Ireland. Health Minister Leo Varadkar became the first
Irish MP to openly admit he is gay. Varadkar, who is tipped
to become Ireland's next prime minister after Enda Kenny,
said in an interview on Irish public service radio that he
does not want to make a secret of his sexual orientation.
His statement came just months before the planned referendum
on same-sex marriage would be implemented.
COUNTRYAAH, Prime Minister Enda Kenny promised at the beginning of
the year that mass migration from Ireland will cease next
year, at the same time as he launched a new plan to create
more jobs. The Irish government hoped to create 40,000 new
jobs during the year.
Just as in many other countries, the French satire
magazine Charlie Hebdo's first issue after the terrorist
attack was published in Ireland. The initiative was seen by
many as a tribute to freedom of speech. Others, however,
argued that the publication could violate Ireland's heathen
law. If the case is brought up for trial, it will then be
the first test for the law that was introduced in 2010. The
law is unique in Europe and involves a fine of the
equivalent of SEK 240,000 in conviction.
The Irish government announced in March that Ireland
would pay the final installment of its loan from the IMF
earlier than agreed. The reason was that the country was now
able to raise new loans with significantly lower interest
rates than the almost 5% required by the IMF. Ireland's
economy had gained momentum and was growing fastest in the
EU. The year before, GDP grew by 4.8%.
New figures later in the year showed that the Irish
economy was moving towards yet another year of highest
growth in Europe. During the nine-month period ended in
September, growth was 7% compared to the same period the
year before, according to the Irish Statistics Office CSO.
Gerry Adams, leader of the Irish Republican Party Sinn
Fein, invited British Prince Charles to a historic meeting
in May. It was the first time a member of the British royal
family met the leader of Sinn Fein, who wants a united
Ireland. The IRA terrorist organization killed Lord
Mountbatten, Charles's relative and mentor, in 1979. The
British army had in turn killed civilian protesters in
Northern Ireland's Londonderry seven years earlier.
In May, Ireland, as the first country in the world, said
yes to same-sex marriage by referendum. About 62% voted yes.
Even in the countryside, where the Catholic Church has a
stronger influence, was a clear majority for the change.
Homosexuality was banned in Ireland until 1993. In October,
gay marriage became statutory. This made it free for
marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples in Ireland.
For the first time since the banking crisis in Ireland in
2008, three former Anglo Irish Bank officials were sentenced
to a sentence of between one and a half and three years in
prison. The crash in the bank came to cost the Irish state €
30 billion and was one of the reasons why the country was
forced to apply for emergency loans.
In September, in connection with the Mediterranean
refugee disaster, Ireland agreed to accept 4,000 asylum
seekers. Ireland would concentrate mainly on helping women
In October, the Supreme Court of Ireland ordered the
country's data protection authority to investigate whether
Facebook's data transfer of user data from Europe to the US
should be stopped. The case was raised after Austrian
activist Max Schrems claimed that the US intelligence
service NSA's methods - revealed by whistleblower Edward
Snowden - threatened his privacy if the user information was
Ireland was hit in October by heavy flooding in the
Desmond's storm. Two people lost their lives and over 40,000
households became powerless.
Ireland was reviewing its drug policy and was about to
legalize heroin abuse under supervision. The model was
Portugal where the number of dead and HIV infected due to
abuse has drastically decreased. The change was expected to
come into effect after the turn of the year.