Gary Ablett 1965-2012

Gary Ablett 1965-2012

New Year’s Day (a Sunday); 2012 is a ‘leap’ year

1 January: Sweeping price increases for goods and services come into effect in Ireland. A controversial €100 household charge, for example, as well as increases in VAT (value added tax — a sales tax), transport fares, motor taxation, health insurance costs, et cet.

1 January: death of Gary Ablett (b. 1965), English footballer (played for Liverpool, Everton, Birmingham City); non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

3 January – Fireball seen crossing through the skies over Ireland, a meteorite which tanked in the Irish Sea north of Dublin.

Dobson is first in the picture gallery (l to r) and Norris last

Dobson is first in the picture gallery (l to r) and Norris last

3 January – In England, after a trial based on new forensic evidence, Gary Dobson and David Norris are convicted of the racist murder of black London teenager Stephen Lawrence in April 1993.

4 January – Dobson and Norris (see above) are jailed for life for the murder of Stephen Lawrence, to serve minimums of just over 15 and 14 years respectively.

6 January: death of Bob Holness, South African-born radio and television presenter (Blockbusters most famously) and actor, announced (b. 1928)

10 January: Scottish Government announces plan to hold referendum on Scottish independence in the autumn of 2014 – “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” will be the question.

Sean Quinn

Sean Quinn

14 January – the 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia cruise ship, with more than 4,000 people on board, runs aground off the Italian coast. Captain of the ship among the first to flee.

16 January – Seán Quinn, Ireland’s richest person as recently as 2008, declared bankrupt at the High Court.

17 January: death of Aengus Fanning (aged 69), editor of the Sunday Independent.

22/3 January – Strongest solar proton storm since 2003 creating rare display of the aurora borealis in Ireland observed by thousands in north County Donegal, and indeed as far south as County Mayo.

24 January – UK government debt has risen to above £1 trillion.

25 January – despite widespread objections Ireland paid another €1.25 billion to Anglo Irish Bank bondholders.

31 January – Former Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Fred Goodwin stripped of his knighthood as a result of the near collapse of the bank when he was at the helm in 2008.



England captain John Terry

England captain John Terry

1 February: At least 79 people killed and more than 1,000 are injured after a football match (fans rioting) in Port Said, Egypt.

3 February – UK Secretary of State for Energy Chris Huhne resigns after the Crown Prosecution Service announces it will bring charges against him over allegations that his former wife accepted penalty points on her driving licence on his behalf.

3 February – The English Football Association removes Chelsea’s John Terry as captain of the national football team as a result of alleged racial abuse (by Terry) of QPR opponent Anton Ferdinand.

11 February – death of Whitney Houston, American singer and actress (b. 1963). Drugs, drowned in a bath tub in a Beverly Hills hotel.

12 February: death of Irish actor David Kelly (aged 82); the hopeless (but cheap) Irish builder in Fawlty Towers.

18 February – Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping began a three-day trip to Ireland

President Xi Jinping of China trying out some Gaelic games

Vice-president Xi Jinping of China trying out some Gaelic games in Dublin

Marie Colvin 1956-2012

Marie Colvin 1956-2012

21 February – Eurozone finance ministers reach agreement on a second €130-billion Greek bailout.

22 February: death of Frank Carson, Northern Irish stand-up comic (aged 85).

22 February: Sunday Times foreign correspondent Marie Colvin is killed in Homs in Syria (death a result of the shelling of the city by government forces which she was reporting on).

26 February – The first edition of The Sun on Sunday is published effectively replacing the News of the World which was axed last summer due to the phone-hacking scandal. See also 29 February, below.

26 February The Artist, a movie about the end of the silent movie era, swept almost all before it at the Oscars: best picture, best actor (Jean Dujardin), and best director (Michel Hazanavicius). Meryl Streep took best actress for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

28 February: death of Hal Roache, Irish comic (aged 84).

james_murdoch_071829 February – Davy Jones (of ‘Monkees’ fame), British singer and actor (b. 1945).

29 February – James Murdoch resigns from News International to focus on something other than running the British newspapers division of his father’s News International empire (more fallout from the phone-hacking scandal; discontinuing News of the World now seen as a panicky misjudgement — see also 26 February, above).

29 February: David Rathband, the British policeman blinded by gunman Raoul Moat during a 2010 shooting, is found dead at his home in Blyth, Northumberland.


2 March – death of Norman St John-Stevas, Tory politician (one of the “wets” in Mrs Thatcher’s first cabinet), author, and barrister (b. 1929).

Occupy Dame Street, Dublin

Occupy Dame Street, Dublin

7 March – The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland upheld a complaint against RTÉ (the national broadcasting service in Ireland) made by presidential candidate Seán Gallagherrelating to a misleading ‘tweet’ which unbalanced a television debate during the campaign (and may, in fairness, have cost Gallagher the election).

8 March – In an overnight raid in Dublin the Garda Síochána [the police force in the Irish Republic] destroyed the [anti-corporatist] Occupy Dame Street encampment.

8 March – Allied Irish Banks (AIB) confirmed plans to cut 2,500 jobs.

13 March – After 244 years, Encyclopædia Britannica announces discontinuance its print format (all digital going forward).

Rowan Williams15 March – at 2.7 million, UK unemployment now stands at a 17-year high.

16 March – Dr Rowan Williams announces he will retire as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of the year having headed the Anglican Church since 2003. Returning to academic life, he is to become master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

17 March: St Patrick’s Day (a Saturday)

17 March: in Rugby, Ireland lose 30-9 to England at Twickenham bringing a disappointing Six Nations series to a close — from an Irish POV (wins over Scotland and Italy, a draw with France, losing to England and Wales). Wales champions.

pope-shenouda-iii17 March: Pope Shenouda III (the Coptic pope) Papa Abba Šenoude (b. 1923), has died. The 117th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St Mark, his episcopate lasted 40 years (from November 1971). A conservative figure in a conservative church, his official title was Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Here (right) he is pictured on his throne, lying in state, in all his regal splendour, the Coptic tradition which continued for three days.

18 March – There was a break-in at justice minister Alan Shatter’s home in Dublin.

Bertie Ahern

Disgraced former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern giving it his naughty little boy look

22 March – The Mahon Tribunal published the findings of its 15 years of investigations into corruption in Irish public life, that is, the Tribunal of Inquiry Into Certain Planning Matters and Payments. Commonly known as ‘the Mahon Tribunal’ after the name of its last chairman, Judge Alan Mahon, this was a public inquiry established by Dáil Éireann [the parliament of the Irish Republic] in 1997 to investigate persistent allegations of various forms of corrupt payments to politicians and officials. (Judge Alan Mahon was the final chair of the tribunal; the chairman at the outset and for most of its proceedings was Judge Feargus Flood, hence the original term in common usage ‘the Flood Tribunal’.) The tribunal ran from November 1997 to March 2012, the longest running and most expensive public inquiry in Ireland — costs estimated to total out at between €250 million and €300 million. Public hearings concluded in September 2008, and following several delays due to various legal challenges (from people who could still afford to do such things), the tribunal set about preparing its final report. (The tribunal published four interim reports, but this, on 22 March 2012, was its final report.) THE REPORT FOUND that former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern failed to “truthfully” explain the sources of various payments to him, rejecting his attempted representation of these payments as “dig-outs” from friends at the time of his divorce etc — of one sum at one point he said he couldn’t explain it but he might have “won it on the horses”; of course it was meant to be light-hearted but those amused by it were a thinning band of die-hard supporters of dubious cognitive acuity. (In April 2008, Ahern had been forced to resign as Taoiseach [prime minister] due to continuing controversies arising from the tribunal’s proceedings, specifically his utterly incredible testimony and the negative public reaction thereto. The party was suffocating in the polls by then, so much so that he was persuaded to go — and then, of course, financial crash of 2008-9 happened, which totally destroyed the chances of a recovery in the party’s fortunes.) The tribunal also found that former EU Commissioner Pádraig Flynn (another godfather in the Fianna Fáil Party) “wrongly and corruptly” sought payments from English property-developer Tom Gilmartin. (Many other lesser culprits were identified but these two were the headline figures.) FOLLOWING PUBLICATION the Irish government — by this time a Fine Gael and Labour Party coalition — referred the 3,270-page report to the Garda Commissioner, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Revenue Commissioners, and also to the newly-established Standards in Public Office Commission. After the final report’s publication what was left of the Fianna Fáil Party — which suffered slaughter in the 2011 general election (reduced to just 20 members of parliament, down from 71) — sought to expel members found to have received corrupt payments. However, Bertie Ahern, Pádraig Flynn, G. V. Wright, Don Lydon, Finbarr Hanrahan, John Hannon et al, all resigned from the party before they could be expelled.

Jocky Wilson 1950-2012

Jocky Wilson 1950-2012

24 March – People packed to capacity the National Stadium in Dublin for a rally to protest the household charge payment introduced in the last Budget. Crowds unable to get in gathered outside.

24 March – death of Jocky Wilson, one-time world darts champion (b. 1950).

24 MarchThe Sunday Times releases video evidence of Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas offering undercover reporters access to UK Prime Minister David Cameron for £250,000 (that is, private dinners at Downing Street).

25 March – denying any wrong-doing, Peter Cruddas resigns as Tory Party co-treasurer following the “Cash for Access” revelations (see above).

1st-class-coro26 March – in the wake of the “Cash for Access” scandal (see above) David Cameron publishes details of all Conservative Party donors who have had dinner with him at Downing Street (10 Downing Street being the official London residence of the British prime minister).

28 March: death of English playwright John Arden (aged 81) — Sergeant Musgrave’s Dance etc — who lived and died in Galway in the west of Ireland.

27 March – The cost of a first-class stamp in Britain will rise from 46p to 60p from 30 April, while second class post will increase from 36p to 50p, after regulator Ofcom lifts some price controls on Royal Mail.

29 March – Respect Party candidate [and general pain in the ass] George Galloway wins the Bradford West by-election in the UK with a majority of 10,140 votes, taking the seat from the Labour Party (which he was once a member of — indeed he was once a Labour Party member of parliament). Lots of angry Muslims in Bradford West (and lots of sick-of-New-Labour people too), whose frustrations and grievances Galloway cleverly surfed to find his way back onto the green benches of the House of Commons.


5 April: death of Barney McKenna (aged 72), founding member of the Irish folk music group ‘The Dubliners’.

6 April: Good Friday

Rihanna-Magazine-Cover-2012-Uk8 April: Easter Sunday

11 April – in his own constituency Irish environment minister Phil Hogan sought sanctuary in a Carlow cathedral after running away from people protesting against his new property tax.

14 April – As the Labour Party (the junior partner in the governing coalition in Ireland) held its centenary conference in the Bailey Allen Hall in the National University of Ireland campus in Galway, Gardaí used pepper spray to hold back anti-austerity demonstrators protesting government cuts. The conference venue was lock-down secured amid chants of “Revolution, revolution!” with demonstrators sporting a coffin draped in the Irish tricolour.

Louis LeBrocquy self-portrait

Louis LeBrocquy self-portrait

19 April – Gavin O’Reilly, chief executive of Independent News & Media, resigns at the end of long-running dispute with Denis O’Brien, the company’s leading shareholder.

22 April: death of Irish artist Louis Le Brocquy (aged 95).

26 April – Former Liberian president Charles Taylor found guilty on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, crimes which were committed during the civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone (he also started a civil war in his own country, in the 1990s, which is how he came to power in the first place).

30 April – Data released by the Met Office ranks April the wettest April on record in the United Kingdom.


Cardinal-Sean-Brad_1114469a2 May – a pastel version of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ sells for $120 million USD in New York City auction, setting a new world record for an auctioned work of art.

2 May – Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Roman Catholic Primate of All-Ireland et cet, embroiled in controversy in the wake of a BBC television programme alleging he failed to act after a sex abuse survivor gave him a list in 1975 of children being abused by jailed paedophile and former priest Brendan Smyth. (Brady sought to silence the child and protect the good standing of the church, which in effect meant sheltering the abuser; his grace the cardinal does not accept that he has anything to answer for.)

3 May – Denis O’Brien bought another 5% stake in Independent News & Media, bringing his stake in the company to 27%

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

3 May – Local elections held in England, Scotland, and Wales. Labour Party make gains, winning the largest number of councillors in England and Wales, while in Scotland the Scottish National Party make further gains achieving the largest number of local council seats. Nationally vote share was: 39% Labour, 31% Conservative, 16% Liberal Democrats, and others 14%. Boris Johnson is re-elected Mayor of London with 51.5% of the vote. Ken Livingston, his Labour Party opponent (and former mayor) subsequently says that that is his last election (ie, Ken’s last election). In the London Assembly, Labour becomes the party with the most seats, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats losing out. The British National Party have lost their only seat on the Assembly. Of the 25 seats on the London Assembly, the final tally stands at: Labour 12, Conservatives 9, Liberal Democrats 2, and Greens 2.

5 May – with a 2–1 win over Liverpool in the final, Chelsea win their seventh FA Cup.

9 May – death of Vidal Sassoon, British style guru and entrepreneur (b. 1928).

François Hollande

François Hollande

9 May: Archaeologists announce discovery on the Burren (in County Clare) of evidence of a settlement from circa 6000 BCE.

13 May – Manchester City win the Premier League title on goal difference ahead of cross-city rivals United, City’s first top division title since 1968.

15 May: Socialist Party’s François Hollande defeats Nicolas Sarkozy in the French presidential elections

15 May – death of Carlos Fuentes, Panamanian-born Mexican writer (b. 1928) — The Death of Artemio Cruz, Aura, Terra Nostra, The Old Gringo, Christopher Unborn etc.

16 May – The Garda Síochána (the police  force in the Irish Republic) destroyed the Occupy Galway camp in an overnight raid (see also 8 March and 14 April, above, 17 May, below).

Chelsea's Juan Mata with the [European] Champions League trophy

Chelsea’s Juan Mata with the [European] Champions League trophy

17 May – Irish prime minister Enda Kenny heckled and booed by anti-austerity protesters in Galway.

17 May– death of Donna Summer, American disco diva (b. 1948).

19 May – in Munich’s Allianz Arena, Chelsea win the European Cup for the first time in their history, defeating Germany’s Bayern Munich on penalties after a 1–1 draw.

20 May – death of Robin Gibb (of Bee Gees fame), British-Australian pop musician (b. 1949).

22 May – Tokyo Skytree is opened to the public, at 634 metres the tallest self-supporting tower in the world.

25 May – Millionaire’s daughter Laura Johnson, who ferried looters around London during the 2011 riots in London, is jailed for two years.

31 May – Constitutional referendum to permit Ireland to ratify the 2012 European Fiscal Compact passes.


2-5 June – UK celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II (60 years on the throne) with a four-day bank holiday weekend. Events include a pageant of over 1,000 boats on the River Thames on 3 June and a pop concert at Buckingham Palace on 4 June. (Weekend spoiled with rain.)

Diamond Jubilee

5 June – death of Ray Bradbury, American author (b. 1920) — Fahrenheit 451 etc.

6 June – County Mayo in the west of Ireland affected by little earthquake (magnitude 4.0, so perhaps not so little).

10 June: In the Euro 2012 football championships (taking place in Poland and the Ukraine) Rep. of Ireland are beaten 3-1 by Croatia. Horrible!

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2012 - Group C - Spain v Republic of Ireland - Arena Gdansk11 June – A tornado 700 metres high was seen near Buncrana in County Donegal, one of the biggest ever recorded in Ireland.

14 June: In the Euro 2012 football championships (taking place in Poland and the Ukraine) Rep. of Ireland are beaten 4-0 by Spain. More horrible (see also 10 June, above)!

Aung San Suu Kyi18 June – Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi paid a visit to Dublin on the day before her 67th birthday. She came from Norway where she collected the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to her in 1991. Following a reception at Áras an Uachtaráin (the president’s residence in the Phoenix Park) she was awarded an honorary degree at a ceremony at Trinity College, Dublin. She also received the Freedom of the City of Dublin, which was granted her in 2000. And at an “Electric Burma” concert at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, she was presented with the Amnesty Ambassador of Conscience Award which had been awarded to her in 2009. And, finally (at the end of a busy day), a large crowd sang the birthday song to her at a free open-air concert at Grand Canal Dock.

18 June: In the Euro 2012 football championships (taking place in Poland and the Ukraine) Rep. of Ireland are beaten 2-0 by Italy. End of this (Ireland going home) — see also 10 June and 14 June, above. Really horrible!

102966298PM001_JULIAN_ASSAN19 June: Julian Assange, editor-in-chief and founder of the whistleblower’s website WikiLeaks has taken up residence inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has applied for diplomatic asylum. Since November 2010, Assange has been subject to a European Arrest Warrant in response to a Swedish police request for his apprehension for questioning in relation to a sexual assault investigation. In June 2012, following final dismissal by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom of his appeal against enforcement of the European Arrest Warrant, Assange has failed to surrender himself, and has been treated by the UK authorities as having absconded. The British government intends to extradite Assange to Sweden when (or if) he leaves the embassy, which Assange says may result in his subsequent extradition to the United States to face charges relating to the Bradley/Chelsea Manning prosecution. (WikiLeaks became internationally well known in 2010 when it began publishing U.S. military and diplomatic documents. Chelsea Manning — then Bradley Manning — has since pled guilty to supplying the leaked files to WikiLeaks, for which s/he was been sentenced to 28 years in prison.)

China's Liu Yang

Liu Yang, China’s first-ever female astronaut

24 June: a Chinese spacecraft carrying three Chinese astronauts (including their first female ‘naut) docks manually with an orbiting module Tiangong 1, making them the third country, after the United States and Russia, to successfully perform such a mission.

24 June – England lose penalty shoot-out at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex in Kiev sending Italy through to a Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany (Spain go on to win the tournament beating Italy 4-0 in the final).

yitzhak shamir 1

Yitzhak Shamir 1915-2012

27 June – President and Mrs Higgins attended a Co-operation Ireland event at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast where they meet Queen Elizabeth for the first time, and are present to witness the first meeting (and handshake) between the queen and former IRA commander, Martin McGuinness (who is now deputy-First Minister of Northern Ireland).

28 June – A man is killed as torrential rain causes widespread flooding across England. The storms also force the Olympic torch relay to be halted briefly. Both main rail lines connecting England and Scotland are closed after the tracks are blocked by sodden landslides (June has been a wash-out).

30 June – death of Yitzhak Shamir, 7th prime minister of Israel (b.1915).


3 July – Bob Diamond resigns as the Chief Executive of British bank Barclays following a scandal in which the bank allegedly manipulated the Libor and Euribor interest rates systems (ie, market fixing).

4 July – death of Eric Sykes, British actor and writer (b. 1923) — part of the Tony Hancock, Spike Milligan, Tommy Cooper, Peter Sellers generation; first came to prominence through his many radio credits as a writer and actor in the 1950s, most notably through his collaboration on The Goon Show scripts.

CERNMap4 July – after experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, CERN announce the discovery of a new particle with properties consistent with the proposed ‘Higgs boson’. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the highest-energy particle collider ever made, considered “one of the great engineering milestones of mankind”. It was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) between 1998 and 2008, with the aim of allowing physicists to test the predictions of particle and high-energy physics theories, and particularly to prove or disprove the existence of the theorized ‘Higgs particle’. In a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 miles) in circumference, 175 metres (574 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva in Switzerland, the LHC was built in a collaboration of thousands of scientists and engineers from hundreds of universities and laboratories from all across the world.


The Shard in London with St Paul’s Cathedral in the distance

5 July – The Shard in London, the tallest building in Europe — 309.6 metres (1,016 ft) —, is officially opened.

6 July – Andy Murray makes it to the final of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships (Men’s Singles), becoming the first Briton to do so in 74 years. In the final he is defeated by Roger Federer.

10 July – Irish health Minister James Reilly named on a debt defaulters’ list in relation to a sum of €1.9 million.

22 July – Bradley Wiggins wins the 2012 Tour de France cycling race, the first Briton so to do.

27 July to 12 August – The 2012 Summer Olympics in London: Team GB finish third in the medal table with 29 gold medals, and 65 medals in total, unprecedented success — USA 1st with 46 gold and 104 in total, and China 2nd with 38 gold and 88 in total; Russia 4th with 24 gold and 81 in total). Splendid show for the opening evening, directed by film-maker Danny Boyle (Britain really does itself proud throughout in every respect).

London Olympics

Gore Vidal 1925-2012

Gore Vidal 1925-2012

28 July: death of Peter Evans-Freke, 11th Baron Carbery (aged 92).

30–31 July – In the worst power outage in history, leaving 620 million people in India without power.

30 July: death of Maeve Binchy, Irish author (b. 1940) — Light a Penny Candle and so on (about 20 novels and short story collections) which sold 40 million copies worldwide.

31 July – death of Gore Vidal, American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist (b. 1925) — The City and the Pillar, Myra Breckinridge, Burr and so on.


4 August: death of Con Houlihan, legendary Irish sports journalist (aged 86).

4 to 6 August: August Bank Holiday Weekend

Curiosity Mars

6 August Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory Mission’s rover, successfully lands on Mars.

9 August: Ireland’s Katie Taylor wins gold (women’s boxing, Lightweight Division) at London Olympics; now Irish, European, World, and Olympic champion. A class act.


Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of 'Pussy Riot'

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of ‘Pussy Riot’

17 August: ‘Pussy Riot’ members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years imprisonment. ‘Pussy Riot’ is a Russian feminist punk-protest group and on February 21, 2012, five members of the group staged a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour which outraged (as was intended) the [Orthodox] church authorities. The cause of the ‘Pussy Riot’ girls was taken up in the west where they were presented as prisoners of conscience.

armstrong20 August – investigation into a nursing home in Oughterard, County Galway, found most residents had not washed for at least a month, were starved, and lived in squalid conditions.

25 August – death of Neil Armstrong (b. 1930), American astronaut, first man on the moon (in 1969).

20 August – board of Independent News & Media elected Cork businessman Leslie Buckley, a close associate of Denis O’Brien, as its new chairman (on-going take-over bid story, see also 19 April and 3 May, above).

31 August – death of Max Bygraves (aged 89), British singer and variety performer.


Andy Murray on his way to winning the U.S. Open

Andy Murray on his way to winning the U.S. Open

3 September: death of Sun Myung Moon, Korean religious leader (b. 1920).

7 September: Rep. of Ireland beat Kazakhstan 2-1 (World Cup qualifier game for Brazil in 2014)

9 September: Galway and Kilkenny draw in GAA All-Ireland hurling final 2-13 to 0-19

10 September – defeating Novak Djokovic in 5 sets, Andy Murray wins the US Open Tennis Championship, first British man to win a Grand Slam tournament since 1936

11–27 September – A series of attacks are directed against United States diplomatic missions worldwide, as well as diplomatic missions of Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Attacks may be reaction to a YouTube trailer for the ridiculous and provocative film Innocence of Muslims. In Libya, among the dead is U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens.

12 September: death of Derek Jameson, 82, British journalist and broadcaster.

Harry the lad15 SeptemberThe Irish Daily Star published topless photographs of Kate Middleton (republishes them — originally published in Closer, a French version of the National Enquirer). Editor Michael O’Kane defends his actions, however, newspaper proprietor Richard Desmond apologises and announces his intention to close the tabloid (that is, the Irish edition of the newspaper).

17 September – Clerys, iconic department store in Dublin, put into receivership.

21 September – A spectacular breaking fireball strewed a trail of burning fragments across the night sky over Britain and Ireland.

23 September – Donegal win the 2012 GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final (beating Mayo 2-11 to 0-13).

25 September – death of Andy Williams, wholesome-seeming American crooner (b. 1927), the kind of guy who presented Christmas Day Specials in the 1970s.

25 September – death of John Bond, 79, English football player (West Ham) and manager (Norwich and Man City).

Herbert Lom 1917-2012

Herbert Lom 1917-2012

26 September – Róisín Shortall resigned as minister of state for Primary Care in Ireland due to a dispute with her boss the minister for health James Reilly, the deputy leader of the Fine Gael Party (which is the dominant party in the governing coalition). She also resigned from the Labour Party (the junior coalition partner), presumably because she got no support from them in her feud with Reilly.

27 September – death of Herbert Lom, Czech-born actor (b. 1917), best known for his role as the chief inspector in the Pink Panther movie series.

28 September: death of Larry Cunningham, Irish showband era singer and entertainer (aged 74).

30 September: Kilkenny beat Galway in GAA All-Ireland hurling final replay 3-11 to 3-22 (original game was on 9 September).


Savile story1 October – death of Eric Hobsbawm, British Marxist historian (b. 1917) — Age of Revolution, Age of Capital, Age of Empire, Age of Extremes, etc.

3 October: ITV documentary reveals (accusations) that British radio DJ and television presenter Sir Jimmy Savile, who died last year, frequently sexually abused underage girls.

12 October 2012 – Pressure increases on Irish national soccer team manager Giovanni Trapattoni after Ireland lose 6–1 to Germany in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification game, one of their worst ever competitive defeats.

Man Booker 201214 October – death of Arlen Specter, American politician and author (b. 1930), senator from Pennsylvania.

16 October: Rep. of Ireland beat Faroe Islands 4-1 (Ra-ra-ra, bunch of fucking fishermen, Trap must go — see 12 October and 18 June, above).

16 October: Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies wins the Man Booker Prize (her second time winning it, winning it in 2009 for Wolf Hall, part 1 of her series on Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister in the 1530s and 40s; Bring up the Bodies is part 2 in what is a triptych).

19 October – Scotland Yard launches a major criminal investigation into the predatory activities of Jimmy Savile after over 200 victims come forward (see 3 October, above).

McGovern 7221 October: death of George McGovern, American politician, historian, and author (b. 1922); Democratic Party nominee to go up against President Nixon in 1972.

24–30 October – Hurricane Sandy kills at least 209 people in the Caribbean, Bahamas, United States and Canada. Considerable storm surge damage causes major disruption along the eastern seaboard of the United States.

28 October Sligo Rovers win the League of Ireland (soccer), their first league title in 35 years.

30 October – Britain’s first 4G mobile network is launched, offering high-speed mobile data services in 11 major cities.


4 November: Derry City win FAI Cup (soccer) defeating St Patrick’s Athletic in the final (4-3 a.e.t.).

6 November – President Obama re-elected for second term as president of the United States. He won 65,899,660 popular votes (over 51%) and 332 electoral votes [to Mitt Romney’s 206], two states short of his 2008 landslide victory — a very good performance in difficult economic conditions (little growth and high levels of unemployment).

Barack and Michelle Obama along with Vice-president Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden

Barack and Michelle Obama along with Vice-president Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden

6 November – death of Clive Dunn (aged 90), British actor, artist, and author (Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army).

9 November – death of Valerie Eliot (aged 86), editor, widow of poet T. S. Eliot.

14 November: death of Savita Halappanavar announced, sparking outcry across Ireland and beyond — she died on 28 October — leading to calls for a review of the restrictive abortion laws in Ireland. Halappanavar, a Hindu of Indian origin, suffered a miscarriage when she was some 17 weeks pregnant, and sought medical attention and treatment at University Hospital, Galway. Her requests for an abortion were refused, allegedly being told at one point that “its the law, this is a Catholic country.” During the next several days, Halappanavar developed septicemia which led to multiple organ failure and eventually her death. News of Halappanavar’s death, and discussions thereof, spread rapidly via both traditional and digital media outlets, nationally and internationally.

Savita HalappanavarNovember 14 – 21: Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defense against the Palestinian-governed Gaza Strip, killing Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. In the following week 140 Palestinians and five Israelis are killed in ensuing cycles of violence.

15 November – Elections to choose 41 Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales (an innovation in government and policing). Also three by-elections, in Cardiff South and Penarth, in Corby, and in Manchester Central. Labour win all three, gaining Corby from the Conservatives.

GQ-British-February-2012-magazine-cover-michael-fassbender-31012420-731-96019 November – Scientists report a significant decline in UK birdlife – from an estimated 210 million nesting birds in 1966, down to 166 million today.

23 November – death of Larry Hagman, American actor (b. 1931), “J.R.” in TV’s Dallas.

24 November – Thousands march against austerity in Dublin.

24 November – Irish Daily Star editor Michael O’Kane resigned in the wake of row about the publication of topless photographs of Kate Middleton (see 15 September, above).

24 November – In England, education secretary Michael Gove and Rotherham Council launch separate investigations after three children were removed from their foster parents apparently because the foster parents were members of the UK Independence Party (a perfectly legal political party, albeit some of its members are right-wing wing-nuts).

29 November – Lord Leveson announces the findings of the Leveson Inquiry into the British media (inquiry set-up in the wake of the newspaper phone-hacking scandals). Prime Minister David Cameron says he backs the principles of the report’s recommendations, however he has “serious concerns and misgivings” about introducing legislation to regulate the media.

UK prime minister David Cameron during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

UK prime minister David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons

29 November – In UK three more by-elections, in Croydon North, in Middlesbrough and in Rotherham. The Labour Party win all three. The UK Independence Party achieve second place in Middlesbrough and Rotherham, beating the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.


5 December: death of Dave Brubeck, American composer and pianist (b. 1920).

8 December – In Qatar, the UN Climate Change Conference agrees to extend the Kyoto Protocols until 2020 (nobody knows what this means but it sure sounds like something’s being done).

9 December – death of Sir Patrick Moore, English astronomer and broadcaster (b. 1923).

Páidí Ó Sé 1955-2012

Páidí Ó Sé 1955-2012

11 December: death of Ravi Shankar, Indian sitarist (b. 1920).

14 December: 20-year-old crazy kid Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Horrible thing which will bring the whole gun question front and centre in the U.S. again (where there are 300 million guns in private hands, the only other countries with those kinds of numbers per capita are Yemen, Iraq, and Pakistan).

15 December – death of Páidí Ó Sé (aged 57) former Kerry Gaelic footballer and manager; sudden heart attack.

19 December: death of Pecker Dunne (aged 79), musician and colourful Irish character.

21 December – death of Shane McEntee (aged 56): Fine Gael Party politician, junior minister in government; suicide apparently.

24 December: death of Denis O’Driscoll, Irish poet (aged 58).

24 December: Christmas Eve (a Monday).

Norman Schwarzkopf 1935-2012

Norman Schwarzkopf 1935-2012

24 December: death of Jack Klugman, American actor (b. 1922), one of television’s The Odd Couple.

25 December: Christmas Day (a Tuesday).

27 December: death of Norman Schwarzkopf, American general (b. 1934).

29 December: death of William Rees-Mogg (Baron Rees-Mogg), journalist and life peer, editor of The Times (1967–81).

31 December: New Year’s Eve (a Monday).

31 December: death of Mary Kate Byrne, Ireland’s oldest woman (aged 108).

31 December: the UK Met Office says that 2012 is the second wettest year on record in the UK, and the wettest ever in England.


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