Colm O’Regan predicts the events and people that will make the news in 2010.

January
Following pressure from businesses in the Border counties who are still suffering from the exodus of shoppers to the North, the Irish government agrees to hand control of the counties of Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and Donegal to the UK government to form a Love Ulster Trading Zone – known colloquially as The Practically Free State.

February
Other counties clamour for inclusion in the trading zone. By the middle of the month, Cork becomes the only county to stay outside. A People’s Republic of Cork is founded. A new currency, the yoyo, is introduced. Rachel Allen is initially elected president until Jonathan Rhys-Meyers crowns himself king, ‘just like in The Tudors’. Prospects for an All Ireland hurling win have never looked better, however after a stormy Cork County Board meeting, a players’ strike is called.

March

The Love Ulster Trading Zone is abandoned as the southern counties get sick of the accent. In technology, following the success of its Google Earth, Maps and Street applications, the internet giant launches its fourth generation search technology with the unveiling of Google DownTheBackOfTheSofa.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the IT industry Apple continues to seek dominance in the consumer gadget market with a device designed to help single men pick a mate. The pocket sized gadget – called iWould –  becomes the latest must-have accessory.

April
Winnie The Pooh’s friend Tigger Woods is embroiled in controversy as photos of him ‘bouncing like Rabbit’ are leaked to the press in the 100 Acre Wood. The furore reaches a climax when Tigger is found lying dazed a short distance from the burrow he shares with wife Kanga. Tigger, clearly sporting a number of grazes, is said to have ‘bounced into a tree’. A spokesman for Winnie the Pooh confirmed that the bear was Humming a Sad Little Song.

May

Cork News columnist Colm O’Regan gets married and is bowled over by the sheer number of unsolicited gifts received from readers.

June
Ireland experiences a spell of warm sunny weather. As temperatures soar into the high twenties, the government announces a new education campaign for Junior and Senior infants who have never experienced sunshine in their lives before. Entitled ‘Outside is OK’, the programme includes modules on ‘Wearing Short Trousers’, ‘Comparing Tans’, and ‘Red Hair, Red Alert’. Refresher courses for adults are also made available, although a module on sunburn entitled “Janey Mac, you’re Black!” is dropped following complaints.

July
The Weather Breaks When They Get The Holidays.

France are the World Cup Champions when they beat a team from a smaller – and therefore, less lucrative for FIFA – nation in the final. The scores are nil-all for most of the match and with the teams seemingly prepared for extra time, Thierry Henry scores a late winner from a free-kick. The aftermath of the victory is soured however, when television replays clearly show Henry tunnelling under the wall and emerging, mole-like, with the ball behind the goal-line.

August
The French Rose wins the Rose of Tralee. The aftermath of the victory is soured however when television replays clearly show the Rose handling one of the judges.

September
The Weather Gets Better As Soon As They Go Back To School.

Cork are beaten in the All Ireland Hurling Final by France. The aftermath of the victory is soured however when television replays clearly show Thierry Henry…

In the football All Ireland, the Rebels finally beat old rivals Kerry. The match starts controversially as midfielder Nicholas Murphy ships a heavy tackle in the opening seconds from Tadhg Kennelly. The Aussie-rules supremo, despite not being on the Kerry team, lands in a parachute on Murphy’s head as the ball is thrown in. Kennelly admits later in his second autobiography More Unfinished Business and that he was “like a raging bull in a parachute”.

October
There is good news for Tiger Woods. Bucking the continuing trend of his abandonment by corporate sponsors, NUTS magazine announces that Tiger is to be the new face of its brand. A spokesman for the NUTS Group which also includes titles such as Zoo, Readers’ Wives and Jugs! Monthly, said that Tiger “perfectly embodies our core values and goals.”

November
The latest world climate change talks reach a provisional agreement on targets for CO2 emissions. Following intense lobbying by China and the US, all governments sign up to a document entitled I Suppose We’ll Have A Look At It Anyway. The talks are held at the North Pole in the newly opened Arctic Sands Resort.

December
Due to a slower-than-expected economic recovery, Brian Lenihan introduces even more drastic measures to restore fiscal health. In his Budget 2011 speech, Lenihan warns the country that “next year this government will focus on spreading the tax net to areas that have previously been untouched. A standard rate of 20% will be now be levied on ‘Hows Yer Father’, ‘Sure Where Wouldya Be Going?’ and ‘Whatever You’re Having Yerself”
Public outcry is limited however as the nation adjusts to the new Public Outcry Tax.

Have a happy Christmas and non financially ruinous New Year!

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