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COMMENT: Lots to be grumpy about in 2017

Monday, 18th December, 2017 7:59am
COMMENT: Lots to be grumpy about in 2017

The Republic of Ireland team did us proud but fell at the final hurdle in failing to secure World Cup qualification. PHOTO: BRIAN F SMYTH

COMMENT: Lots to be grumpy about in 2017

The Republic of Ireland team did us proud but fell at the final hurdle in failing to secure World Cup qualification. PHOTO: BRIAN F SMYTH

IT’S hard to pen a weekly opinion column without coming across as an old curmudgeon. Like everyone else, I’m prone to the occasional bout of grumpiness – but not an amount that’s unmanageable.

When writing, I’m often inclined to cast a caustic eye on the state of the nation, particularly when it comes to Irish politics. But because it’s the season to be jolly, I’m going to do my best to be optimistic in this week’s column. No promises, though.

This year got off to a rocky start with the inauguration of Donald Trump, proof positive that the world – or at least America – had gone mad. There was hardly a day when I didn’t want to scream at the radio or television after listening to one of the Donald’s inane rants.

Just months into his term of office, Trump had succeeded in bringing us to the brink of nuclear oblivion by picking a fight with the similarly volatile leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.

“Will there be a World War 3, Daddy?” my youngest son asked me one day.

“You’ve nothing to worry about,” I assured him. “We have members of the Independent Alliance planning a trip to Pyongyang to diffuse the situation.”

Thankfully, their North Korean odyssey was called off in the face of widespread derision from the public and media. Don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing funny about Armageddon but you must admit that there was a touch of ‘Killinaskully’ about this proposal.

There were mixed fortunes for commuters in 2017, with more transport strikes leading to uncertainty and major disruption. The year was supposed to end on a high note with the much anticipated opening of the new Luas Cross City route but the celebrations were short-lived after a signaling fault caused chaos just two days into its launch.

It was year of scandal after scandal for the Garda Siochana, reaching its nadir with the appalling treatment of whistleblower Maurice McCabe – a controversy that has taken down two Ministers for Justice to date and came close to causing a pre-Christmas general election that nobody wanted.

The Brexit farce dragged on, much to the apparent delight of Pat Kenny who seemingly couldn’t get enough of it on his otherwise decent Newstalk radio show. Important topic - but boring!

On the sporting front, we failed to qualify for the World Cup, despite the herculean efforts of our national team who quickly fell out of favour with the ‘best fans in the world’, particularly the sad, lonely, racist Twitter trolls.

We also didn’t win the bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, while Conor McGregor lost his first professional boxing match, happily making an obscene amount of money in the process.

So was 2017 a good or bad year? I’ll let you decide. Happy Christmas to you all and here’s looking to an even grumpier 2018.

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