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Monday 25 September 2017

Cowen has no plan and FF is in disarray, says rebel TD

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen's "his way or no way" attitude has been condemned by a former government minister.

John McGuinness accuses Mr Cowen of "game playing" in his book 'The House Always Wins'.

The outspoken Fianna Fail TD, who was dropped as junior minister for trade and commerce in April 2009, blames the Taoiseach's approach for causing "a lot of tension" within the party.

He says Mr Cowen took a "defensive" stance when he became Taoiseach -- instead of issuing a full apology for Fianna Fail's "many mistakes" during the era of the Celtic Tiger.

"Brian Lenihan took the only sensible political course and bravely faced the facts and the people, saying that he had the Taoiseach's full support.

"That may be true, but what the Taoiseach didn't have was Lenihan's charm, courage or leadership and that has been reflected in every opinion poll taken since," he writes.

Mr McGuinness had "great hopes" that Brian Cowen would be a strong leader who would bring a "new approach".

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD says he has "no doubt that Brian Cowen is personally a nice man and good and intelligent company". However, a Taoiseach needs "to be more than nice and gregarious".

Polls

In reference to Brian Cowen's decision to axe him from his position as junior minister, the Carlow-Kilkenny TD says he was told by "impeccable sources" close to the Government that Tanaiste Mary Coughlan had told Brian Cowen that it was "her or me".

He comments: "Cowen, essentially, chose the status quo and loyalty over ability and I was not reappointed."

Mr McGuinness says the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation needs to be "reconfigured" and he suggests a role for business leaders such as Gerry Robinson, Peter Sutherland and Michael O'Leary -- "if he leaves his tank of testosterone outside the door".

Fianna Fail "was and remains in disarray", according to McGuinness, who believes only Brian Lenihan and a "few other senior ministers" are putting up a fight.

He says: "I publicly called for Brian Cowen to go (in March of this year). He has permanently lost his authority in Fianna Fail and polls are giving him an approval rating of below 20pc.

"When no alternative willing to throw his or her hat in the ring appeared, nothing happened."

He blasted Mr Cowen's way of doing business in Fianna Fail. "It is his game-playing within the tribe that has caused a lot of tension. 'His way or no way' is not an inclusive way to conduct the business of Fianna Fail.

"In all my dealings with minister and Government, I have never been personal. My objective is to be heard and to contribute to policy.

"Unfortunately, there is no two-way debate and it is damaging the country and the party."

McGuinness said he does not think Brian Cowen has a "plan" of where "we should go".

Irish Independent

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