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The year of burning deeply: 15 insults that made us wince in 2014
Deep and crisp and even.

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE a well-timed, well-phrased insult to get the blood going – and we had plenty of them in 2014.

Some of them are harsh putdowns, some are righteous comebacks.

They range from faded romance to international relations at a time of war, but they all have one thing in common: they burn.


7 January:

Ralph Lauren’s niece Jennifer was arrested in Shannon amid allegations she was drunk and abusive on a New York-bound flight.

When the charges were read to her (in the accent of an Irish person), she instantly became a bit of a national hate figure with this deliciously villainous insult:

Can you say that in English please?

burn1 Hunger Games Hunger Games

26 February:

We’re used to hyperbole spilling from the lips of Eamon Dunphy, but when John Giles – the voice of reason, the nation’s wise and kindly uncle – calls someone a “prat”, you pay attention.

Here’s the moment the great man gave the underperforming and over-verbalising Robin van Persie his comeuppance.

Gooner Conor / YouTube

23 May:

It’s been two weeks since Alan Shatter retired as Justice Minister, in a storm of controversy, and he hasn’t said a word publicly.

He holds court at a press conference, announces he’ll be taking his severance package and graciously donating it to charity.

In response, one of his constituency colleagues tells

If Alan Shatter was an ice-cream, he’d lick himself.


28 May:

Sinn Féin have just had their strongest ever showing in local and European elections, leaving the other parties trailing badly, and Mary Lou McDonald wants to rub it in Enda Kenny’s face.

During Leaders’ Questions, she takes to her feet and shows that sometimes understatement is the most devastating oratorical technique of all:

Did you not follow the election results?I don’t know how to break this to you. You are not regarded as competent. Have you got that message Taoiseach?


6 June:

The CIA joined Twitter this year. They charmed plenty of us with their friendly banter, but got royally excoriated by Wikileaks in this searing little exchange:

photo-219-391x500 Twitter Twitter

18 July:

Rory McIlroy famously broke up with Caroline Wozniacki in May, allegedly by phone, and after they’d already sent out invitations to their wedding.

Anyone who felt a bit of revenge was in order, got their wish during the summer when Wozniacki made a subtle but awfully burn-y reference to the fact that Rory is an inch shorter than her.

It’s been three years since I have worn heels on a normal day out.

wozn Caroline Wozniacki Caroline Wozniacki

29 August:

One of the biggest geopolitical issues of this year was the conflict in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

By August, the Canadian delegation at NATO had clearly had enough of alleged Russian incursions into Ukrainian territory, and issued this highly undiplomatic but brutal burn:

The Russians responded the next day, cheekily including the Crimean peninsula as theirs, but it didn’t quite have the same singeing effect.

17 September:

Not necessarily a mic-dropping, triumphant burn, but Kay Burley’s on-air/off-air comment to a Scottish referendum campaigner was certainly one of the most famous insults of 2014.

Scrapbook TV / YouTube

23 September:

Whatever your views on the political events of the last 12 months, Finance Minister Michael Noonan almost set Leinster House on fire with this burn against Sinn Féin, the closest we got to stand-up comedy in the Dáil this year.

Hugh O'Connell / YouTube

A crate of Savlon to Sinn Féin HQ, please.

7 October:

When Roy Keane’s second autobiography came out in October, we knew it would be a treasure trove of insults, score-settling and brilliant anecdotes.

It also contained one of the harshest, most excruciating burns of this or any sporting year, when explaining why he decided not to sign Robbie Savage at Sunderland:

keano The Second Half The Second Half

21 October

We can expect Dublin UFC star Conor McGregor to be a fixture on this list in years to come, and he makes the cut in 2014 for this simple, infantile, but humiliating takedown of rival Chad Mendes:

BT Sport / YouTube

23 October:

Clearly, the biggest, most important political issue of the year was whether or not the Mexican ambassador would be able to save the Garth Brooks concerts.

After that, though, it was probably water charges, to be fair.

Enter these six Irish lads on a holiday in New York, who sent our Taoiseach a very special message all the way from the other side of the Atlantic:

watercharges-2-630x458 Brian O'Malley Brian O'Malley

16 November:

When the government released a 1916 Rising commemoration video that didn’t mention the 1916 Rising, the flood of criticism that followed was predictable.

What nobody saw coming was UCD historian and government advisor Diarmuid Ferriter, whose verdict on the since-deleted video should really enter the Irish political lexicon, along with “GUBU” and “mature reflection.”

Embarrassing, unhistorical shit.


17 November:

Three decades after the first outing, Bob Geldof got together a load of megastars for Band Aid 30 this year.

Sales “went bonkers,” but the tone and content of the song and project faced criticism from a number of quarters.

Jayne Secker of Sky News dared to confront Geldof with his detractors in a live interview, and he served up a gleeful double-whammy of sweary contempt.

Lawrence Riley / YouTube

27 November:

Bono’s had a funny old year. U2 gave away their new album as part of a major marketing ploy with Apple, and Rolling Stone called it the best of the year.

But the door fell off Bono’s private plane, and then he suffered a load of injuries when he crashed his bike in New York.

To make things worse, GQ magazine unleashed an absolute flame-thrower by naming him and the band the No. 1 Least Influential People of 2014 – a distinction reserved for

people who took up vast clouds of oxygen, gave us back nothing of use, and probably helped accelerate the death of our planet.


Read: 10 of the most epic burns the world has ever seen>

6 of the dirtiest insults thrown across the floors of the Dáil and Seanad>

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