2020 in Ireland

Return to Years in Irish History

2020 in the Republic of Ireland

January 1st: With odds of a million to one, Annmarie Byrne-Ryan gave birth to identical triplets at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.

January 10th: Official recognition was granted to the Irish language in Northern Ireland as part of an agreement to restore power-sharing.

January 13th: There were widespread power cuts, downed trees and localised flooding across the country due to Storm Brendan.

January 17th: Sinn Féin councillor Paddy Holohan was suspended from the party after he made controversial remarks regarding women and the Taoiseach's heritage.

January 23rd: James Joyce's last living descendant, his grandson Stephen Joyce, died in France. President Higgins made a public statement of sympathy.

January 29th: The mother of the three children found dead at their home in Newcastle, West Dublin, appeared in court charged with their murder.

Newborn triplets
The Byrne-Ryan babies
Storm Dennis
Storm Dennis hits Ireland
February 1st: The minimum wage officially increased to €10.10 per hour.

February 7th: Hundreds of school children took to the streets to highlight what they describe as inaction against climate change.

February 8th: The general election took place on this date with a 62.9% turnout.

February 10th: Fianna Fáil emerged as the biggest party in the 33rd Dáil by just one seat.

February 14th: The new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said that there will be no border down the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

February 16th: Thousands of homes, farms and businesses were without power as a result of Storm Dennis

February 17th: Over 900 new speed zones came into effect across the country

February 18th: Two Irish citizens, who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, tested positive for coronavirus.

February 20th: The first convening of the 33rd Dáil took place at Leinster House.

February 27th: The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Northern Ireland reportedly arrived through Dublin Airport from northern Italy

February 28th: The Department of Health said that everyone who had been in close contact with a woman diagnosed with coronavirus had been traced and notified.

February 29th: The first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the Republic of Ireland.

March 1st: A secondary school in the east of the country was forced to close for 14 days as a precautionary measure following the first case of coronavirus in the Republic.

March 2nd: The majority of Google's 8,000 staff and contractors in Ireland were told to work from home after a member of staff reported flu-like symptoms. On the same day, it was announced that the Dublin St Patricks Day Parade was cancelled because of the virus.

March 4th: Four more cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the west of Ireland, bringing the total number of cases in the country to six.

March 5th: Seven new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Ireland, including one patient at Cork University Hospital who had not travelled to an infected area.

March 6th: The Government announced that it was not recommending the cancellation of mass public gatherings amid the spread of coronavirus.

March 7th: The recruitment embargo on nurses and midwives was lifted in an effort to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

March 9th: St. Patrick's Day parades were cancelled in cities and towns around the country, following concerns over the coronavirus.

March 10th: Ryanair and Aer Lingus announced that they were suspending all their Italian flights for a period of one month.

March 11th: A woman in the east of the country with an underlying illness became the first COVID-19 patient to die in Ireland.

March 12th: The Taoiseach said the country's schools, colleges and childcare facilities were to close until 29 March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The GAA, FAI and IRFU took the unprecedented step of suspending all games for a two-week period in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

March 13th: Senior members of the Gardaí who were due to retire in the coming weeks have been asked to stay on in the national interest.

Covid cases in Ireland, early in the pandemic
Covid cases, early in the pandemic
Croke Park used as a testing centre
Croke Park used as a testing centre
March 14th: The Department of Health announced that a second person in the east of the country had died as a result of COVID-19. US Vice-President Mike Pence announced that a travel ban imposed on European nations over the coronavirus pandemic would be extended to Ireland.

March 15th: The government asked pubs and bars to close until 29 March as part of measures to delay the spread of coronavirus.

March 16th: It was revealed that a possible 140,000 people have been laid off work because of the measures taken to tackle the coronavirus. The GAA offered the use of Croke Park as a COVID-19 drive-through testing centre.

March 17th: New measures regarding the legal, medical and social welfare elements of the coronavirus were signed off on following an incorporeal meeting of the cabinet. n a special Ministerial Briefing broadcast, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the coronavirus emergency could go on for months into the summer.

March 18th: The GAA confirmed that the start of the 2020 All-Ireland Football Championship had been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

March 19th: The 2020 Leaving Cert and Junior Cert oral and practical examinations were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

March 20th: The Seanad passed emergency legislation giving the State new powers to detain people, restrict travel and keep people in their homes during the COVID-19 crisis.

March 21st: Aer Lingus increased its capacity on Spanish routes by 20% in an effort to bring as many Irish citizens home as possible before the midnight deadline.

March 22nd: A fourth person died of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland as confirmed cases passed the 1,000 mark on the island of Ireland.

March 23rd: A number of multi-national fast food chains and restaurants closed their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving thousands without work.

March 24th: The school and college shutdown was extended until Monday April 20 at the earliest. The Government announced a €3.7bn package to support businesses and workers who had been laid-off due to the virus.

March 25th: Gardaí began three criminal investigations into incidents where emergency service employees had been coughed at or spat at in the course of their work.

March 26th: Front line healthcare workers were applauded by TDs in the Dáil and people all over Ireland at 8pm. The Dáil passed the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill without a vote.

March 27th: The Taoiseach announced that from midnight until 12 April, everybody must stay at home except in specific circumstances.

March 28th: Aer Lingus flight EI9018 left Dublin Airport on the first of up to 60 flights to Beijing to collect medical supplies.

March 29th: Public funerals were banned in two Catholic dioceses as part of efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus.

March 31st: The Government announced that the fuel allowance season would be extended for four weeks as those over 70 were encouraged to continue "cocooning".

National Gallery of Ireland closed
National Gallery of Ireland closed
Covid warning sign in Irish
Covid warning sign in Irish
April 1st: It was announced that Special Needs Assistants in schools would be reassigned to other duties as part of the Covid response. The Irish National Hunt horse racing season was cancelled.

April 2nd: President Higgins made a special radio broadcast in which he thanked all those who were tackling COVID-19.

April 5th: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar re-registered as a medical practitioner and said he would work one shift a week to help out during the coronavirus crisis.

April 7th: Health Minister Simon Harris signed regulations giving Gardaí the power to enforce COVID-19 restrictions.

April 8th: The Gardaí began a special operation which saw additional checkpoints on the roads and extra patrols at key locations, such as parks and beauty spots.

April 10th: The Leaving Certificate exams were postponed until late July, while the Junior Certificate exams were cancelled.

April 11th: People all over the country took part in the #ShineYourLight campaign in a gesture of hope and solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 13th: The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Republic passed through the 10,000 threshold nearly a month and a half after the first case.

April 14th: Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald confirmed that she received a positive diagnosis for COVID-19.

April 15th: A 24-year-old man in Wexford became the first person to be charged with breaching the new restrictions on movement introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19.

April 17th: A new law was passed allowing babies to be registered online for the first time since records began in the mid-19th Century.

April 19th: The head of the HSE said that more than one million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) were delivered to nursing homes across Ireland in recent days.

April 20th: The Supreme Court sat using remote video technology for the first time.

April 21st: Gatherings of more than 5,000 people were banned until the end of August under new government plans.

April 22nd: The Taoiseach confirmed that paid leave would be provided for the partners of healthcare workers to assist with childcare issues in the home.

April 24th: The number of people to die from COVID-19 in the Republic passed the 1,000 mark.

April 27th: The Rose of Tralee International Festival was cancelled for the first time in its 61-year history because of the coronavirus crisis.

Garda enforcing Covid regulations
Garda enforcing Covid regulations
Boarlets in Donegal
Boarlets in Donegal
May 1st: Ryanair and Aer Lingus revealed that they plan to cut 4,000 jobs as a result of the pandemic.

May 2nd: The Government signed off on a €6.5bn package of new supports to help businesses reopen as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted.

May 5th: Some minor easing of COVID-19 restrictions came into effect, including allowing people travel up to 5 km from their home to exercise.

May 5th: Six wild boarlets born in Donegal were believed to be the first of the species to be born in Ireland in about 800 years.

May 7th: The first round of talks between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party to agree a programme for government took place.

May 8th: The 2020 Leaving Cert exams were cancelled, with all students being offered the option of accepting calculated grades instead of sitting written examinations.

May 9th: Business Minister Heather Humphreys said that businesses that do not comply with new COVID-19 safety protocols would be shut down.

May 12th: The new 19-member Dáil committee on COVID-19 held three and a half hours of private discussions after electing Independent TD, Michael McNamara, as its chair.

May 16th: The number of new cases of COVID-19 reported by the Department of Health fell below 100 for the first time in two months.

May 18th: Thousands of shops, businesses and construction sites reopened as part of the first phase of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

May 19th: The 2020 Dublin Marathon was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

May 24th: Minister for Health Simon Harris signed the regulations making it mandatory for all passengers coming into Ireland to fill out a passenger locator form.

May 25th: Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan reported that there were no deaths of people with COVID-19 in the past 24 hours

May 31st: Around 100 people demonstrated outside the US embassy in Dublin, demanding justice for George Floyd

Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer
Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer
Colm Horkan
Garda Colm Horkan
June 1st: Ireland passed the 25,000 mark for confirmed coronavirus cases after the Department of Health announced an additional 77 confirmed cases.

June 3rd: Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that over 1,000 Irish citizens are stranded overseas as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and want to return home.

June 8th: Thousands of businesses opened for the first time in three months, as the second phase of the Government's plan to get the economy moving again got under way.

June 10th: The world's largest aircraft - the Antonov An-225 - landed at Shannon Airport with a consignment of Personal Protective Equipment for medical staff.

June 12th: Mary Irvine became the first woman to be nominated by the Government as President of the High Court.

June 15th: On Ireland's first day without Covid fatalities in over three months, retail outlets in shopping centres reopened for the first time since they were forced to close.

June 18th: A murder investigation began following the death of Detective Garda Colm Horkan in an overnight shooting incident in Castlerea.

June 23rd: Organisers confirmed that the annual summer pilgrimage to Lough Derg was suspended for the first time in 192 years due to COVID-19.

June 23rd: INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha told a Dáil committee that Ireland had the highest number of healthcare workers infected with COVID-19 in the world.

June 25th: The government held what was expected to be its final cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle.

June 25th: It was announced that the wearing of face coverings on public transport would be made mandatory with a sanction for non-compliance.

June 27th: Eileen Ní Fhloinn became the first Traveller in the Oireachtas when the new taoiseach appointed her as a senator in the Seanad.

June 27th: A socially-distanced full sitting of Dáil Éireann took place at the Convention Centre in Dublin

June 28th: Newly elected Taoiseach Micheál Martin was greeted by dozens of supporters and neighbours on his arrival home to Ballinlough in Cork city.

Eileen Ní Fhloinn
Eileen Ní Fhloinn
Barry Cowen
Barry Cowen
July 2nd: The Revenue Commissioners revealed that around 410,000 people were still having their incomes supported under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

July 3rd: Gardaí began conducting checks of licensed premises nationwide to check if they were adhering to the public health guidelines for COVID-19.

July 4th: Gardaí closed a premises "allegedly operating as a restaurant" in Dublin and seized a large amount of alcohol after observing breaches of the COVID-19 regulations.

July 5th: Two brothers died while scuba diving in a quarry in Portroe, County Tipperary.

July 7th: A new COVID-19 tracker app was downloaded by more than 700,000 people just hours after it went live.

July 13th: Public transport companies reported a high compliance rate for the new face covering regulations that had just come into effect.

July 14th: Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen was sacked by Taoiseach Micheál Martin following ongoing controversy over his 2016 drink-driving ban.

July 15th: The General Court of the European Union annulled the decision taken by the European Commission regarding Ireland's €13.1bn tax rulings in favour of Apple.

July 15th: The Government announced that face covering had to be worn in all shops, retail settings and shopping centres.

July 17th: Taoiseach Micheál Martin travelled to Brussels for the first physical meeting of all European leaders since the coronavirus pandemic began.

July 21st: A Health Information and Quality Authority report revealed that half of nursing homes inspected were not following proper infection prevention and control measures.

July 23rd: Independent TD for Galway West Catherine Connolly became the first woman to be elected to the position of Leas-Cheann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann.

July 26th: The Department of Social Protection confirmed that 104 cases of Pandemic Unemployment Payment were stopped after checks carried out at airports.

July 27th: The Taoiseach, Cabinet ministers and junior ministers took a 10% pay cut, backdated to when they took up office.

July 31st: The Taoiseach and Northern Ireland First Minister described the first meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council in three-and-a-half years as "constructive" and "warm".

Members of the public wearing masks
Members of the public wearing masks
Micheál Martin and Boris Johnson 'elbow bump' to avoid shaking hands
Micheál Martin and Boris Johnson 'elbow bump' to avoid shaking hands
August 1st: Swimming was banned in five County Clare beaches after the waters tested for high levels of bacteria following heavy rain in the area.

August 2nd: Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced that the Government was to introduce COVID-19 testing at airports due to the rise in cases in other countries.

August 6th: Dublin City Council began an investigation into the unauthorised removal of four statues from outside the Shelbourne Hotel. The statues had been removed in the mistaken belief that they depicted slaves.

August 8th: An Garda Síochána began conducting checkpoints near the borders of counties Kildare, Laois and Offaly as part of the measures imposed on the counties.

August 9th: Three of the four meat plants in the midlands where significant clusters of COVID-19 were found among the workforces decided to defer reopening.

August 10th: The wearing of face coverings became mandatory in shops, shopping centres and other indoor settings.

August 13th: Micheál Martin held his first face-to-face meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson since becoming Taoiseach during a visit to Northern Ireland.

August 14th: Sub-Lieutenant Tahlia Britton became the Irish Navy's first female diver when she received her diving log book in a ceremony at Haulbowline.

August 15th: The Chairman of Fáilte Ireland, Michael Cawley, stepped down after it emerged he had travelled to Italy on holiday.

August 17th: CSO figures revealed that the volume of cars was returning to pre-pandemic levels, while the amount of lorries on roads was exceeding the same period for 2019.

August 20th: Over 194,000 homes and businesses were left without power as Storm Ellen battered the country overnight, which led to fallen trees and flooding.

August 22nd: A 23-year-old female inmate became the first prisoner in the Irish prison system to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

August 23rd: Philip Nolan of the NPHET Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said that 100 children aged between 5 and 14 tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks.

August 25th: Children and teenagers began returning to school as the phased reopening of schools in Ireland began after six months of closure due to COVID-19. Education Minister Norma Foley stated that students who refuse to wear a face covering, other than for medical reasons, would be sent home from secondary schools.

August 26th: Phil Hogan resigned as EU Trade Commissioner in light of the Oireachtas Golf Society scandal.

Storm Ellen at Youghal
Storm Ellen at Youghal
A Stay and Spend Location
The Stay and Spend Scheme
September 1st: Education Minister Norma Foley announced that 17% of Leaving Certificate grades calculated by schools would be reduced and 4% would be increased.

September 2nd: A second Dublin primary school sent a class home after a pupil tested Covid-positive. In County Clare, a school closed for a week after teachers tested positive.

September 3rd: The Government launched the Stay and Spend Scheme to help drive sales in the hospitality sector.

September 4th: Tánaiste Leo Varadkar stated that the rule requiring restaurants to keep details of customer food orders was designed to "crack down" on COVID-19 regulation breaches.

September 7th: Over 61,000 students received their Leaving Certificate exam results with grades significantly higher than any other year on record.

September 7th: New figures revealed that Ireland was officially in recession after the economy shrank by 6.1%, the largest quarterly drop on record, between April and June.

September 9th: The Taoiseach told the British Prime Minister that its proposed breach of international law on the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol was utterly unacceptable.

September 11th: CAO points for entry into most college courses increased significantly as 54,000 applicants received offers for third-level places.

September 12th: Around 3,000 attended two anti-mask protests organised by the Yellow Vests Ireland group at Custom House Quay in Dublin.

September 13th: Gardaí increased high visibility patrols in Dublin to support the public health guidelines in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

September 15th: The Government postponed the 2021 population census until April 2022, because of health and logistical obstacles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

September 16th: The highest number of Leaving Certificate appeals on record were lodged this year by students unhappy with their calculated grades.

Anti-mask protest
Anti-mask protest
Gardaí at a checkpoint on the M4 in Co Kildare, outbound from Dublin, as part of Operation Fanacht.
Gardaí at a checkpoint on the M4 in Co Kildare, outbound from Dublin, as part of Operation Fanacht.
September 18th: The Taoiseach announced that Dublin would move to Level 3 restrictions from midnight

September 19th: Garda checkpoints were mounted across Dublin City and County as Operation Fanacht recommenced following the imposition of Level 3 restrictions.

September 21st: Publicans outside Dublin opened their premises for the first time in months, with the lifting of restrictions on bars outside the capital.

September 24th: The Health Service Executive (HSE) launched its €600 million Winter Plan to help tackle the challenges posed by COVID-19.

September 25th: Garda checkpoints were mounted across Donegal from midnight as Operation Fanacht recommenced following the imposition of Level 3 restrictions.

September 26th: Donegal officially entered Level 3 restrictions which came into effect to curb the rising spread of COVID-19.

September 27th: A multi-agency meeting took place in Galway to discuss public health concerns after hundreds of students congregated in the city on the night of 28 September.

October 5th: The GAA and LGFA paused all club fixtures "with immediate effect and until further notice" in light of NPHET's latest recommendations.

October 6th: It was confirmed that 31 people had tested positive for COVID-19 at Kilminchy Lodge Nursing Home in Portlaoise.

October 7th: Large-scale Garda checkpoints were mounted across the country as Operation Fanacht recommenced following the imposition of Level 3 restrictions.

October 8th: The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that from 12 October, there would be no countries on the Government's travel Green List. On the same day, the number of cases of COVID-19 in Ireland passed 40,000; and the four Archbishops of Ireland called a meeting with the Taoiseach to allow people return to Mass under Level 3 restrictions.

October 9th: A survey by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) revealed that more than 3.3 million bednight bookings were lost following the Government's escalation to Level 3 restrictions.

October 10th: Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan expressed worry after 1,012 new cases of COVID-19 were notified in a 24-hour period.

Kilminchy Lodge Nursing Home
Kilminchy Lodge Nursing Home
Staff at Naas General Hospital 'social distancing' for a photoshoot in April 2020
Staff at Naas General Hospital 'social distancing' for a photoshoot in April 2020
October 14th: The Cabinet agreed a ban on all household visits nationwide, while Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan were also moved to Level 4 restrictions.

October 17th: NPHET officials briefed the three leaders of the Government to explain why they recommended moving the entire country to Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions for six weeks.

October 19th: Ireland's COVID Tracker app became one of the first wave of national apps linked with other countries across the European Union.

October 20th: The Government agreed to give Gardaí new powers to fine people €1,000 who hold house parties and up to €500 who breach travel restrictions following the imposition of Level 5 restrictions.

October 22nd: Gardaí began a major high visibility policing operation to support the new public health restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

October 24th: Two wards including a psychiatric unit at Naas General Hospital was locked down after an outbreak of COVID-19 was confirmed which infected 9 patients and 18 staff.

October 25th: The President signed into law the Health (Amendment) Bill 2020 allowing gardaí to issue graduated fines to people found to be in breach of the Level 5 COVID-19 regulations.

November 1st: The VAT reduction for the tourism and hospitality sector dropped from 13.5% to 9%, as part of Budget 2021.

November 2nd: Additional measures were put in place at the Midlands Prison after 6 prison staff tested positive for COVID-19.

November 8th: Eight gardaí were suspended from duty as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption.

November 15th: Furious reactions emerged on social media after hundreds of people, in breach of Level 5 COVID-19 restrictions, gathered drinking takeaway pints on the streets of Dublin city centre on the night of 14 November.

November 19th: The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control moved Ireland from 'red' to 'orange' on the EU traffic light map for international travel after COVID-19 figures improved.

November 24th: Presentation College, Carlow generated controversy when it was revealed female pupils in all years had been told not to wear "tight clothing", as it was "distracting" for male teachers

November 25th: The Health Service Executive (HSE) started to move residents out of a nursing home, where 8 residents died, in Listowel, County Kerry after an outbreak of COVID-19 was confirmed.

Drinkers enjoy takeaway pints in Dublin
Drinkers enjoy takeaway pints in Dublin
Helen McEntee
Helen McEntee and her husband
December 1st: All non-essential retail shops, hair and beauty providers, gyms and leisure centres, cinemas, museums and galleries reopened after six weeks of closure.

December 1st: The Government approved an advance purchase agreement for 875,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Moderna.

December 4th: Thousands of restaurants, cafés, gastropubs and hotel restaurants reopened after six weeks of closure.

December 5th: Minister for Justice Helen McEntee announced that she was expecting a baby, which made her the first Cabinet member in the history of the State to announce her pregnancy while in office.

December 11th: Two primary schools in counties Laois and Mayo closed early for the Christmas holidays due to an increase in COVID-19 cases among students.

December 12th: A bakery in Drogheda, County Louth closed temporarily after around 15 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

December 15th: Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced the Government's National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, which outlines the country's high-level plan for safe, effective and efficient vaccination of the Republic of Ireland, while safeguarding continued provision of health and social care services.

December 16th: All pupils at a primary school in Killorglin, County Kerry began to restrict their movements after 17 people tested positive for COVID-19.

December 17th: The Taoiseach tested negative for COVID-19 following an announcement that he was restricting his movements after coming into close contact with French President Emmanuel Macron who have tested positive for COVID-19.

December 19th: During the night, Gardaí broke up an organised "car meet" of 800 people in more than 250 cars that breached COVID-19 regulations in Little Island, County Cork.

December 20th: The Government agreed to impose a 48-hour suspension on flights from the United Kingdom from midnight following fears over the spread of a new strain of COVID-19, while ferries will be limited to freight travel.

December 21st: The Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Philip Nolan announced that a third wave of COVID-19 in Ireland was clearly underway.

Micheál Martin wears a mask at the European Council meeting
Micheál Martin wears a mask at the European Council meeting
Annie Lynch becomes the first person to receive the vaccine
Annie Lynch becomes the first person to receive the vaccine
December 22nd: The Government agreed to move the entire country to Level 5 lockdown restrictions with a number of adjustments from Christmas Eve until 12 January 2021 at the earliest

December 23rd: The Chair of the NPHET Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group Cillian de Gascun announced that the new variant of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom was now present in the Republic of Ireland, based on a selection of samples analysed from the weekend. On the same day, all ministers in the Government began restricting their movements after it was announced that Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue tested positive for COVID-19

December 25th: Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan officially confirmed that the new variant of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom had been detected in the Republic of Ireland.

December 26th: The first shipment of 10,000 Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the Republic of Ireland.

December 29th: A 79-year-old woman became the first person in the Republic of Ireland to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at St. James's Hospital, Dublin.

December 30th: The Government agreed to move the entire country to full Level 5 lockdown restrictions from midnight until 31 January 2021 at the earliest.

December 31st: The HSE announced that close contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19 are no longer being advised to get tested due to current widespread levels of infection

2020 in the North of Ireland

January 9th: The UK and Irish governments published a deal aimed at restoring the Northern Ireland Executive. The DUP gave its backing to the agreement.

January 10th: Sinn Féin gave its backing to the deal.

January 11th: The Northern Ireland Assembly reconvened after a three-year hiatus. DUP leader Arlene Foster was appointed Northern Ireland's first minister, while Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill was appointed deputy first minister.

January 13th: Same-sex marriage was legalised in Northern Ireland.

Robyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards, Northern Ireland's first same-sex couple to be legally married
Robyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards, Northern Ireland's first same-sex couple to be legally married
Device recovered from lorry
Device recovered from lorry
February 5th: The PSNI found a CIRA bomb in a lorry in Lurgan, in an incident known as the Brexit Day Bomb Plot.

February 11th: The first same-sex marriage took place at a hotel in Carrickfergus, County Antrim.

February 27th: Authorities confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

March 18th: The Northern Ireland Assembly reduced its workload by suspending all non-essential Assembly business. The following day, it closed to the public.

March 19th: The first COVID-19 death was confirmed in Northern Ireland.

March 23rd: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nationwide 'Stay at Home' order, the UK lockdown.

March 28th: Regulations came into force giving authorities the power to force businesses to close, and to fine people who left their homes 'without a reasonable excuse'.

Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill announce the new guidelines
Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill announce the new guidelines
Map of Covid cases in Northern Ireland
Map of Covid cases in Northern Ireland
April 6th: The Orange Lodge of Ireland announced that the traditional Twelfth of July parades had been cancelled for 2020.

April 7th: The Northern Ireland Assembly established a COVID-19 response Committee.

April 15th: Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, extended the period of lockdown to 9th May.

April 24th: The Northern Ireland Executive agreed to reopen cemeteries following public pressure.

May 10th: The UK government updated its slogan to 'stay alert, control the virus, save lives'.

May 12th: The Northern Ireland Executive published a five-stage plan for exiting lockdown. The plan had no specific dates.

May 14th: First Minister Arlene Foster announced the first steps for easing the lockdown. Garden centres and recycling centres would be allowed to re-open on May 18th.

May 19th: Lockdown measures were further eased. Groups of up to six people were allowed to meet outdoors, with social distancing; churches re-opened for private prayer.

May 21st: Education Minister Peter Weir outlined plans for schools to re-open in August.

May 26th: For the first day since 18th March, no COVID deaths were reported in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Executive agreed to more relaxation of restrictions, from June 8th.

May 31st: The Northern Ireland Executive agreed to ease lockdown measures for people shielding at home.

'Belfast Stay Safe' sign displayed during the pandemic
'Belfast Stay Safe' sign displayed during the pandemic
Covid relaxations, June 2020
Covid relaxations, June 2020
June 4th: Debenhams announced plans to re-open three stores on 8th June.

June 11th: The Northern Ireland Executive met to agree more lockdown measures, including reopening small shops and shopping centres the following day.

June 13th: The 'support bubble' was introduced, allowing members of two households to mix.

June 18th: The Northern Ireland Executive agreed to reduce social distancing in schools to 1 metre. Non-urgent dental treatment would also resume.

June 20th: Northern Ireland confirmed no new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since March.

June 22nd: The Northern Ireland Executive agreed to allow up to six people to meet indoors, from the following day.

June 25th: The Northern Ireland agreed to a raft lockdown easing measures including the re-opening of betting shops and close contact services such as spas; the resumption of competitive sports, the re-opening of bingo halls, cinemas, soft play areas etc.

July 1st: The Department of Health said that a contact-tracing app would be ready by the end of July.

July 2nd: First Minister Arlene Foster called on Michelle O'Neil to resign folowing her attendece at the funeral of Bobby Storey.

July 3rd: Hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes were permitted to reopen.

July 6th: Rules for hospitals and care homes were relaxed. Fathers would be allowed to attend maternity appointments again.

July 9th: Quarantine regulations were liftedon arrivals from 50 countries, including Germany and France.

July 10th: The wearing of face coverings on public transport become compulsory.

July 14th: The GAA's COVID Advisory Group agreed to keep indoor facitilies such as dressing rooms and gyms closed until further notice.

July 15th: The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency published a postcode breakdown of COVID-19 deaths. The BT4 area of East Belfast had had the largest number of deaths, at 36.

July 16th: After the Public Health Agency identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases around a social gathering, contact-tracing was introduced to locate cases.

The funeral of Bobby Storey
The funeral of Bobby Storey
July 18th: Research by Ulster University indicated that jobs could be at risk under two metre social distancing regulations.

July 20th: Routine dental care was allowed to resume.

July 21st: The DUP rejected a suggestion from Sinn Féin that travellers from Great Britain to Northern Ireland should quarantine for 14 days.

July 22nd: The Public Health Agency said it had identified 16 clusters of COVID-19 since its contact-tracing system began operating.

July 24th: Swimming pools, spas and comunity centres were allowed to reopen.

July 26th: Quarantine restrictions were reimposed on travellers arriving from Spain.

July 30th: StopCOVID NI was launched.

July 31st: The shielding programme was paused.

August 2nd: Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive showd 336 complaints were made about companies regarding breaches of COVID-19.

August 5th: The number of COVID-19 cases passed 6,000.

August 8th: Queen's University Belfast announced compulsory face coverings for staff and students for some areas of its campus.

August 10th: The wearing of face coverings became compulsory in shops and other enclosed places.

August 11th: Health Minister Robin Swann expressed concern at the increasing number of COVID cases.

August 12th: Robin Swann warned that Northern Ireland was facing one of the most dangerous points of the pandemic.

August 13th: Schools were issued with reopening guidelines. Face coverings would be optional.

August 17th: Northern Ireland's chief scientific advisor, Ian Young, expressed concern at rising COVID cases and suggested local measures.

August 18th: At a press conference, Health Minister Robin Swann warned lockdown measures might be reimposed.

Robin Swann, Health Minister
Robin Swann, Health Minister
Police on patrol in Belfast City Centre
Police on patrol in Belfast City Centre
August 19th: The heads of the four main churches asked parishioners to wear face coverings.

August 20th: The Northern Ireland Executive tightened restrictions on the number of people who could meet. The number who could meet outdoors went from 30 to 15, while indoors was limited to 15.

August 20th: Robin Swann said that the PSNI would focus its enforcement of COVID-10 rules on 'hotspot areas'.

August 22nd: Police stations in Antrim and Newtownabbey were closed for a deep clean after eight officers tested positive for COVID.

August 24th: Schools opened for the autumn term, with students in 7, 12 and 14 the first to return.

August 26th: The Northern Ireland Executive delayed the reopening of theatres and pubs that did not serve food.

August 28th: The number of COVID cases passed 7,000.

August 29th: The usual parades held by the Royal Black Institution at end of August were not held because of the pandemic.

September 1st: Almost all schools in Northern Ireland fully reopened to pupils for the first time since March.

September 7th: The Department of Education apologised for an erroneous email sent to primary schools that addressed them as primary schools and informed them they would be receiving COVID testing kits.

September 9th: Figures released by the Department of Education showed that COVID cases had been reported at 64 schools in the first two weeks of the autumn term.

September 10th: Tighter restrictions were introduced in Ballymena and parts of Glenavy, Lisburn and Crumlin, following a rise of COVID cases in those areas.

September 11th: The Southern Health Trust suspended visits to patients in all its hospitals following Covid deaths at Craigavon Area Hospital.

September 16th: Official figures showed that COVID-19 was the second most common type of death in Northern Ireland between April and June.

Craigavon Hospital
Craigavon Hospital
Danny Wilson on the London tube
Danny Wilson on the London tube
September 18th: Health Minister Robin Swann described songs by Sir Van Morrison that protested against Covid restrictions as 'dangerous'. Morrison had sun about scientists 'enslaving' people with 'crooked facts'.

September 19th: Death with Covid of David Cook, who had been the first non-Unionist Lord Mayor of Belfast since 1898.

September 21st: The Northern Ireland Executive announced the extension of Covid restrictions to all of Northern Ireland from the next day. Households would be prevented from mixing.

September 22nd: The first and deputy First Ministers, Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill, made a televised appeal for a 'big push' to curb the number of COVID-19 cases.

September 24th: DUP MP Sammy Wilson said he would 'accept the consequences' after being photographed on the London tube without a face covering.

September 29th: The Northern Ireland Executive announced that bars, pubs and restaurants must close at 11pm.

October 1st: Fresh restrictions were announced for Derry and Strabane, with pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels permitted only to offer takeaway and delivery services, as well as outdoor dining.

October 2nd: As the highest daily total of Covid cases so far was recorded, the British PM Boris Johnson announced extra financial support for the Northern Irelance Executive to help deal with a second wave.

October 5th: First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy Minister Michelle O'Neill spoke to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove about extra financial support in the event of a lockdown.

October 7th: Ulster Rugby suspended training after team member and an academy player tested postive for COVID-19.

October 8th: Michelle O'Neill said she and Arlene Foster had asked for urgent talks with Boris Johnson owing to cases rising 'at an alarming rate'. Johnson discussed the rising number with Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

October 9th: The Northern Ireland Executive introduced new offences for reaching Covid regulations. The mimimum fine went up from £60 to £200.

Arlene Foster saying the executive did not want to impose further restrictions in Northern Ireland
Arlene Foster saying the executive did not want to impose further restrictions in Northern Ireland
An arrest at the anti-lockdown protest
An arrest at the anti-lockdown protest
October 14th: Further restrictions were announced, affecting schools and the hospitality sector.

October 15th: The Northern Ireland Executive announced that firms forced to close because of tighter restrictions would received additional financial support.

October 16th: Pubs and restaurants closed. Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said he and his DUP colleagues had concerns about the new restrictions.

October 18th: An anti-lockdown protest involving more than 300 people was held outside Stormont.

October 22nd: The Northern Ireland Executive announced that free school meals would be provided to children during half-term.

October 28th: Northern Ireland recorded its youngest Covid-related death, a 19-year-old man.

October 31st: Sinn Féin MLA Catherine Kelly became the fourth SF official to resign over a failure to return money from a Stormont emergency Covid fund.

November 27th: Jenny Pyper was appointed as Interim Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

November 27th: A lockdown came into force in response to a rise in Covid cases. It would last until 10th December.

December 7th: The first same-sex couples in civil partnerships were able to convert their status to same-sex marriage.

December 19th: Death of Eileen Pollock, actress.

December 26th: A six-week lockdown began.

December 31st: The Irish Sea Border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland began operation. The Northern Ireland Protocol came into effect.

The Northern Ireland Protocol explained
The Northern Ireland Protocol explained

Notable Deaths in Ireland

Name Date of death Age Details

Marian Finucane 2nd January 69 Broadcaster
Larry Gogan 7th January 85 Broadcaster
Jimmy Shields 9th January 88 Football player
Breandán Ó Madagáin 9th January 87 Scholar, writer and celticist
Joe Steve Ó Neachtain 19th January 77 Writer, actor, playwright and broadcaster
Patrick Kennedy 21st January 78 Senator
Seamus Mallon 24th January 83 Senator, MLA and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland
Eamonn Boyce 3rd February 94 IRA volunteer
Francie Brolly 5th February 82 Musician and politician, MLA
Keelin Shanley 8th February 51 Broadcaster
Paddy Broderick 8th February 80 Jockey
Jim Cullinan 11th February 77 Hurler
Godfrey O'Donnell 14th February 80 Priest
Garrett Fitzgerald 14th February 65 Rugby union player, coach and administrator
Jimmy Conway 14th February 73 Footballer
Harry Gregg 16th February 87 Football player and Munich air disaster survivor
Eamon Long 20th February 81 Hurler
Farrell McElgunn 2nd March 88 Politician, Senator and MEP
Úna O'Connor 3rd March 83 Camogie player
Barney Eastwood 9th March 87 Boxing promoter
Ivan Davis 13th March 82 Politician
Betty Williams 17th March 76 Political activist
Hugh Conaghan 24th March 93 Politician, TD
John O'Leary 26th March 70 Golfer
Frank Larkin 28th March 48 Disablity rights activist
Conor Connelly 28th March 44 Gaelic footballer
Alfie Monk 30th March 86 Gaelic footballer
Tom Scully 7th April 89 Gaelic football manager. Cause of death: COVID-19
Norah Gibbons 9th April 68 Children's rights activist
Shay Keogh 13th April 85 Footballer
Danny Delaney 14th April - Gaelic footballer. Cause of death: COVID-19
Tom Mulholland 20th April 84 Gaelic footballer. Cause of death: COVID-19
Ronan O'Rahilly 20th April 79 Businessman and show-business manager
Dave Bacuzzi 21st April 79 English-born Irish-based footballer. Cause of death: COVID-19
Oliver Gough 22nd April 84 Hurler
Tiede Herrema 24th April 99 Dutch-born Irish-based businessman and IRA kidnap victim
Laura Bernal 26th April 64 Argentine Ambassador to Ireland. Cause of death: COVID-19
Eavan Boland 27th April 75 Poet, author and academic
Michael Robinson 28th April 61 Footballer
Nobel Walsh 29th April 84 Gaelic footballer and manager. Cause of death: pneumonia resulting from COVID-19
Billy Ringrose 30th April 89 Showjumper
William Henry Brian Hogg (BJ Hogg) 30th April 65 Actor
Tom Hardiman 2nd May 91 Former Director-General of RTÉ.
Jonathan Kelly 2nd May 72 Folk rock singer-songwriter.
Paddy Molly 6th May 86 Hurler
Paddy Fenning 15th May 69 Gaelic footballer
Tom O'Donaghue 15th May 79 Hurler
Gerard Brady 16th May 83 Politician: TD, Minister of State, Minister for Education
John Murphy 21st May 72 Gaelic footballer
Tony Scannell 27th May 74 Actor
Brendan Bowyer 28th May 81 Singer
Chick Gillen 30th May 81 Boxer
Betty Ann Norton 5th June 83 Drama teacher
Lester Ryan 6th June 61 Hurler
Tony Dunne 8th June 78 Footballer
Jeanne Rynhart 9th June 74 Sculptor
Mags Murray 13th June 58 Politician
John Joe Sheehan 16th June 90 Gaelic footballer
Colm Horkan 17th June 49 Garda, murdered on patrol
Jean Kennedy Smith 18th June 92 Irish-American diplomat
Theo Foley 26th June 83 Footballer
Tommy Ring 1st July 81 Hurler
Jack Harding 2nd July 87 Hurler
Johnny Cusack 10th July 85 Gaelic footballer
Christine Keegan 14th July 81 Stardust fire campaigner
Kieran O'Connor 15th July 41 Gaelic footballer
Ruth Morrissey 19th July 39 CervicalCheck campaigner
Tom Mitchell 22nd July 88 Republican and politician
John Hume 3rd August 83 Politician, leader of the SDLP
Brendan Halligan 9th August 84 Economist and politician (Senator and MEP)
P. J. Sheehan 10th August 87 Politician (Fine Gael)
Paddy Doyle 10th August 79 Hurler
Tommy Carroll 16th August 77 Footballer
Jim O'Brien 19th August 74 Hurler
Desmond Guinness 20th August 88 Author and conservationist
Frank Dunphy 20th August 82 Business manager and entrepreneur
Eugene McCabe 27th August 90 Author and playwright
Michael J.Cleary 3rd September 95 Roman Catholic Prelate, Bishop of Banjul
Mike Cooley 4th September 86 Engineer, writer, trade union leader
Jimmy Lavin 5th September 92 Gaelic footballer and hurler
Pat Smullen 15th September 43 Jockey
Sam McBratney 18th September 77 Author
David Cook 18th September 76 Politician
Bill Dwyer 27th September 86 Hurler
Derek Mahon 1st October 78 Poet
John Joseph Campion 2nd October 57 Entrepreneur
Tommy Cullen 5th October 81 Gaelic footballer
Margaret Mac Curtain 6th October 91 Historian and writer
Tom O'Donnell 8th October 94 Politician (Fine Gael): Minister for the Gaeltacht and MEP
Pat Hooper 9th October 68 Athlete
Paddy Doyle 11th October 69 Writer and disability activist
Terry Kearns 15th October 75 Gaelic footballer
Julia Ó Faoláin 27th October 88 Writer
Hugh Morrow 28th October 90 Footballer
Vincent Coakley 5th November 65 Gaelic footballer
Dave Roche 5th November 97 Gaelic footballer
Paul Carey 6th November 41 Hurler
Fergus O'Kelly 6th November 88 Actor, musician and singer
Adrian Cahill 7th November 49 Hurler
Brian Coll 7th November 79 Country music singer
Tim Slevin 7th November 91 Hurler
Tommy Butler 12th November 69 Hurler
Jim Culliton 16th November 86 Businessman
Harry Ryan 24th November 63 Hurler
Denis Heaslip 25th November 87 Hurler
Paudie Fitzgerald 3rd December 87 Cyclist
Raymond Hunter 9th December 82 Cricketer and rugby union player
Jim Fives 17th December 91 Hurler
John Harbison 18th December 84 State pathologist
Tim Severin 18th December 80 Irish-based British filmmaker and explorer
Eileen Pollock 19th December 73 Actress
Joe Cuddy 21st December 80 Singer and entertainer
Jerry O'Riordan 29th December 81 Gaelic footballer
Victor Stacey 30th December 76 Church of Ireland clergyman

Return to top