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More cooking, fewer interviews: Famous Irish folks on their New Year's resolutions

2016 was a tough year for many – so what are our high-profile citizens looking forward to in 2017? / YouTube

FROM THE OUTSIDE, Olympic hurdler Thomas Barr had a spectacular year. But – just as with the rest of us more pedestrian types – what lies beneath is always more complicated.

Speaking to he reflected on 2016 as “a mixed year – it finished off on an absolute high note in that I came fourth in the Olympics… but it was my toughest year as well as my best year on the track”. Preceding that stunning Rio performance was a year of “stress and struggle with injury”, a battle to finish his Master’s thesis and the breakdown of his long-term relationship, he says. (See video above for more.)

He has high hopes for 2017:

I just want to make sure that this year is going to be just as good, if not better, than last year when it comes to performing on the track. But also off the track, I want to maintain a good personality and a good rapport with the media and the Irish public.

We spoke to some other high-profile Irish people who have had a big year about their highlights – and their goals for 2017.

  • Do you have a particular resolution you want to keep in 2017? Share it with us in the comments.

Louise McSharry, broadcaster and journalist

lou Louise McSharry Louise McSharry

2016 was the year of giving birth to me. I found out I was pregnant in January and had our baby, Sam, in October. I didn’t love pregnancy, but the ends have certainly justified the means. He is an absolute joy.

In August, my book, Fat Chance, was published. A sort of paper baby, if you will! It was wonderful to see my hard work come to fruition and even better to find that, despite my trepidation, people enjoyed what I had produced. Despite gloomy world events, I will always look back on my 2016 fondly.

My resolution for 2017 is to be better at replying to email! I have an awful tendency to write responses in my head without actually sending them.

Ruth Negga, Golden Globes-nominated actress

LA Premiere of Loving - Arrivals Chris Pizzello Chris Pizzello

I don’t have [resolutions] because whenever I do I have a sort of badness in me that intentionally breaks it about two hours later.

I have to do flim flam on it – isn’t that from Forty Coats? When you say the opposite of what you mean? It’s kind of a trick you play on yourself – or I play on myself.

John Halligan, Minister of State for Training and Skills

29/3/2011. Dail debates Moriarty Reports Leon Farrell / Leon Farrell / /

2016 has been the year of ‘new politics’, a case in point being the Medicinal Cannabis Bill passing unopposed to the Committee Stage. Opening up the debate on progressive topics like this bodes well for democracy.

My goal for 2017 is to bring my own Dying with Dignity Bill to the Dáil.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland

4/2/2014. Amnesty International Reports Laura Hutton / Laura Hutton / /

From a work perspective 2017 is going to be a really critical year. As we come to end of 2016 we’ve seen the continuing failure of the international committee to respond to conflicts such as the one in Syrian and the horrendous impact they have had, from Aleppo to Yemen. A focus for 2017 will be trying to force reforms, particularly on the UN Security Council which has appalling failed to address these issues.

We are also in the midst of the Citizens’ Assembly process and there is a lot of work for everybody engaged on the issue of the Eighth Amendment. We hope that it will go beyond this, to the Oireachtas with a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

On a more personal level the last six months have been intensely busy and the two things I do most to maintain a work-life balance and a level of self-care are to run as much as I can and cook as much as I can.

Those two interests are about to merge next year. I took part in Celebrity Masterchef and that is going out in January this coming year. I was already passionate about cooking but this has made me infinitely more passionate about it.

I made some great new friendships on the show and one of those great new friends is Holly Carpenter. That is where the running is coming in – we are going to do the Bray Cliff Run for Amnesty in April next year.

The more I can run, the more I can eat!

Evelyn Cusack, Deputy Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann


We’re still studying climate change and possible change and there’s still a lot that isn’t understood. What we do know is that we are polluting the planet very badly – so I’d like to maybe start a campaign or do more to create awareness of pollution from plastic.

It takes over 200 years to disintegrate and it’s actually choking up the wildlife in the sea. Seriously. It’s a very problem. If you go into canteens, supermarkets, the amount of plastic we use… If people really want to recycle, they should be aware of plastic so much more than even paper because paper can disintegrate.

On a lighter note, I really hope we get a nice summer. You see every year Irish people hope for a good summer, but a good summer is an exception.

Matt Cooper, broadcaster and author

matt TodayFM TodayFM

My 2017 promise is to broadcast coverage on The Last Word about Donald Trump’s presidency that is informed by the same horror and scepticism as we suffered during his election campaign. Unless, of course, he changes. Which he shows no sign of doing.

I’m not going to fall for the argument that he has his mandate, not when his appointments to date show that he could be even worse than we had feared in the performance of his duties. As for back here in Ireland…

Enda Kenny, Taoiseach

My personal resolution is to get a few hours sleep and wake up refreshed to continue the battle for Ireland that lies ahead.

Annalise Murphy, Olympic silver medallist sailor

28/08/2016. Members of Team Ireland who competed a

The highlight of 2016 was definitely the actual medal race at the Olympic Games in Rio – that and the medal ceremony and then being with the whole team and my family afterwards. It’s been a bit overwhelming since then – it never really calmed down. After London, there wasn’t much interest but the medal makes a big difference. The awards and things like that can be stressful – and I don’t know anyone who would be really comfortable with it all – but it is great to be recognised.

I miss the structure and routine of training so I’ll be sitting down and setting down a proper plan to get back into it in 2017. Everything will point towards the World Championships in August. Performing well there will be my main goal for the year. It’s been nice to have a break but I know I have to put in a lot of hard work.

My motivation has still been pretty good – going to the gym and training every day but it’s a completely different level. Right now, I can catch up with friends and fit other things in like talking to kids in schools. Before the Olympics, it was train, sleep and eat – that was it.

Alan Kelly, Labour TD

31/08/2016. Pictured is Labour Party Alan Kelly TD Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

My Christmas plans involve getting more time to cook. I love cooking. I did my Leaving Cert at 16 and went to UCC so I was very young. When you’re away from home you tend to learn to cook, wash and iron quick so I have always had an interest in cooking.

I will spend more time with my children. I am going to Bunratty Castle this Sunday for a spectacular Christmas event, I love it. Then spend a bit of time with my parents, my friends from college – we are going to meet up for one night and outside of that, do a bit of cooking and I actually have an awful lot of political stuff that needs filing, a whole garage full of stuff so I will probably do that.

My New Year’s resolution is not to give as many interviews.

Interviews by Susan Daly, Christina Finn, Daragh Brophy, Sinead O’Carroll, Aoife Barry, Ryan Bailey.

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