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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 28 February, 2020

These are the winners and losers of 2015

Annus horribilis ou annus mirabilis.

IN A YEAR when we practically had no summer and didn’t really get a cold winter either, there were plenty of other things to keep us occupied.

As part of our review of 2015, we picked five people (well, not just people) who had a particularly good year and others who had a bit of a stinker.

Feel free to add your own to the list.


Robbie Brady

Bosnia and Herzegovina v Republic of Ireland - UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying - Play-off - First Leg - Stadion Bilino Polje Source: PA Wire/PA Images

If we can choose one person to accept this coveted award on behalf of the Irish football team, few would begrudge it of Robert. This year, the squad qualified for Euro 2016 and beat world champions Germany on the way.

Robbie Brady emerged from the mist to score Ireland’s first goal of their play-off tie and has generally made himself key to Martin O’Neill’s team. It’s also been a year when the 23-year-old made a big money move to Premier League club Norwich City and has already proven his worth. Good year for the Dubliner.

Denis O’Brien’s solicitors

Denis O'Brien Source: Mark Lennihan

They had a busy year. Let’s leave it at that.

New political parties

15/7/2015 New Political Parities Social Democrats Source: Sam Boal

For years, there’d been talk of a mythical ‘new political party’ in Ireland, and what do you know, they’ve now come along like buses. You’d swear there was an election coming in the next few months that kicked them into gear.

Between new parties Renua and the Social Democrats as well as alliances PFP/AAA and the Independent Alliance, 2015 is the year that Irish politicians banded together to give the people what everyone said the people wanted: fresh choices.

Now it’s just about seeing whether they’ll actually pick them.

Shiny happy married people

1/5/2014 Kenny European Elections Campaigns Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Surely the whole marriage thing must be good if so many people want to be part of it. Quite apart from the death knell to the institution that some opponents claimed it would be, has extending marriage to same-sex couples actually made the whole tradition cool again? 

Louise O’Neill

asking for it

Already praised for her debut novel, the Cork native took on the issue of rape and sexual consent for her follow-up. In Asking For It, she not only had a highly successful book on her hands but became a prominent campaigner on the issue in the process.


Anyone involved with the Banking Inquiry

banking 1 Former Tánaiste Mary Harney spoke before the inquiry in July.

There was talk for a while that the inquiry wouldn’t be published at all. We now know that it will, albeit in a much abridged format.

Aside from those issues, the inquiry generally hasn’t managed to significantly enhance our understanding of the financial collapse.

Very often it served as a platform for political and banking actors from the time to apologise. While apologies are always welcome, they’re not exactly worth €70 billion.

The English rugby team

Rugby Union - England World Cup File photo Source: PA Wire/PA Images


People who shoot lions

lion killer Walt Palmer, left and another lion that's not Cecil. Source: Facebook

Okay, so it’s never good to shoot lions and doing that alone makes you a loser, but 2015 really wasn’t a good year to do it. After American dentist Walt Palmer paid $50,000 to shoot a lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe, he legitimately became a worldwide hate figure and became hunted in much the same way as the aforementioned lion.

Jeremy Clarkson

Tennis - 2015 AEGON Championship - Day Three - The Queen's Club Source: Adam Davy

Jezza will probably be fine, he has a multi-million pound contract with Amazon to console him and a massive budget for his new show. Heck, even the BBC hasn’t ruled out that he may come back to them on a show other than Top Gear.

But there’s no doubt that being booted off the most watched TV series in the world for punching one of your co-workers is a bad year, all-in-all like.

European lawmakers

Italy Migrants Source: AP/Press Association Images

Perhaps the most distressing story of the year saw thousands of people drown as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean to seek refuge in Europe.

The pictures of lifeless four-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi on a beach in Turkey led to a global outcry and a fresh impetus that an agreement on the placement of refugees be made.

Despite repeated efforts, a mandatory sharing scheme has yet to be agreed.

Read: Here’s what Ireland watched on YouTube this year >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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