Tuesday 24 January 2017

Quitting probably his best decision

Brian Cowen's inability to lead both Fianna Fail and the nation is why his Government disintegrated, writes Celia Larkin

Celia larkin

Published 23/01/2011 | 05:00

WELL, who would have believed it? Brian Cowen's resignation as leader of Fianna Fail is probably the most politically astute decision he has made since taking office in 2008. His tenure has been dogged by bad judgement, bad timing and bad management.

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Unfortunately, despite the grace of his departure speech yesterday, that is likely to be his abiding legacy. The fact is that being Taoiseach and leader of a political party requires the essential ability that Cowen never had; the ability to multi-task. You need to be able to manage the Government, manage your department, organise your party and represent your constituents. Whatever his intentions -- and I have no doubt they were good -- Cowen was unable to manage all the strands his job demanded. He allowed his Government to disintegrate because he failed to listen. He failed to listen to John Gormley, who was categoric in his objection to an extensive cabinet reshuffle. This was inescapably obvious to me watching the Six One news on Wednesday. How Cowen could have imagined, in the light of that clear opposition, that he would get Green support for the appointment of a substantial number of new ministers is baffling.

And it was clear that he failed to manage the party from Micheal Martin's accusations that Cowen had allowed Fianna Fail get into the position where it would face election day on March 11 without all its candidates selected and minus an election plan or strategy.

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