win elections,” Trump says, “and I’m going to be needing someone to manage my bank accounts when I’m in the White House.”


As the American election hots up, Vladimir Putin tells the world media that of course he could work with “my good friend Donald Trump”. Later that day he launches an invasion of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, on the basis that they should never have been allowed to leave Russia. Trump’s rating shoot up when he announces that he is going to take no action, “because no one in America even knows where these places are”.


In a shock development, Trump plummets in the polls after his two ex-wives hold a joint press conference to confirm that his hair had been sown on to his head by a Muslim specialist in a private Mexican clinic. After initial denials, Trump is forced to admit this is true when “before and after” photographs appear. In a sensational development, Trump is defeated for the presidency by a narrow margin, and Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman president of the US.


At home, the government announces that in order to slow the rate of economic growth, which has reached an unprecedented 15%, and to avoid any danger of a boom and bust, it is declaring the entire month of December a national holiday. The stock market doubles overnight, and Ireland is officially declared the happiest place on earth.

Well, maybe that won’t all come to pass. But you never know! Whatever does happen, I hope that for you and your family, 2016 will be peaceful, prosperous, and not too dull.

There is consternation when it is discovered that Bertie Ahern is now advising Donald Trump

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