Friday 28 July 2017

From seat of power to his own throne ...

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

HE may no longer have a seat at the cabinet table, but at least Brian Cowen has a new throne to sit on.

The outgoing Taoiseach has been visiting schools, the local hospital and other community centres in his constituency before he bows out of office.

He has been accompanied by his wife Mary and his brother, newly elected Laois-Offaly TD Barry Cowen, on the tour of Offaly.

And yesterday Mrs Cowen accompanied her husband as he attended the official openings of Banagher College and Gallen Community School.

She was presented with flowers from students but it was a gift for Mr Cowen at Gallen Community School in Ferbane that drew most attention. A surprised Mr Cowen beamed as a wooden throne was lifted on to a stage in the PE hall to the applause of the pupils.

His throne was specially made for him by a former pupil Alan Kelly. Mr Kelly is now a first-year student in NUI Galway and couldn't attend yesterday's event.

Earlier in the day, a group of construction workers threatened to ruin his visit. The men were protesting at not being paid for work carried out on the schools in Ferbane and Banagher, which were constructed under public-private partnership schemes.

Mr Cowen met the men and said he accepted there were "issues", but that yesterday was about opening the schools and allowing pupils to enjoy the day.

Irish Independent

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