Saturday 21 October 2017

Cowen quotes his brother and rules out SF coalition

Fianna Fail environment spokesmen Barry Cowen
Fianna Fail environment spokesmen Barry Cowen
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

FIANNA Fail TD Barry Cowen has drawn inspiration from his brother and former Taoiseach Brian Cowen as he ruled out the prospect of his party agreeing a coalition with Sinn Fein.

Mr Cowen, who succeeded his brother in the Laois/Offaly constituency, said there can be "no doubt" about Fianna Fail's refusal to enter government with Gerry Adams's party.

He highlighted a speech his brother made at a previous Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis.

During the speech, the former Taoiseach raised serious doubts about entering coalition with the Progressive Democrats.

"As for Sinn Fein, I am mindful of an Ard Fheis comment made by my brother when speaking about the PD's, he said 'If in doubt, leave them out'," he said.

"Now of Sinn Fein we say 'Let there be no doubt, they must be left out'.

Mr Cowen also ruled out the prospect of a Fianna Fail/Fine Gael coalition - adopting the same stance of his party leader Micheal Martin.

"When I think Enda Kenny, when I think Fine Gael versus Fianna Fail, I think big farmer versus small farmer.

"I think elitism versus republicanism. I think unionism versus nationalism, inequality versus fairness," Mr Cowen said.

"So you needn't worry Enda, we don't buy the D4's mantra of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail moving together. I say there is clear blue daylight, blue being the operative work, between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil."

Mr Cowen, now the Fianna Fáil environment spokesman, said his party will not allow the "Provos" to "hijack" the upcoming 1916 commemorations.

"We won't allow any Provos or anyone whom usurped our Republic and our Constitution to 'Hijack' that most sacred event for political gain," he told a gathering of the Fianna Fáil party.

And while he appeared to criticise the previous government's role in the economic crisis, Mr Cowen said that "most decisions" were taken in the interest of the country.

The speech by Mr Cowen was delivered at the party's selection convention for the upcoming Carlow/Kilkenny by-election.

Former TD Bobby Aylward was chosen as the party's candidate.

Irish Independent

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