Mansergh defends Cowen and Ahern in 'Cromwell' row
Published 26/11/2010 | 05:00
JUNIOR Minister Martin Mansergh last night objected to Taoiseach Brian Cowen being called "worse than Cromwell" -- even though his own family was given a castle after the Cromwellian invasion.
It came after his Tipperary South TD running mate Mattie McGrath said Mr Cowen and his predecessor Bertie Ahern had done more damage to the country than Cromwell.
Mr Mansergh publicly criticised Mr McGrath's remarks during a debate in the Dail on the national recovery plan.
Cromwell is one of the most infamous figures in Irish history but Mr Mansergh can trace his ancestry back to Bryan Mansergh, who directly benefited from Oliver Cromwell's 'to Hell or Connaught' policy.
Following Cromwell's bloody invasion in 1649, Bryan Mansergh was given ownership of Ballybur Castle in Cuffesgrange, Co Kilkenny, and surrounding lands. The previous owner, John Comerford, was banished to Connaught in 1654.
Mr Mansergh said last night: "I don't think the validity of the point I made in a very moderate fashion was in any way affected by the nature of my ancestry."
Mattie McGrath was adamant last night that he would not withdraw his remarks. He said he accepted that neither Mr Ahern nor Mr Cowen had killed anybody, but he added that they had not carried out their jobs.